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The Argosy

Backstage at 42nd Street

A Reflection

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What happens when the beaming, focused, energized performers of Mount Saint Dominic’s 42nd Street leave the stage and are no longer in sight? Put simply, the performance does not come to a standstill. Rather, an equally thrilling and impassioned act begins.

The wings of the stage are the epitome of organized chaos, separated into pockets of excitement. Upon leaving the stage, you race past THE Natalie Piparo to clear the hot zone for entrances and exits of props and performers. Natalie manages to be in three places at once: managing the ever-changing curtains, monitoring her impressive crew, and solving the seemingly unsolvable. Past Natalie lies the array of props and add-ons, each in their appropriate spot. Hovering about this zone are two groupings of people, working in conjunction with one another. Cast members anxiously awaiting their next entrance as the costume crew manages quick changes with ease fills the air with the type of excitement that makes you want to hold your breath. Just after this pocket is what seems to be a never-ending expanse of costumes. In a production like 42nd Street, a character can alternate between anywhere from three to twelve costumes. These racks can go from a lifeless pocket, to the most hectic section in a matter of seconds. There were moments when practically the entire cast had to change their wardrobe, and personal space quickly became the least of everyone’s worries.

Just past the costumes and props is the classic hub of backstage life. The walls, covered in mirrors and bright lights, reflect an array of cast members. Just before “places” is called, the cast lines this room hand and hand. As a unit, we focus our energies on Mrs. Mo’s words. Every night, she closed with a specific word to embody in the performance: light, love, fizz, heart. When the show begins, this room acts as the waiting area for cast members, and ultimately where any backstage bond is formed. Every few scenes, the room transforms into a track with the tap dancing theater kids now acting as determined sprinters. Exiting from stage left and being expected to enter from stage right in the matter of seconds becomes second nature during the large group numbers. After the entirety of the cast and crew takes their final bow on the stage, they storm this room. Packed tightly together, bursting with pride and exhaustion, we recite the classic lines that close out each of our shows, lines that only have an effect when they are said in that moment. It is the point in the night where all that occurred both on and off stage collide, and immense joy is unavoidable. The emotion that fills this moment is not promised—the members of this cast have been cultivating it since they first stepped foot into a tap workshop months ago. Hours of memorization, rehearsal, character development, set building, and bonding later, a feeling unlike any other arises. The dynamic and electrifying group of performers that was Mount Saint Dominic Academy’s 42nd Street will never be exactly the same, but that feeling—it will resonate.

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The student news site of Mount Saint Dominic Academy
Backstage at 42nd Street