Behind the Scenes: Tech crew students contribute to musical performance backstage

Sally Cochran, Editor in Chief

Sami Miller
Junior Sami Miller said she joined tech crew because her brother performed in the musical.
“My brother [graduate Jake Miller] was really into theater when he was at school, and I had to wait after school for him to get done, so I thought, ‘I might as well join the show, too.’” she said. “But I was too afraid to be onstage, so I decided to be backstage.”
She said after Jake graduated, she still worked on tech crew.
“The more he did it, the more I did it because I had to be with him anyway,” she said. “After he left this year, I had made some strong friendships with people. So, we wanted to do it together.”
Miller said she enjoys making new friends through the musical.
“My favorite memory was probably getting to know people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and spending time with them and creating friendships,” she said.
She said working backstage is stressful at times.
“Everything can depend on one movement,” Miller said. “You have to count on other people, and you have to hope that everyone’s where they’re supposed to be, doing what they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
Miller said the show is rewarding.
“During the show, I get really nervous, and I hope that everything goes well,” she said. “After, when everything has gone well, and everything went smoothly, it’s a great accomplishment. The people are clapping, and you know you did a good job.”
Cody Nelson
Sophomore Cody Nelson enjoys the closeness of the tech crew.
“In theater, everyone’s, you know, the theater family,” he said. “The tech kind of has their own family, and we work behind the scenes in kind of a part. But, when the show’s done working with lighting and all that other stuff, there’s the family there also.”
Nelson worked on spotlight last year as well. He said it is a large time commitment.
“On Friday, we went and stayed until 2:10 that morning doing lights Saturday morning cause we had to do gels and all that stuff because we couldn’t do that when the actors were onstage,” he said.”
The bay, located above the PAC, is where the spotlights work.
“It is very hot because all the lights are up there,” Nelson said. “It’s not super cramped because it’s just the open roof area, and you can kind of see the structure. It’s kind of cool being up there. Hot’s really the first word that comes to mind though.”
He said that as the shows go on, he becomes less anxious.
“You know, for that first show it’s kind of nervous because you don’t know if all that work’s going to pay off,” Nelson said. “Then, after that first show, if that was a good show and you can see your work paying off, then the other shows that you perform are just, you know, you’re very relaxed, and you’re having a blast.”
Jennifer Helmick
Sophomore Jennifer Helmick joined the tech crew last year as a spotlight.
“I wanted to be part of the musical, but I didn’t know what I wanted to be a part of,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something important, so [senior] Broc [Thorne] kind of forced me into being assistant stage manager [this year].”
She said she enjoys the tech crew family.
“My favorite part is probably just the family that tech crew is,” she said. Everybody just has fun together when we all get together.”
Helmick said she is usually at school until 6 or 6:30.
“The other day, there were three people here until like 2 in the morning hanging lights,” she said. “It’s a huge time commitment.”
She said that when the show goes on, it’s awesome.
“During rehearsal, I get this anxiety like ‘Oh my god. Why can’t we just run through this and get it all over with?’” Helmick said. “But, then, it’s like the rewarding factor when we finally do put it all together.”
She said being backstage can be crazy.
“It’s really really hectic,” Helmick “The other day I almost got run over by the train set. It’s also very loud cause people just won’t shut up.”

To see photos from rehearsals of “The Music Man,” click here.