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Building Chicago

Posted 03/04/2008 by Sinjin Jones

A look at the technical aspect of TJ Drama’s upcoming production, Chicago.
by Sinjin Jones

BuildingCHICAGO.jpg     A number of dynamics go into creating a successful stage musical: tech, music, and direction to name a few. With TJ Drama readying their spring musical, Chicago, it is fitting to take a look at how these things come together. This week: the technical crew.

“The tech crew is in charge of lighting, curtains, props, and set pieces, just a lot of things that go into making our show successful,” says Artistic Director and Lead Tech of the production, Michael Palmieri. “Without the dedicated tech crew that we have, it would be nigh impossible to put something like Chicago together.”

Prior to the beginning of rehearsals, the tech crew took on the job of organizers and planners. “It wasn’t necessarily the most exciting work,” said Senior Techie Steven Edwards, “but it needed to be done so that when we got to building sets everything would be in its proper place.”

As rehearsal got more intense, many techies took on roles that they will keep until the show premieres. “Once everything is coming together,” said Palmieri, “we need people who can run the lights, work the curtains and run spotlights for the remainder of the production, because its important for everyone, techies and actors, to get accustomed with the aesthetics of the show.”

Meanwhile, other techies are building the sets that will make the show shine, literally. On the top of their list is a very glittery addition to the finale of the show along with a three-tier platform to act as the center of action on the stage. “Building the stuff isn’t incredibly difficult,” said Techie Trina Fernandes, “but it’s really important. We have deadlines that we must hit so that the cast can work with the sets before the shot. It would be terrible if no set was built until the day before.” The Tech Crew keeps busy building various prison accouterments such as bars and a staircase that will serve as useful during a sad moment in the production. “Once we get the plans,” said Trina, “its up to us to build it accordingly so that it’s both safe and fun. We want everything to be as flashy as possible.” With platforms and new lights to accent the acting on-stage, everything is coming together just in time for the show.

“It is most important that the Tech Crew feels like part of the drama family,” Palmieri says,. “They are one of the most important aspects of making a show work and we couldn’t do it without them. When the show goes up, we need lights and a set if anyone is going to enjoy it.”

With the show premiering in only a week and a half (March 13th and 14th at 7 p.m. and March 15th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.), the Tech Crew (Monica Arck, Anna Boyle, Steve Edwards, Trina Fernandez, Kevin Flemming, Ben Gilliland, Jessica Johnson, Kenny Montgomery, Dallas Ockey, and Spencer Snell) is taking on important roles, pivotal to the show’s success, and focusing on getting to know the play so as to act as problem solvers on opening night.