Auditions for the Warren County School District's 12th All-County Musical production of "Singin' in the Rain" were held Monday and Tuesday night at the Warren Area High School auditorium. The comprehensive auditions included singing, dancing and readings from one or more selections provided from the actual script itself.
Some of the students in attendance included Eisenhower senior Ashley Gruber, WAHS senior Kenny Anderson and WAHS junior Ciara Whipp, among others. For many auditioning, the All-County Musical is an opportunity to expand on a background already rich in musical theater heritage.
WAHS freshman Hunter Goldthwaite, one of the youngest to audition, has already starred in roles ranging from the Skin Horse in the Jack-In-The-Box Players production of 'The Velveteen Rabbit' to Phantom Boy in the Warren Players' production of 'The Phantom.' "I want the role of P.F. Simpson," said Goldthwaite. "He's one of the people in charge of everything - one of the producers. He's one of the lead people and stands out."
Times Observer photo by Brian Collins
Dancin’ in the rain
Students in the first round of auditions for the 12th All-County Musical learn dance steps from Director Jen Koebley and Dance Captain Dawn Sears. The dance portion of the audition included choreography to the song “Singin’ in the Rain” along with a singing and reading portion as well. Pictured (from left to right) are: Ashley Gruber, Tim Newbill, Ciara Whipp, Koebley and Sears.
Michaela Ednie, a junior at WAHS, has been doing plays since the fourth grade including 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Annie,' and 'The Miracle on 34th Street' at the local players' in Bedford. "This is the first year I've had time and was free to do it," said Ednie of the All-County Musical. "I'm excited to get back into it (theater)." In addition to her years of theatrical experience, she has been taking voice lessons the past couple years - something she hopes will help her land a role this year.
For WAHS senior Tim Newbill, this is the last year to participate in the All-County Musical. "I've been singing in choir since the fourth grade," recalled Newbill. "I've done the junior all-county musical, the 11th All-County 'Once Upon A Mattress,' and 'Aladdin' at the Library Theatre." This time around, in terms of roles, "anything is good," he laughed.
Though the auditions can be nerve-racking, once a role has been awarded the process has only just begun. In the months leading up to the April 4-6 performances, the actors and actresses from around the county will be subject to a rigorous rehearsal schedule. When all is said and done, they will have committed to nearly 150 hours of preparation. That doesn't even include all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating the set, advertising, and all of the other things necessary to make this event possible.
"It's going to be tough with graduation," said Newbill. For the freshman, however, "it looks easy," laughed Goldthwaite.
Students aren't the only ones making sacrifices for the event.
Producer Jen Dilks is in her fourth year with the All-County Musical and is the person in charge of everything behind the scenes. This includes scheduling with the Struthers Library Theatre and WAHS for rehearsals, developing her production team, costumes and make-up, lighting and sound, organizing school tours, advertisements, developing the program, and so much more.
"It's a big commitment. It takes a lot of time. My husband said 'Oh, auditions are tonight? See you after April,'" laughed Dilks. "It's become a family thing - my kids are here and Jen's (Koebley) involved her daughters and her mom has been in charge of costumes for a while now." Dilks' husband Bob is even involved, contributing to set construction along with Todd Koebley.
Needless to say, Director Jen Koebley has had her hands full with auditions as well. Though the final results of the auditions won't be made clear until the announcement later today, Koebley is excited to dive into another fantastic year with the All-County Musical.