Tapped Out: Musical roles composed of variety of parts

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

From a distance they hear voices from the crowd swell in anticipation. There are only a few moments left of darkness before giving it their all under the blinding lights. They make sure their shoes are strapped on tight so there’s no chance of tripping while so much is on the line. Pushing aside the curtain, various members of the cast of “42nd Street” face the audience with months of rehearsal under their belts and the dance moves to prove it.

 

The Leads: Sophomore Stephanie Ain sworth as Peggy Sawyer and senior Jordan Doebbeling as Julian Marsh

With the largest parts and the plot revolving around them, leads of any production are faced with hours of preparation for the big show.

“Altogether I would say it’s about five hours [of work] a day,” Doebbeling said. “Usually rehearsals are three hours, and most of the time, I’ll rehearse at home for about two hours.”

While Doebbeling has one of the biggest roles, he said continuous effort is required on part of the entire cast.

“It takes a lot of work,” he said. “Even when you’re not on stage doing something, you always have to be paying attention and watching to know how everything is coming together. Even if you are just a minor role, you still need to do a lot of work.”

Ainsworth said while rehearsals can be arduous, the evolution of her character on stage is her favorite part.

“I love being in rehearsals when we’re blocking and seeing how it changes every time you do it,” she said. “You always do something different. You add something new, and I love seeing that.”

Both Ainsworth and Doebbeling said they were not expecting the lead even though their auditions went well.

“Honestly, I wanted to be a tap part,” she said. “I didn’t think I would get [the lead]. I’m a sophomore — I thought a senior would get it. I just wanted to tap.”

Putting everything she has into a performance can take a toll, Ainsworth said.

“After I do I scene, I just feel drained,” she said. “But, at least for my character, she’s happy, so it’s pretty easy to convey. But still, you have to be so engaged in it.”

 

Special Tap: Evan Katz

With a musical as tap-heavy as “42nd Street,” junior Evan Katz said his years of dance came in handy for the show.

“I started dancing when I was 4, but [I started tap] probably around two or three years [ago],” he said.

The audition for the tap part was a separate dance piece Katz had to participate in.

“It went well,” he said. “I worked hard on the tap, of course. I could’ve done better, but I got [the role].”

Katz, along with the rest of the tappers, tried out for the show within “42nd Street,” called “Pretty Lady.”

“I’m a tapper and [the musical] is about a show, and the tappers are people who are auditioning for that show,” he said. “I’m in a couple dance numbers.”

Katz said there is more to his part than simply memorizing the dance.

“Memorizing the moves [is the hardest part], of course,” Katz said. “If I mess up or don’t get the sound right from the tap shoes, people can hear it and see it. Also [you need to] make sure you’re on time with the other dancers.”

 

Chorus Member: Zoe Holyoak

Despite not having any speaking lines, chorus member junior Zoe Holyoak said she appears in the musical quite frequently.

“I’m in the regular chorus because I can’t tap,” she said. “All the other people in the chorus [and I] are basically dancers, and I’m in a different song since there are a few songs you have to audition to be in. It’s just being there when they need extra people to fill the stage to make it look like a more complete show.”

Without having a lead or supporting role, Holyoak said she was able to enjoy her fellow cast members more.

“The easiest thing [about being in the chorus] would probably be just getting to [have] more time to talk to people since I don’t have to worry about memorizing lines,” Holyoak said.

Ensemble members, however, are not exempt from the hours of rehearsals, she said.

“We come in for practice every day after school,” Holyoak said. “I would say we put in a lot of time — obviously not as much as the leads — but all the numbers we’re in have all the cast involved. It takes a lot of time for everybody to be able to figure out where they are — especially with such a big group.”

Holyoak said she was optimistic for the show’s opening night.

“We’ve been working really hard,” she said. “I’m so excited just to show everyone what we’ve been doing.”