Sunday, July 19, 2009

In the Wings: Guys and Dolls Jr. Meet Abby McClure, the assistant director.

Abby McClure is the assistant director of Guys and Dolls Jr., the production mounted during an intensive four-week summer camp led by Civic Youth Theatre Director Melanie R. Buchanan.

Abby has been part of several Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette productions that were created during a six-week rehearsal process. She described the rehearsal schedule for Guys and Dolls Jr.

"The actors - who are between the ages of 9 and 17 - were immediately thrown into the production," Abby said. "The first day started with theatre games for a short amount of time, but the actors moved directly into examining the script, auditioning and doing the first read through. The next day we started blocking the action and teaching the songs and choreography. I think the actors were surprised and exhausted by the end of the first week by how much they were doing and how hard Melanie and I were pushing them. But they picked up everything really quickly.

"Actors arrive at the theatre at 9 a.m., and we make announcements and do theatre games for about half an hour. They rehearsed blocking and choreography in the morning at the start of camp; toward the end of camp they do full run-throughs of the show. They have 50 minutes to eat lunch at noon. After lunch, Cecil Shoemaker rehearses the music with them for two hours. After that there is either another run-through or we conclude with more theatre games."

Abby explained why she wanted to be involved with Guys and Dolls Jr.

"I saw Guys and Dolls my sophomore year in high school," she said. "When I read the script again I thought it was funny, but listening to the songs on CD really sold me on being part of the show. I love 'Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat,' I love 'Luck Be a Lady,' I love all the songs. They're all amazing."

She concluded by explaining why a young actor might be interested in being involved in future Civic Theatre summer camps.

"I grew up attending Civic summer camps," she said. "They are a fun way for people to make friends and open up. Young kids have fun dressing up and pretending, and it's still fun to do that when you get older. It's also a good way to learn more about the theatre. The actors work hard, but they also reap the rewards."

Guys and Dolls Jr. opens Friday, July 24 and runs through Sunday, July 26. Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 7:00 p.m.; the Sunday afternoon performance begins at 2:30 p.m.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, call the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette office at 765-423-PLAY (7529).


Steve Martin said...

The ballet was stunning. The theatricality of those 10 minutes -- dance, vocal music, orchestral music, costumes, lights and props -- was powerful. I got goosebumps.

Mark Allen said...

Love you, Abby.