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Many working behind scenes of CWC spring musical

January 1, 2012

The audience watching the Central Wyoming College production of Camelot will see a big cast that rehearsed for weeks, yet the show’s overall success has a lot to do with a very large group working behind the scenes.

“It takes a village to mount a musical,” Theater Director Mike Myers said.
The cast is supported by a production staff that includes volunteer musicians , a choreographer and dance captain, properties assistants, construction crews, sound engineers, a dialect coach, house managers and ushers, box office staff, lighting and scenic designers.
The musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Fredrick Loewe is based on T.H. White’s novel “The Once and Future King.” It opens in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre February 24 with additional 7:30 p.m. performances on Feb. 25, March 2 and 3 as well as 2:30 p.m. matinees on Feb. 26 and March 4.
Myers believes Camelot is in the top ten of all musicals and is confident it is a show that plays to his students’ strengths. He is also hopeful CWC audiences will like the musical as much as he does. “The music is beautiful,” he said
Robert Hussa, CWC’s vocal music professor, is Camelot’s musical director who works with the singers during rehearsals and is back stage conducting the 18-member orchestra. The orchestra includes the show’s accompanist Susan Tucker. “She’s there every night for rehearsal,” Myers said. “We really work her hard.”
Technical theater director Chontelle Gray who designs the sets and lights and oversees the costume construction also gets a lot of help. In the scene shop, foreman John Aanestad and his crew of student carpenters are building a massive set. He got unexpected help from CWC Quality Leader Mathew Seats who volunteered his service as a carpenter.
Other Quality Leaders lend their time to usher patrons to their seats and are supervised by volunteer house managers Linda Becker and Kris Fehring, whose children Cameron and Amara were both talented CWC theater students. Box Office manager Alexander Henderson is assisted by international student Grey Mmagna.
There are also students at work on sewing machines building multiple medieval costumes for the show.
“Hannah Osborne practically lives in there,” Myers said of a theater graduate who is working hard in the costume shop while completing a second associate’s degree in psychology. Cody Mock also helps out with dressing the cast as well as John Pedersen who also works in the scene shop and serves as the show’s master electrician.
CWC alumna Allison Lee is choreographing her first show at Central and is assisted by newcomer Marissa Selvig who comes to the CWC stage with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. She’s is playing three parts in the show and serves as the production’s dance captain. “We’re using every skill she’s got in singing, dancing and acting,” he said of Selvig, who also plays the harp in the orchestra when she’s not on stage.
Stage manager Tim Buhman is Myers’ right-hand man, helping the actors with their lines, taking attendance and notes on blocking during rehearsals. When the show opens, he’s up in the booth calling the lighting and sound cues. He is assisted by Dawn Bennett.         
Molly Thornton, who along with friend Jeannie Robbins alternately plays the female lead of Guenevere, is again serving as the cast’s dialect coach.
Hannah King is the show’s audio engineer and is responsible for not only recording sound cues and running the show, but also monitoring the 12 body microphones, turning them off and on as the actors enter and leave the stage.
Of course the theater students run the sound and light boards as well as paint the stage.
“We make sure the actors do some tech so that they understand that side of it,” Myers said. 
Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for senior and youth, can be purchased at the CWC Box Office Monday through Fridays from 3-6 p.m. or online .