CATRIONA DEMPSEY: Backstage at Bye Bye Birdie

Peninsula News Review columnist from Parkland secondary writes about the work involved in putting on a high school stage production

For any one of the 75 cast, crew, or orchestra members of Bye Bye Birdie, this year’s musical theatre production, it is both an exciting and hectic time as we near opening night.

Musical theatre is a class like no other. We have been working on the show for almost five months. Rehearsals are five days a week for 80 minutes during school time, and there are sometimes extra, longer rehearsals on the weekend. The theatre production class also puts an enormous amount of time in after school. The production process includes all aspects of a professional show, which is very exciting, but it also requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience.

For the cast, this means practising each and every part of the play until everyone knows their lines, lyrics, cues and choreography by heart. The orchestra members are faced with the daunting task of learning over 50 pages of challenging music. And, as for the theatre production class’s contribution, Rowan Smith, our Grade 12 student stage manager summed it up perfectly.

“We’re the ninjas of musical theatre,” she told me. “We wear black, no one sees us, and we make sure everything works out how it’s supposed to.”

Musical theatre is truly a team effort. Everyone has dedicated time and effort into making the show a success and we’ve enjoyed singing, dancing and acting together in vibrant 1950s costumes. If you would like to see the finished product, tickets can be obtained by calling 250-655-2736 and the shows run nightly at 7:30 from Feb. 1 to 4.

Catriona Dempsey is a Grade 11 student at Parkland secondary school.

Peninsula News Review