By Erica Dunigan
Staff reporter

The theatre department will be performing “Chicago” on March 3, 4, and 5 at 7: 30 p.m. in Messenger Recital Hall. A dinner will be held before hand at 6. On March 6 the performance will be at 2 p.m., and the dinner will be at 12:30 p.m. Dinner and Show tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for Students and $15 for Southwestern students and faculty. Show only tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free for SC students and faculty.

Roger Moon, associate professor of theatre and speech, said there are many steps that he has to take as a director to make a show happen. “With a musical as big as ‘Chicago’ we needed extra help to make it possible,” he said. “We ended up contacting Brandon Smith, who is one of many theatre alumni of the college.”

It was an opportunity that Smith couldn’t turn down. Brandon Smith, class of 1998 and set designer, said, “I recently bought a house here in Winfield, and Roger brought the opportunity up to me no longer than after I arrived back in town. “

The theatre department was also in need of a lighting designer, so they asked Smith if he knew of anyone who would be willing to help.

“Roger asked if I knew anyone who would be able to be a lighting designer,” said Smith. “Luckily, they agreed to hire one of my New York University colleagues, Aaron Mooney, to do the lighting design.”

There was still one more spot to be filled before the theatre department could start putting “Chicago” together.

Yvonne Marcotte, costume designer, said, “They were looking for a costume designer, and I’ve worked with Roger and Allyson in the past with many musicals. When they said the musical was going to be ‘Chicago’ I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that. I knew it would be challenging, and that is how I like it.”

Three guest artists will be helping with the musical. Allyson Moon, associate professor of theatre, said, the idea of having three guest artists was to bring a surprise to the students. “They bring knowledge that the students can use later down the road,” she said. “Yes, we did need the help, and that is one reason we contacted them. But, the most important reason was for the students.”

Moon said that the students spend more than 20 hours a week just rehearsing, but all together there will be more than 700 hours of hard work put into the musical. “Everyone has put in so much work,” she said. “Having the three guest artists has been a blessing.”

Because of the construction on Richardson Auditorium, the musical was moved to Messenger and the new location has its limitations. Smith said, “One of the toughest challenges we had to face was the fact that we don’t have the space to build the show in Richardson due to the renovation there. As a result, our technical director has to build the set outdoors and in the space itself.”

With less than a few days left before the first performance, more planning starts to happen. Moon said, “We still have a little ways to go with set design and costumes, but now I have to start planning for Performing Arts Day.”

High school students visit campus to learn about performing arts, and this year the theatre department is incorporating musical theatre and “Chicago.”The students will go to different workshops ranging from acting to singing, and then at the end of the day they will have the opportunity to see “Chicago.”  “Every aspect of the day will revolve around musical theatre. It will show them how to create a production and what all goes into a musical theatre piece,” said Moon. “They have an opportunity to learn about SC, and be involved with interactive workshops.”

As this long process is starting to end, for one of the guest artists, “Chicago” will be an experience they will never forget. “It has been amazing working with Brandon and Aaron,” said Marcotte. “When you’re a professional, and you get to work with another professional, you then grow more as a person. Working on this musical helped me remember how fun it is to be a designer. Also seeing the students grow in the past weeks has also been a great experience. I’m blessed to have been given this opportunity.”

Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at erica.dunigan@sckans.edu.