Musical Mania

As l looked off into the audience, I could see my parents, my younger brother, and so many of my friends waiting excitedly for the curtain to open for a hilarious but heart-breaking show. 

“A few more minutes until the opening scene, so please be ready, everyone,” whispers the stage director while the audience outside was taking their seats.  

couple moments later the house lights dimmed, and the soft notes of the overture filled the auditorium silencing the viewers and alerting the cast and crew members. The moment for my group’s entrance finally arrives in the music and I take a few deep breaths. 

“You got this, Harika.” I murmur to myself. “You’ve done this many times before, so you can do it again.” 

I step onto the stage in the biggest smile possible only to see that there is no one in the audience. I blink in confusion while the two bulky cameras come to view, which seemed to wake me from my imagination. There is no audience because it isn’t a live show—it’s another day of filming with the Thespians for Titanic The Musical.  

Since November, the Titan Thespians have been working hard to put together a show without knowing how everything would end.  

I think although we all went into the year with an optimistic mindset – our expectations were low,” says Kaylee Tagliaferri, Stage Director. We knew that whatever we produced would be good quality, but how much our show would be ‘normal’ was completely unknown. 

Originally, there were supposed to be two shows: Mama Mia and Titanic The Musical. Unfortunately, the company who sold Mama Mia pulled the streaming license especially because of COVID-19. This show was supposed to be performed around the time of December/January, but the school had another round of quarantine. This meant that the Thespians could only go with one option: Titanic the Musical. And it was the right choice because the show turned out amazing.  

“Going into Titanic, I was super excited. I started listening to the music right away and learned about the show to familiarize myself with it,” explains Leah Marucci, 11th grader.  

Students submitted audition videos for singing, acting, and dancing in NovemberThe auditions were a little more selective in order to follow social distancing guidelines. The final cast list came out in the last few weeks of November along with a PDFThe cast list, scene breakdownsand expectations were included in the PDF.  

Virtual rehearsals on Teams started ASAP. Without being allowed on stage or in person, the cast and crew learned the basic outline of staging through PowerPoints that Mrs. LeClair created. Then the students read through the script (dealing with the trouble of unmuting and muting their mics) while Mrs. LeClair gave feedback on expression. Instead of singing live, each cast member had to record their parts, which was much more difficult than it seems. Getting each harmony, note, and word pronounced correctly was crucial to creating a good soundtrack. 

“I think the biggest difference for me was having to record the vocals rather than singing them live. I spent a lot of time on those tracks, and it was a lot of hard work, but it payed off,” says Megan Magee, 11th grader.  

By that time, COVID-19 restrictions started to loosen up, and students were finally able to come in person during the first two weeks of February. This time was used to run through the whole show, apply stage directions, and learn the choreography.  

My favorite memory from this year was filming my dance scene. Hope Shappell taught me it and I fell in love with the choreography. It is something that I will cherish forever,” says Gwen DiPrinzio, 12th grader.  

While the cast was preparing, the crew was working behind the scenes with set, lights, mics, and props. As most of the money was used for last year’s show (Mary Poppins)the budget for Titanic was smaller. The setting was made with last year’s set pieces and some thrift stores were kind enough to donate beautiful dresses for the show, so students were able to adjust.  

After the two weeks of in person rehearsals, filming beganThe show was split up over the course of three weeks through February into March. There was a designated day for each scene so there wouldn’t be problems of social distancing during filming, and every cast member was required to wear their face shield/mask.  

When I had the idea to just go into the whole process with a filming plan, I hoped that the cast would appreciate the different experience,” says Mrs. LeClair, director of the Titan Thespians. “I am so proud of how much every student brought to the table. The costumes were perfect, the set came together marvelously, and everyone looks so wonderful on screen.” 

Kaylee Tagliaferri and Mrs. LeClair worked together with filming and editing to produce an amazing show. On March 19th, 2021 the Titan Thespians and their families came together and watched the beautiful, heart-breaking story of Titanic on a screen.  

Titanic was a culmination of all of our hard work,” says Brad Castle, 10th grader. “For months we put hours upon hours into the show. To finally watch it with some of the people who put in as much effort as I did was memorable and enjoyable.” 

Even though the Titan Thespians had a hard year, they still managed to pull through and pieced together an intriguing show.