The spring musical Oliver! is not only one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, but is also Menlo's first joint production in many years with auditions for both Middle and Upper school actors. The show opened last weekend (May 4-6) and will be showing this weekend, May 11-12. Staff Photos: Martina Punnonen.
By Martina Punnonen
Freshman Allie Lev and junior Elise Thompson carry a set piece off stage. Oliver! involves many different moving components and requires fast and clean set changes.
Director Steven Minning demonstrates to senior Ari Troper his vision for the scene. In addition to Minning, Choreographer Jan Chandler, Middle School Drama Teacher David Mugglebee, Middle School Dance Teacher Angela Curotto-Pierson and many more have been working hard to shape the play.
Freshman Allison Pittman grabs her prop from a table located behind the stage designated for all of the props. “The best part of this show is getting to know the middle schoolers and getting to put on a show this large and complicated that wouldn’t be possible with a smaller cast,” Pittman said.
Seventh grader Penelope Stinson and sixth grader Henry Slinger listen to Minning as he gives them new blocking for the scene. “I think the best part of the play is that we all bond together as a group. We are with each other so much that we get to know each other so well,” Stinson said.
Sixth grader Charlie Hammond, sophomore Penelope Penfold-Patterson and sophomore Maddy Wenig wait backstage for their entrance. Oliver! is the first all-school play, which allows upper school and middle school students to meet and intermingle.
The musicians practice alongside the actors to perfect the timing and volume. For this show, Oliver! has a live band filled with 16 different musicians playing a variety of instruments.
Junior Thomas Woodside, a member of the tech crew for Oliver!, sets up the equipment prior to their rehearsal. The tech crew consists of various people working together to regulate different aspects of the sound and light of the show.
Freshman Ishi Sood braids Lev’s hair as they prepare for rehearsal. Hair, makeup and costumes are an integral part of transforming the script of the play to life.