Thespians demonstrate the difficulties of making a show

Back to Article
Back to Article

Thespians demonstrate the difficulties of making a show

Autumn Jessee, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Many people don’t think about the work that goes into making a theatre production. The cast and crew put in hours of work everyday to make the show perfect. From hours of running the play or musical, to days making various props, making a successful show takes dedication and hard work from everyone involved.

Student audition

Senior Ricky White and junior Krislyn Thomas audition for The Little Mermaid.

This spring, Graham High School will be putting on a production of The Little Mermaid Jr. This show has all the basic plot points of the regular Broadway show, but instead of being two hours long, it is only an hour. The students involved with this show started working towards performing the show in January and will perform it on May 3 and 4 at  7 p.m.

Senior Brian Fisher sings a song during auditions.

The first step of any show is auditions, next comes casting, and after that the real work, putting the show together. This includes making props, learning songs, lines, and dances, crew members learning their cues, cast members learning their cues, and figuring out all the little details that make a show. This process takes months to perfect and is the most difficult part of a show. This is so difficult because the cast and crew never know how the audience will receive the show, and they can think that the shows is perfect, even if the audience won’t.

When people come to watch a show, they don’t have to think about what happens to make that show, they are only there to enjoy the show. “If you’re not a part of the behind-the-scenes work, then you only have to sit back and enjoy what’s happening right in front of you. Only those who have experienced what all goes into a show truly appreciate how much time and effort went into the stage,“ says director Ms. Tinsley. Shows are so complex; they involve so many working and moving parts: from the crew working together with the cast to make a scene change seamless, as well as the cast and director working with each other to make the scene come to life. This is a  unique experience for the cast and crew that are part of a show or for someone who has worked on any show. They are able to recognize all the fine details that don’t seem important and see all the time and effort that has went into them.


According to, “Most Broadway musicals rehearse for four to six weeks.” The Graham High theatre practices for eight to twelve weeks before production. They practice two to three days a week for one-two hours each day. This is not counting the work days they have on the weekends; they have around two work days each month. At these work days, they craft props and go over the songs for the show. Work days happen on Saturday mornings and last around two hours. All the time spent working as a group does not account for all the work that cast put in outside of practice learning their lines and songs. They spend countless hours over the months that the show is in the works.



The audience will give most of the credit for the show to the cast, but “it’s really all a team effort. Crew is a big part, and they do so much to make the stage seem alive. The actors work to memorize the lines to keep everything flowing, which could all be tough considering some of us have jobs, and we tend to get pinned down with homework, but it’s all really worth it,” said Elaine Tinio, a sophomore who is part of the GHS Theatre. The show isn’t made or broke by any one person. If a show succeeds, it is because of all of the cast and crew; if a show fails, it is still everyone’s fault. Any show is an equal effort between everyone who works on it.


Props are major part of any show; they help to pull the audience into a scene and helps them to come alive. “Props that are unusual/intricate are the hardest to come by. Normal, everyday items are everywhere. Something unique, like a ship’s wheel or nonsensical tree are far more difficult,” commented Ms. Tinlsey. Props are hard to make decisions on: should a prop be bought that is exactly what is needed, or should it be made and maybe not be quite right, but cost much less? “Props, like the houses for Suessical -we put a lot of time into that,” (Suessical, was the show that GHS put on last year) said junior Andrea Heffinger when asked what the biggest amount of time is spent on. A lot of the props that are used in GHS shows are donated to the show by cast and crew, especially because the their cast and crew are such a diverse group of people there is no telling what they have.


Keratha Mills, a senior, said memorizing is one of the most difficult parts of a show; the audience doesn’t really think about how much the actors and crew truly have to have memorized by production day. There is so much that has to be memorized: lines, cues, songs, dances, stage placement, and all the other fine details that goes into creating the scenes and characters. Director Ms. Tinsley says, “More time is spent on lines than anything. We work tirelessly on sets and dances and props, but we have to work so much more on perfecting lines.” If the lines are not perfectly memorized the audience usually doesn’t notice, but it throws off the entire cast. It is not an easy thing to hide a slip up of lines and recover it on stage during production, but the cast manages to do it.

The work that the cast and crew pour into a show is a team effort between everyone who is part of the show. Many hours are spent crafting a show. Making the show seem alive is the biggest goal of the cast and crew. Actors put in a huge amount of effort outside of practice to get their lines and songs perfected. Props are a huge part of the show, whether it is making them, buying them, or finding them. A show a fanciful as The Little Mermaid, will require a lot of work, on every front to pull it off.