'The Producers' Opening Night Looms for Center Stage Players
With only two months of prep, it's down to the wire for the Mainstagers.
Under dim ambient lighting in the West Deptford High School auditorium sits a group—no more then 35—discussing the best way to replicate a Hitler mustache.
There are suggestions of using black tape, although it may be painful to peel off the upper lip.
There is also discussion of using black makeup, to create a more realistic effect.
With barely days until opening night, it's the little details like the mustache that will make it happen for the West Deptford Center Stage Players.
“We haven’t done a comedy yet, so we decided to do the mother of all comedies,” said Linda Webb, the assistant director and a teacher at Haddon Township during the school year.
The Center Stage Players Mainstagers put it in high gear Tuesday night, as they ticked away at the final hours of rehearsal. Fully costumed, made up, and miked, the group ran The Producers from start to finish.
“It’s a big challenge for summer theater,” said William Yerkes, The Producers' producer and West Deptford’s vocal music teacher.
Unlike productions that take place during the school year, summer theater has a drastically shorter preparation period, for cast and the backstage staff alike, with the set construction crew sometimes still working on painting, literally hours before opening night.
“It’s coming together, it always does,” said Webb with no trace of worry.
Usually sets are recycled from the two previous shows. However, this year they were unable to borrow anything from the Center Stage Players’ two younger divisions, the Starlighters (ages 5-8) and Showstoppers (9-13)—the Showstoppers just wrapped up Seussical Jr., with a set very different from that featured in The Producers.
The Center Stage Players is now in its fifth year at West Deptford High School. At the helm are Tina and Aaron Krasting, who have both co-directed the Mainstagers since the beginning. During the school year, the duo also co-directs musicals for Paulsboro High School.
“I love the Krastings, it’s a lot of fun and a good group of people,” said Harry Webb, who plays the role of Franz.
Harry Webb—a graduate of Woodbury High School and Linda Webb's son—has participated in the program since its conception. After graduating Brandeis University, Harry Webb said he quickly realized he wanted to pursue theater full-time. While this is not his first lead role, he said he's excited to play Franz.
“It’s a very funny role—I’m interested to see the audience’s reaction,” said Harry Webb.
Another eager cast mate, Derek Lynch, has performed numerous times before at Woodbury High School. Now in his second year at Center Stage Players, Lynch said he came back for his fellow thespians.
“I like the fact that all kids from all different towns can come together,” said Lynch.
Lynch said he's made many new friends while participating in the program and said it's not uncommon for the kids to come out and see their peers in their high school productions during the school year.
Both Thursday and Friday performances of The Producers will be held in the West Deptford High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are $12, will be sold at the door.