“Headlines don’t sell papers. Newsies sell papers.” – Jack Kelly
The Newsies Musical will be headlining all over Oak Hills High School this Friday, November 15th through November 17th at 7 PM. The work that goes into the plays are usually not seen by students but it is still vital for the production to take place. The behind the scenes life for drama students is not at all easy and takes patience, rigorous training, and enthusiasm.
“We learn music and dancing for all the numbers on the weekends and then during the weekdays we learn the scenes and then we kind of just put those together, now we are running through it, with everything and just cleaning it up,” comments Christopher Merino, junior at OHHS.
Rehearsals play a huge role in how well the performance will eventually turn out on opening night. Drama students roll into room F-3 usually after school or on weekends to practice and go over lines or dance numbers. In the beginning of the year, the students practice only on Tuesdays 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Now that the play is coming to the center stage soon, the rehearsals have been bumped up to every day from 4 PM to 9 PM with practice even on weekends. These rehearsals can be extremely draining as they redo dance numbers until it comes out perfectly. They also focus on singing which can cause strain on their vocal chords and just tire them out in general. When they are not at school practicing, some students go home and work on their facial expressions in the mirror or use their siblings as other characters to go over their parts. These mechanisms help prepare them for performing in front of their peers during rehearsals and during showtime.
“We’re all best friends! We fight like siblings, sometimes really bad but it is out of love. It created our best friend group,” laughs Tia Griffin, a sophomore student.
The drama students have become a family over the time spent with each other. All of the rehearsals and hang outs after practice have bonded them like no other group of people. Although they have each other as a family, backing one another on the production and life outside, drama students have their own support systems that they use to de-stress them before a show. Some students use their parents as a push forward to do better and calm them before they head out on stage. For those who do not have a specific thing to support or calm them, there is still a tradition for all the students to do. All production members meet in the hallway leading to the stage and do a handshake. The handshake consists of linking fingers and kissing their thumbs and pressing them together.
“Honestly, the majority of us don’t really get nervous [because] some of us have been doing this for a while. I would just say honestly, we prepare by drinking tea and that’s it,” states Nathan Arreola, a junior at OHHS.
As the curtains draw back, the production will start and the drama students will shine under the spotlight on stage. While a beautiful play will be put together in front of the crowd, behind the props, singing, and dancing, the drama students are scattered around. They are switching outfits and moving sets, sometimes the students even have to run around the PAC building, outside in the freezing cold, to get to another room or back onto stage. The behind the scenes is loud and chaotic and the students admit that some crazy things have happened during the show in the drama room.
“It feels good, I think it is so cool that they gave us this opportunity and gave Mrs. Hunter the opportunity to produce this production,” comments Taylor Sanchez, a senior at OHHS.
So much has gone into the Newsies play throughout the year. The drama students have practiced and gave their all for this show to come together for everyone to enjoy. The behind the scenes life of these students is not easy so make sure to support them this month by buying tickets for $8 from drama students or come to room E-1. It will be a total showstopper!