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From the Pit to the Stage

by Peggy Johnson, Class of 2022

The play has always been a highlight for many students at Kennedy Catholic, myself included. There are so many behind the scene moments that make the play so memorable for the cast, crew, costume members, and pit orchestra.

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When students enter their freshman year of high school, often they will think that high school is going to be such a long journey and sometimes they dread it. But, once you enter your junior year that feeling changes. This has been a major realization, especially for members of the play. For those who have been a part of the shows since their freshman year, they have this mindset that these experiences will never end. As juniors, they have seen two class years of Kennedy Players leave and have welcomed two new ones to the family. They start to realize that someday they will be seniors and there will be a show they will have to call their last for their high school career. For us, this moment of realization is a sad but proud one.

I too have experienced this epiphany. Freshman year, when I first started out in the pit orchestra, I remember vividly the seniors of the West Side Story cast telling all of their younger cast members to not take these moments for granted. To take advantage of each rehearsal, no matter how long or grueling they may feel. I thought that I knew what they meant. But you don’t really know until it happens. Each year you lose members and gain new members. Each show is different, not just because of the scenes and songs but because the memories change. 

You meet new friends. You gain relationships and you lose relationships. The theater is so much more than learning lines and choreography. It becomes a part of you. In ways that are hard to explain. And now being a senior, knowing that this will be the last show that I am a part of for Kennedy Catholic, I know that these memories are so important to keep close.

I’m not part of the cast or crew. I don’t have lines or solos in songs, and I don’t change sets. You won’t see me on stage but you will definitely hear my violin. I am in the background seeing everything that goes on above me. And it is magical.

A front row seat to the creation of a show that everyone around me works so hard on. I applaud the cast for being able to learn two hours worth of songs, speaking lines, and choreography. And I look in awe at the scenes that Mr. Teiber and his crew created in the short months. I see the cast starting off with Ms. Barbara while they stand on stage, books in hand, figuring out where to go as each line is said. Then the books are gone and Ms. Chloe comes in with the piano working on different songs and different singing parts for each cast member.

Then the costumes come in. Downstairs the costume members make each outfit as perfect as can be. Making sure the members of the cast match the theme of the play. And they always do such an amazing job. Next, the crew which were backstage painting and putting everything in order, bring out the sets they worked on and it all starts to come together. And finally, the rest of the pit orchestra is brought in and we rehearse as a full team. Each piece of the puzzle is slowly put together over the span of multiple months.

The best night is opening night. The nerves, the excitement, and the thrill. The microphone checks, and the lighting is something that makes the show complete. Seeing the crowd slowly disappear and the lights dim and the curtains open. 

I can only imagine what the people on stage are thinking and feeling. My main emotion is fear of playing a note wrong. As the first opening song starts those feelings go away and just excitement remains. I hope I can speak for my fellow seniors who are a part of the show when I say, these will be the memories that are going to be missed most in high school.

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