For this year’s musical at Seymour High School, there aren’t male and female lead characters.
Instead, all 40 of the show choir students get their time in the spotlight.
Having performed in the musical “Working” when he was a junior in high school, first-year director of choral music and musical theater Kyle Karum thought it would be a good choice.
He did some research this past summer and came up with five possibilities for the musical. Once he heard the students and found out what they could do, he learned “Working” would be a good fit.
“I picked this show because it has a lot of opportunities for a lot of people,” Karum said. “Instead of saying, ‘You are the main male, you are the main female and the rest of you are just cast members,’ this has everybody getting a piece of the pie, which I thought was cool.”
The show is set for 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday in the high school’s Earl D. Prout Auditorium. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased in the high school office, from Karum or at the door. Students also may purchase them during Power Hour from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Working” is a vignette-style musical, which means there is no underlying plot or storyline. Each scene is a separate idea, and in this case, each scene is a different career or profession.
They include cleaning woman, teacher, truck driver, fireman, ironworker, stonemason, secretary and more.
“It’s one workday start to finish,” Karum said. “We start in the morning rush hour, and then we end at the whistle, essentially.”
Most scenes feature several students onstage at once, and there are a few times when the whole cast sings a musical number together.
“We have so much talent here that it would be a shame to kind of limit it,” Karum said. “It’s a good way to kind of give everyone experience, too, because next year, if I get all seniors this year, I’d have juniors who are chomping at the bit but have never taken the spotlight.”
The musical is composed by Stephen Schwartz (composer of Broadway’s “Wicked” and “Godspell”), singer-songwriter and guitarist James Taylor and others. It spans several different music genres, including folk, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and 1970s singer-songwriter.
“It was a great show, it was a great experience putting it on and I just fell in love with the show,” Karum said of being a cast member in high school. “You can’t go wrong with the music of James Taylor.”
This is Karum’s first time being the head director of a musical. During the past 2½ years at Prairie Heights Community School Corp. in LaGrange, he was co-director of musicals.
Auditions for “Working” were conducted in late October, and the cast list was posted in early November. The cast began meeting as a group in January to work on the large ensemble numbers, and then the focus turned to the small solo numbers.
Along with the 40 show choir students, another 25 students make up the crew. Karum made an announcement at school to find students interested in being a part of the crew, including props, stagehands, hair and makeup and lights.
“My hope is that they learn a skill and we can keep them involved in something,” he said. “Say you’re a freshman and you just learned how to set up the mikes or you learned how to run props. Now, you can do that the next three years or go into something else or even turn it into a career.”
Helping Karum are Kevin Cottrill, who is the conductor, and Karla Shutters, who is the rehearsal accompanist. Other people are assisting with sound and the set.
“Just a thank-you to my team. I have a lot of people helping out,” Karum said. “I’m really excited to get this going. We’re excited for people to see what these kids can do because it’s a lot. Everybody has their hand in it. Everyone’s important.”
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What: Performances of the musical “Working”
When: 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday
Where: Seymour High School’s Earl D. Prout Auditorium along Community Drive in Seymour
Who: 40 Seymour High School show choir students make up the cast, and another 25 students make up the crew
Cost: $6 (tickets available in the high school office, from director Kyle Karum or at the door; students may purchase tickets from Karum during Power Hour from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)