Students audition for fall musical

By Kara Hallam
Staff Writer 

The hills are alive at Coppell High School. This past week students auditioned in the auditorium for this year’s fall musical, “The Sound of Music”.

Auditions were held last Tuesday and Wednesday by the musical director Gary Oakenson and main director Lisa Tabor. Callbacks were held Thursday and the final cast list was posted Friday afternoon on the auditorium door.

Before auditions, students submitted an information sheet on the parts they would try out for and what possible conflicts interfering with rehearsals. On the forms was a list of the parts available and the songs that had to be sung for that character.

Anxious actors and actresses of Coppell High School crowded around the final cast list for “The Sound of Music” Friday after school in front of the auditorium. Photos by Nicole Messer.
Anxious actors and actresses of Coppell High School crowded around the final cast
list for “The Sound of Music” Friday after school in front of the auditorium. Photos
by Nicole Messer.

Potential cast members were split into two groups. One group had to perform their chosen song in front of Oakenson while the other group acted out scenes from “The Sound of Music” script in front of Tabor.

Tabor looks for students who performs the part the best between their singing and acting. She even considers whether or not the actor looks the part.

“Whoever is the furthest along in that process gets the part,” Tabor said.

The following morning call backs were posted. Students who were called back had to act out the chosen song sung by the character they were being considered for.

Students eagerly lined up to check the final cast list Friday afternoon to discover what parts they had been casted. Students have been preparing for their rolls since the musical was first announced at the end of May at the drama banquet. Some even participated in a summer workshop for the musical in hope of gaining an advantage in the actual auditions.

“The summer workshop provides an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the play and get feedback from the directors,” junior Jacob Harris said.

Harris attended the summer workshop and after auditions was able to attain one of the speaking roles as Franz the butler.

Harris has been a part of the CHS fall musicals since his freshman year from playing a Butler in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and a chorus member in “Beauty and the Beast” and has become quite familiar with the pressures of the three day auditions and the anticipation of the final cast list.

“Getting up in front the directors and doing a cold reading of the script is definitely the most stressful part,” Harris said.

During cold read students have to act out an excerpt from the script that most of them have not even seen before.

“The hardest part is not knowing whether or not you are acting in the right context or embodying the character you are reading for because all you have in a small scene from the whole musical,” Harris said.

Tabor understands the stress of auditions.

“Any good actor should have any kind of nerves. But I still tell them to have fun and breathe,” Tabor said.

Tabor eases the tensions of auditions with a word of advice to her students.

“At this moment it is the be all end all in their life, but it is ok. It is not the biggest thing in their life. We make it through,” Tabor said.

As main director, Tabor is in charge of almost every aspect of the musical, including coming up with what the fall musical should be.

“At the end of the year I was trying to think of an idea. I was praying about it and this is what came to mind. I figure God cannot be wrong,” Tabor said.

Tabor’s prayers brought her to “The Sound of Music”, one of the most classic and religious musicals that can be performed by high school students.

In “The Sound of Music”, nun Maria is sent to take care of a widowed military captain’s children during World War II in Austria. Although devout to her role in the church, Maria slowly finds herself falling in love with the Captain, who also shares her feelings. As they fall in love conflict arises within their home and outside of it as Nazi Germany encroaches on their country.

“This is the first golden age musical that I have done before. It is one of the most loved musical so many people know about it,” Tabor said.

She is not only excited about directing “The Sound of Music”, but also excited about the potential she found in the fresh new faces auditioning this year.

“There is a lot of excitement with the freshmen. They work hard and they are good, I am very excited to see where productions go for the next four years,” Tabor said.

One of these incoming freshmen includes Jacob Harris’s younger brother Aidan Harris who is a member of the chorus for the musical.

“It is a very different experience than from middle school theater. The high school program has more funding and allows for more intense directors, productions and competition,” Harris said.

Several other freshmen who auditioned for the musical shared Harris’ worries. These students not only had to handle the stress of their first high school musical, but also cope with the tensions of their first week of high school.

Expect “The Sound of Music” to open at CHS towards the end of October and beginning of November.