Musical theatre requires significant time and finances, especially when it is student-run. Brock Musical Theatre is already raising funds to bring Heathers: The Musical to the Brock community.
The Brock Musical Theatre has been putting on productions since 2005, providing the Niagara region with student-featured performances. Most recently, co-directors Quynn Oates and Jenna Freeland helped run a fundraiser at Swiss Chalet on November 13 in which a portion of each bill was donated to the club.
“Fundraising is an important part of the success of our production,” said Freeland. “We ran many fundraisers last year, and we were able to sell out all our shows very quickly, even with adding extra seats.”
Brock Musical Theatre is ratified under the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU). Although this makes the club eligible for funding, the team still works tirelessly to raise money for their productions. The cast has fundraising methods both event-based and longer term.
“We are currently running a bottle drive, which is a smaller project but still so important to us. It allows our cast to do something good for the environment, as well as get our names up there,” said Oates. “We are currently looking into doing Mahtay Café nights, on January 18 and March 2 again, to showcase our cast talents and also invite other folks to partake in our activities, and see us in a more casual setting, rather than fully covered in production make up and submerged in our character profiles. We are also hoping to do a screening of The Heathers in second semester to get people excited for our take on it.”
The 1988 dark comedy originally starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, and was directed by Michael Lehmann. Eventually, it was adapted for the stage and was first performed in 2010. Under the direction of Freeland and Oates, this performance will continue to adapt.
“We are definitely putting our own spin on Heathers, whilst staying true to the original production. There are going to be some surprises, from set design, to some sexual scenes, the audience will be in for an awesome experience,” said Oates.
Many people see only the final product but are unable to see the process to get to that opening night. From auditions until the bitter end the team could be rehearsing together for 15 to 20 hours a week, not including the work they put in individually. The team dedicates rehearsal time to things such as vocals, choreography, characterization and blocking. Separate from this is the time put towards fundraising, paperwork, organization and more.
“Putting on a production is certainly a huge time commitment, I find myself doing a lot of work outside of rehearsal time,” said Oates.
Freeland will be applying what she learned from her role as Enid Hoops in the Brock Musical Theatre production of Legally Blonde the Musical.
“As a member of the cast last year, I found that the final number was where you have to push yourself the most, both physically and emotionally, and I can’t wait to see our cast have that final breath on stage for our production,” said Freeland.
Already, the co-directors have had to overcome challenges such as people dropping out of the play and struggles with miscommunication, though they say it is typical of the theatre industry.
“We’ve worked hard to stay on top of everything in terms of organization, however there are always going to be unknown challenges that come up,” said Freeland.
Brock is looking forward to seeing what the cast and crew makes of their challenges and successes. Every production is something to look forward to, as they always bring something unique to the stage. Heathers: The Musical, with its rock-type music and 1989 dark-comedy authenticity, will be at the forefront of Brock’s talent next year. Individuals looking to support the production can take part in the many fundraising efforts of Freeland, Oates and the rest of the Brock Musical Theatre club.