Midnight Players introduce new casting procedures


Image from Mjusic Theatre International

Theater director Mr. Billy Lewis implemented the removal of double casting and ensemble in the spring musical of “Into The Woods”. Before the stage lights close for one last time until the auditorium is rebuilt, the Midnight Players are putting on the performance of Into The Woods, a production based off of our well-known fairy tale characters, however, with a dark comical turn. The Baker and Baker’s wife embark on a quest to change their fate of being unable to have a child. They then connect with our well-known fairy tale characters on a dark and comical adventure. 

Stage manager Miranda Wang lends insight into why there is only one cast for this performance, as opposed to previous performances.  

“Into the Woods will be the most technically and vocally difficult musical ever performed at Poolesville,” Wang said. “Because of the strong vocals required for the show, having a single cast will hopefully allow us to focus more of our time on polishing our actor’s performances” 

 Wang has been stage manager for the past two years, after being assistant stage manager for a year. She has multiple roles, such as coordinating with the technology department, calling casts for standby, and assisting the production crew. She is looking forward to being a part of such an exciting show for her final year and believes that with less actors there will be less conflicting issues. 

“This show does not have an ensemble, it is known as an ensemble show” said Director Billy Lewis.

An “ensemble show” means that every character that is put on the stage is portrayed as a lead and has substantial amounts of time on the stage. Even the smaller roles, like the step-sisters of Cinderella, have one of the most vocally demanding parts. This production will have no background voices or background dancers, as each of the characters will partake in scenes together. Last year, each person that had auditioned was granted a role in the Shrek musical and there were 35 actors overall. However, for the “Into The Woods” production 60-70 actors auditioned and only 28 will be casted 

“I am not opposed to understudies and possibly double casting some of the more major roles” said Lewis. 

When there is an unfortunate circumstance and the main performer is unable to perform, this is when the understudy comes into play. The understudy will cover for the night or take over the role completely. The cast list has recently been released and there is no double casting. However, six out of the 22 roles have an understudy. This includes the Witch, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack, Baker, and Baker’s wife. 

“We’ll be able to finish the script faster, which should give us more time to polish our performance and focus on the vocals, choreography, and acting during rehearsals.” Wang said.

It is clear that the demand for this production will involve more practice and work time, making the removal of double casting a priority in order for a smooth running musical. 

The Midnight Players will be putting on one of the most ambitious and challenging productions on the Poolesville High School stage before the auditorium is rebuilt. It will take a lot of time and preparation, but the team is excited to bring this unique and exciting musical to life. While the date is not yet confirmed, be on the lookout for more information this spring.