by Christopher Myers
“Personals” was a huge success. We got everything we hoped for and more. The original idea for this project was to have an entirely student produced, full-length musical. The idea first occurred to Justin Smith and myself when the news was announced that there would not be a main stage musical. We immediately jumped on the opportunity to produce one ourselves. The planning process began way back in October, but things really started to roll in January. As soon as all the students were back from Christmas Break and the main stage shows were cast, Matt Brown (Music Director), Kate Olden (Stage Manager), and myself (Director and Choreographer) held auditions. After three days of auditioning we had our cast of four men and four women. They ranged from freshmen to seniors and communications majors to theater majors. Immediately the next week we started rehearsal. We rehearsed for the next five weeks, Monday through Friday 7-10pm, and Sundays from 2-6pm. It was strenuous at times, but we used every minute of those rehearsals to create an outstanding show. Our first week of rehearsals we sat in chairs around Matt Brown and a piano and learned music. I feel it is very important for the cast to be very familiar with the show before ever attempting to put it on it’s feet. The next week, I took over and started blocking and choreographing, while still taking the time for reviewing music. We spent long nights blocking and rehashing scenes until it looked and felt good. We spent long Sunday afternoons learning detailed choreography. After three and a half weeks we had the entire show on its feet. The next week was my favorite part of the rehearsal process. This is when I got to really help the actors delve into their characters. We started looking at really close details, and playing games and doing exercises to help develop the show. The fifth week, we moved into Alma Thomas and added lights, sound, set, costumes, an orchestra, and finally, a sold out house for every performance. This was an incredible experience for everyone involved, and the amount of knowledge and experience given to each individual that took part in this production is immeasurable. Directing this show was an incredible amount of hard work, but it was worth it. At the end of each night, we were all exhausted, but we were all still smiling. And for four nights those eight actors got to share something together that few people get to. They along with Joey King and everyone involved with this production helped my dream come true.