It’s here. Opening night of “Next To Normal!”
We’ve spent the past week or so introducing you to our stellar cast, and we adore them all. But today, as we get ready to open the doors on this fantastic musical, we want to shine a light backstage. To the people working behind the scenes to bring this show to life. This blog post is all about the unsung stars of our show. The designers, crew and band who make this show run like clockwork, and who don’t get a chance to bow at the end of the night.
That photo up there? Pretty bad-ass, right? Without our team of designers, our cast would be working on a bare stage in the dark. Without our band, they would be singing a’capella. Without our crew, none of what you see here would be happening. Hell, without our staff photographer, you wouldn’t even have this photo. We are blessed with the hardest working group of theater artists in all the land, and a lot of them work off stage.
And we couldn’t do a damn thing without them.
So here’s to:
- Our band. Led by the brilliant Patrick Colvin on piano (who also is responsible for teaching the cast 2 solid hours of difficult music) and featuring Cory Clay on guitar, John Cox on bass, Rebecca Farmer on violin and synthesizer, Doug Quance on percussion and Macaulley Whitlock on cello. They sound amazing. They make the cast sound amazing. They are just plain amazing.
- Our booth crew. Production Stage Manger Tonya Porter not only runs the show like a seasoned pro, she also makes sure everyone is where they should be when they are supposed to be, coordinates everything you can think of (from buying bread and batteries to navigating the murky waters of tech weekend), AND runs the light board. She’s got a hell of a co-pilot in the booth in Erin Ohland, who designed the props, painted the backdrop, and runs sound and projections. Good lord, ladies. Stop showing off with your awesomeness.
- Our backstage crew. Alexander Houlson and Dereck Williams make our scene changes fly, make sure the cast has the right costume on and the right props in hand, and never lose their cool. They are rock steady and a blast to have backstage. Again, we work with the best. We are damn lucky.
- Our designers. Holy crap our designers. Evan Kelly on set. Jon Moyer-Grice on lights. Nick Gosen on sound. Erin Ohland on props. Not to mention Andy Frye, Andy Bennett and Adam Sippola pulling double duty as cast members and designers. Andy Frye is the show’s choreographer, Adam is our film director and editor on the production, and Andy Bennett assisted on the lights and projections! We could talk about how great all of our designers are, but if you come see the show, you’ll KNOW how great they are. It will be right there in front of your eyes.
- Our photographer, Andy Miller, who somehow has figured out the magic formula that translates the excitement of live theater into still images.
- Our incredible House Manager, Colleen Smith – who not only manages our box office and treats our audiences with total class, but also donates time to help paint our set.
- Ken Pogin with Duluth Event Lighting who has the gear and the care for local arts that lets our wildest lighting dreams come true.
- Anne Stephen, who came through in a pinch with some vital costume pieces.
Seriously, that’s a long list. And that’s just ONE show.
When you buy a ticket to “Next To Normal,” you aren’t just buying 2 hours of entertainment. You are supporting the artistic efforts of over two dozen people who have chosen to live and create right here in Duluth.
So you deserve a big thank you, too.
Katy Helbacka, Artistic Director