by Hillary Keating
Most people have heard of the Tower Players and their production of fall plays and spring musicals. However, not many know what goes on behind the scenes. Everyone knows the director, Mrs. Sweeney, but what about the choreographer, assistant director, and program supervisor? What about the hard work of these individuals, and their dedication to each year’s fall play and spring musical? I was able to sit down with all of these people, as well as several Tower Player members to discuss the the preparation for the production, Fiddler on the Roof.
Mrs. Van deSande is the assistant director of the Tower Players as well as an English teacher at RFH. She says her career as assistant director began in the spring musical of 2003 because of her daughter’s participation and interest. Before, Mrs. Van deSande said she never had any experience with theatre.
As assistant director, she attends rehearsals on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, and meets with the advisors behind the scenes at least once a week. When asked if she enjoys the plays or the musicals more, she answered: “I enjoy the musicals more because of my daughter being a dancer. They will always hold a place in my heart.”
Choreographer for both shows, Mrs. Marinov (formerly Ms. Rizzo), has been dancing since she was three years old. She took ballet exclusively for 13 years, and as a sophomore in high school began to include jazz and lyrical instruction. She took private dance lessons for many years and then, when she entered a public dance school, she joined a dance team. She was also on her high school dance team.
Mrs. Marinov says she always had an interest in choreography and would make up dances with her friends. She began working for Tower Players in the 2005 production of Grease. She now works at three rehearsals a week as well as Friday’s with the student choreography team.
“We have some input from Mrs. Sweeney as well as the student choreographers,” Marinov commented. “We work as a team!”
Mrs. Johnson, otherwise known as “Mama J,” is the Play Production Coordinator for the Tower Players. This means Mama J is in charge of the playbill, publicity, and the opening and closing of the theatre. She started work with theatre in high school where she performed in her school’s shows. Mama J began working with the Tower Players eight years ago when her eldest daughter was a junior, acting as a wrangler for the junior cast in The King and I. The next year Mrs. Sweeney offered her a new position as Production Coordinator. Fiddler on the Roof is her 16th production.
“I love every show and all of the kids in them!” she said, displaying her great enthusiasm for the theater and the Tower Players.
In addition to the hard working stage team, The Tower Players has dedicated performers for its shows. A group of freshman girls all agreed that the Tower Players is a group of energetic, kind people who are close, much like a family. They also expressed that they joined the Tower Players for a love of theatre.
Jade McGowan, freshman, compared her experiences in middle school to those o the RFH stage: “The stage is bigger, and working with a new director is always different.” The girls said that they will be returning for the shows next year.
Senior Patty McCarron, who played Golde in this spring’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, commented on her last Tower Players show: “I’m sad, and I feel like it has gone by way too fast.”
She counts the productions of The Wiz (she won Best Supporting Actress at the Count Basie awards) and Seussical the Musical among her favorite shows. McCarron plans to continue with theatre in college at Brookdale Community College.
Fiddler on the Roof opened to packed audiences on the weekend of March 19-21. Its reviews were excellent, and overall the Tower Players put on one of their best productions yet!