By Christie Lohr
The Perkiomen Valley theater has been putting on great shows for many, many years, and some students are beginning to wonder about the process of how these shows are chosen. It turns out that much is taken into consideration when choosing PV’s next spring musical.
The first thing that comes to mind when choosing a show would be of course the audience’s interest in the show. No show can be performed if there is not an audience to see it.
Besides the interest, a show is weighted by the script, the overall message the show implies, and the cast needed to be able to put the show together.
According to Mr. Griffie, PV’s musical director, “The big thing is, do we have the cast to do it? I wouldn’t do Guys and Dolls if I don’t have 15 boys who are really amazing. So what you have and what you think you’re going to have has a lot to do with it, and that eliminates a lot of shows.”
Having the right students to fill the roles is a huge importance when choosing a show. Certain shows can only be performed once in a lifetime when the right person comes along.
Mr. Griffie states, “When we did Funny Girl, I thought we had maybe 2 or 3 girls who could play Fanny because that is just an amazing role, and had to be thought of beforehand.”
Since the high school does not cut students from the musical, the ensemble also needs to be in the show quite frequently for all students to have a good portion of time in the spotlight.
Getting the rights to do a show is also a big hassle. Shows must be appropriate for the school environment in order for them to be performed. There have been rumors that the high school staff had set restrictions on what a show may include in the plot, however this is false information.
It turns out the only one deciding to eliminate the possibilities of risque shows would be Mr. Griffie, although if there is something suggestive in a show, Mr. Griffie considers asking the school before finalizing anything.
Students who have been performing in PV’s musicals over the years have been wanting to put on the show “Legally Blonde”; however, it continues to be pushed down due to a song titled “Gay or European”. Mr. Griffie found that it could come across as offensive for some people.
Even though other high schools in the area may do “Legally Blonde”, Griffie still finds it too offensive to put on here at PV.
The other rights needed for a school to put on a show would be the legal rights. For every show, the rights from the company of the show must be granted to PV. Receiving legal rights can be a project for PV’s musical production team.
“Grease is a fine example. We’ve looked at doing that. I probably would have done that last year, but there was an issue with the rights to it.” says Mr. Griffie, “It’s by Samuel French and it’s a pain to get the rights. You have to apply and it takes months. They have to approve you and plus you don’t get all the songs. That’s a different right. You have to apply for two of the songs to different companies to get the rights for them. So it’s a mess just with that.”
PV’s spring musicals are chosen soon after the annual show is over. Next years show could be decided on as early as May, or the debating could go on long until late August.
Perkiomen Valleys spring musicals are chosen through such an important process. Now the question is what will be next year’s hit musical?