Cut the script, direct, choreograph, design a set, find the costumers, cast and star in a 30-minute adaptation of a full-length musical.
It might sound like a lot, but for juniors in the music dance theater program, this is their responsibility twice throughout the course of a semester.
The junior seminar for music dance theater students has been termed as one of the most difficult parts of their academic course work. On the first day of class students are assigned a musical with a couple of co-directors and are then let loose to bring to life a mini-musical from scratch.
“It’s very stressful and a lot of work,” said Cayel Tregeagle, an Orem native who was assigned the musical “The Fantasticks” for his first production. “But because of all the work and all the stress it makes the rewards so worth it.”
It requires long hours to bring these productions to life, and students learn to dedicate themselves in ways they hadn’t thought of before.
“You just have to be really committed to staying on campus longer than you every imagined,” said Caroline Lambert, who just put up her production of “The Music Man” this last week along with her co-director Preston Yates. “It’s extremely long days that you have to put in perspective, knowing it will help you grow.”
The students who put on these productions are assigned to star in the shows, but it’s up to them to find an ensemble. To do so, the students reach out to friends who have a knack for the stage and a couple of hours to spare for rehearsals.
Brianna Boyd, a junior studying theater education, took part in Lambert’s production of “The Music Man.” She enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with the student directors and was full of praise for them.
“It wasn’t super stressful for us as an ensemble. The directors were always great to work with,” Boyd said. “They were always very nice and super grateful.”
The experience has been rewarding for the student directors as well, as they have taken part and experienced all of the different roles necessary to bring the show to life.
“I’ve really liked collaborating with my co-directors,” Tregeagle said. “We all kind of bounce ideas off each other and then try and incorporate them to make the project more interesting and accessible.”
While the students realize their shows aren’t ready to premiere on Broadway right away, the growth they experience is worth all of the stress.
“Seeing it all come together, even though it’s rough, is great,” Lambert said. “Seeing that it is all possible is incredibly rewarding.”
As these students look toward their second show of the semester, they are on the hunt for more students to be a part of their mini-musicals.