Nice Work If You Can Get It is opening this week, and onstage, it’s a musical full of crazy costumes and even crazier dance numbers. Actors, techies, and musicians must be hands-on and ready to go while they’re on stage and putting on a spectacular show. However, being onstage isn’t the only time that actors and stagehands have to be on the move and willing to find unique spots to be when they’re not on stage.
This musical has lots of costume changes for many of the actors, so backstage is often filled with many of the actors quickly changing into one colorful outfit to another one. If an actor has to be on in the next scene but also has to change outfits, they will often be found changing while hurrying to their next spot. However, most of the actors and actresses in Nice Work If You Can Get It have time to go to the dressing rooms to get changed. Sophomore Tessa Weinland, a member of the ensemble for the musical, says, “[ensemble] is backstage a lot, so we’re either in the dressing room changing costumes or we’re in the black box hanging out.” For the leads, it’s a lot more hectic, and most of the times when the leads are backstage they’re around the wings so they can get back to the stage as quickly as possible. Weinland continues, saying “the more people you have backstage, the more likely the audience is to see you, so you really have to be back outside the theater in the hallway.” The hallway is where many of the actors and actresses go when they have enough downtime before their next scene, so these are often hectic and filled with students in costumes resting their vocals before the next song.
However, it’s not just the actors and actresses that are backstage and in the halls. Techies play a big role in musicals just as much as the actresses and actors do. Most of these techies are always backstage, just in their respective positions. Junior Lizzy Noble is one of these backstage hands, and is a spotlight. She shines the big stage lights on a specific actor to make them stand out more and look brighter than others on the stage. Noble says she also hops around backstage, doing whatever spot is needed of her then, like a lot of the other techies. However, Noble normally does lighting tasks, like running the lighting board. Since her job is entirely behind the scenes, she’s normally doing jobs that keep her moving. Weinland, however, says, “[actors] can’t be backstage because tech is there, and they’re doing a really great job and they’re moving set pieces and they’re doing all this stuff so we don’t want to get in their way.”
Whatever job these students have, it seems like backstage is just as intense and crazy as this year’s musical is. It just goes to show that although it may not be seen, sometimes a hidden part may carry just as much interest as the show.