Schreiber goes crazy for the spring musical

Adi Levin, Copy Editor

The Schreiber Theatre Company combined the bright lights and glamour of 1930s New York City and the homely charm of Deadrock, Nevada, in its annual musical, Crazy for You.  Replete with catchy musical numbers, dazzling costumes, and an incredible cast, Crazy for You was an instant hit.  Due to construction on the Schreiber auditorium, the show took place in the Weber auditorium from March 2 to March 5, but despite the change, there was still a tremendous turnout.

“This year, we made more on ticket sales than any other year,” said senior and assistant director Anna Cohen.  “I put together a promotional video using clips from rehearsal, and it got over 5,600 views.  We ended up reaching more people, and we had about 1,200 people attend the show in total.”

Crazy for You tells the story of Bobby Child (played by senior Christian Hill), an aspiring banker who ventures to the sleepy town of Deadrock to foreclose on the old theater, owned by Everett Baker (played by sophomore Adam Keane).  He hesitates, however, when he begins to fall in love with Polly Baker (senior Sarah De Marino), Everett’s headstrong daughter.  In a spirited effort to save the theater, Polly rounds up the lethargic cowboys, cattle ranchers, and saloon-goers, convincing them to put on one last show. Behind the scenes, Crazy for You required extreme dedication, as the cast and crew met almost every day leading up to the performance.

“I think the best part about being a part of the Schreiber shows is the thrill of being backstage and having that satisfaction that you can make something magical for someone else,” said senior Jeffrey Lockom, who played Sam, one of the cowboys.  “The only challenge that we faced as a group was trying to get all of the guys to fit their cowboy characters, and to do that we just had to come together and work as a unit.”

When Polly finds out that Bobby is only in Deadrock to take away her family’s beloved theater, she refuses to speak to him.  Desperate to impress her, he dresses up as Bela Zangler, the owner of the famous Zangler Theater.  His plan backfires in a comic turn of events when Bela Zangler himself pays a visit to Deadrock.  Aside from the main plot, Polly and Bobby’s romance, dozens of other storylines were woven into the story.  The play was peppered with interesting side characters, from Eugene and Patricia Fodor, a pair of comical British explorers, to the Zangler’s Follies, a group of energetic showgirls.  Another unforgettable character was Irene Roth, Bobby’s longtime fiancee (played by junior Julia Gurlitz).  She huffily follows him to Deadrock, and when he calls off their engagement, Irene transforms from a snobbish, fur-clad New Yorker to Deadrock’s local dominatrix.  By the end of her main song, “Naughty Baby,” cowboy Lank Hawkins is head over heels for her, so Irene and Bobby both find happy endings.

“We all had the chance to become characters very different from ourselves, and to become either a high-class New Yorker or a western cowboy took a lot of dedication and strong acting.  I’m proud to say that I was part of the show,” said Gurlitz.

Crazy for You was bright and lively, filled with upbeat musical numbers, impressive dance sequences, and heartwarming romance.  The score, composed by Ira and George Gershwin, made for a showstopping performance, and the pit orchestra, conducted by Mr. Anthony Pinelli, set the mood perfectly.  To top it off, the elaborate costumes transported audience members back to the ‘30s.

“I like to have a big hand in the costuming of the show, and I get to work individually with the students and with the director to try and recreate that time period onstage,” said producer Ms. Christine Nelson.  “We find a lot of our clothing at thrift stores, and it was so much fun to get glamorous 1930s wigs for the girls and mustaches for the cowboys. It made it real.”

When you sit in the audience and watch a production as well-coordinated as Crazy For You, it’s easy to forget everything that goes on behind the scenes.  Because the show took place at Weber, a much smaller venue than Schreiber’s auditorium, the performances had more of an ensemble feel.  The cast often rehearsed in the choir room because of the construction at Schreiber, but the experience helped the cast and the crew forge a tighter bond.

“Over just a few months, we went from being high schoolers with unread scripts to a well-oiled machine that could dance, sing, and tell the story,” said Gurlitz.  “We weren’t just a cast.  We were a family.”

A key contributor to the show’s success was the stage crew, the cogs of this “well-oiled machine” that did their jobs behind the curtain.  From set designers to lighting and sound board operators, the stage crew ensured that everything ran smoothly at every performance.

“In the minute when the curtain is closed, everyone is rushing around backstage.  The crew is always there to pick up whatever job needs to be done, and being on crew is like being a part of the show,” said junior Shiraz Johnson.

Crazy for You put a modern spin on this classic ‘30s romance, and the production staff, cast, and audience members all seemed impressed with the result.

“It takes a lot to put a show together like that when you start from nothing.  You call a bunch of kids into a room and by the end you have this colorful musical piece, and it’s just an amazing transformation,” said Ms. Nelson.