Big Fish, big preparations; theater department prepping for annual musical

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Big Fish cast member, Macy McCready goes through her tap dance rehearsal Sept. 22 at the Coppell High School auditorium. McCready has been dancing for 10 years. Photo by Alejandra Ceniceros.

 

By Lili Lomas
Staff Writer

This is a busy time of year for the Coppell High School theater department as it has begun preparing for the 2015 musical season.

 

Preparations for Coppell High School’s annual musical production is underway with students and teachers dedicating hours weekly for the perfection of this year’s first musical, “Big Fish.” The Broadway show premiered Sept. 5, 2013, and has made its way into theaters nationwide and soon the CHS auditorium.

 

However, as any theater student or teacher can tell you, putting on a great show is no easy task. Before the 2015-2016 school year began, future “Big Fish” cast members were already hard at work learning songs over the summer, researching the musical and attending a workshop the weekend before school started.

 

Next came the auditions. The first week of school, CHS actors and actresses sang and danced in front of their peers and director Lisa Tabor, hoping to get a certain part. After a week of grueling elimination and callbacks, the cast list was posted the first Friday after school.

 

“This is the first real competitive audition for incoming theater kids,” senior Preston Straus said. ‘I was quite overjoyed when I got the part. It was the one I was hoping for the most.”

 

Straus auditioned for the role of Amos.

 

The cast is made up of students of all grades including sophomore Katie Love as the female lead Sandra, Ty Dalrymple as the male lead Edward Bloom and twin brother Jack Dalrymple as Edward’s son Will Bloom. Other roles include a witch, schoolteacher, barber, mermaid, cheerleader and a frustrated fisherman and many more.

 

These characters may not have as big a part as the main three but they are vital for the success of the musical.

 

“No role is minor in the theater,” junior Alex Eason said. “Tasks assigned to individuals aren’t small; they are tailored to the capability of the person.”

 

Since learning which part they will play in the musical, the whole cast has been going to rehearsals almost every day after school taking away valuable time from homework, family and sleep.

 

“You do homework when you are not on stage and you really have to know what days you have rehearsals so you can plan,” senior Mayuri Raja said.

 

Raja is playing the role of Josephine.

 

During the tiring practice sessions, the actors work on practicing scenes, working on songs with musical director Gary Okeson, and perfecting dances with choreographer Whitney Bollinger. They practice scenes over and over until perfected, dance until their legs are sore and sing until their throats are dry.

 

“The hardest part about rehearsal is that it’s at the end of the day and you have to give full effort even though you’re tired,” Raja said. “You have to push aside everything that happened during the day and get into character but I would say that’s also the most fun part.”

 

Perhaps the busiest person in the musical is director Lisa Tabor, who oversees everything from costumes to props, hiring the musical director and running rehearsals. Tabor has been doing this for eight years. She takes on the most crucial task, which is directing the many moving parts of a musical.

 

“It is worth seeing the audience happy,” Tabor said. “​[Opening night] is just great because you finally give it over to the students at that point. You’ve done all you can and it becomes their show”.

 

Working towards the “Big Fish” musical is very demanding for a high schooler with enough on their plate, but to them it is worth the thrill of performing on stage.

 

Audiences will be able to see the fruit of their hard work on show nights which are Oct. 24, 26, and 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 25, 31, and Nov. 1 at 2:30 p.m.