‘Another Saturday Night’ with a twist | SteamboatToday.com

‘Another Saturday Night’ with a twist

Erin Gleason

— The first of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp’s summer shows premiere this weekend, when students take to the stage to perform “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Another Saturday Night.”

And in true Perry-Mansfield fashion, the shows have been tweaked to best represent the young performers.

“It matters to us to individualize the shows we direct,” assistant director Sheri Sanders said. “None of our actors are the same, why should each of our productions be?”

In creating the script for “Another Saturday Night,” Sanders and director Amy Rogers worked closely with the show’s eight actors. In a process called “devised theater,” actors brainstormed with the directors to formulate the plot for the play based around the actual experiences and emotions from those who know them best – teenagers.

“We tried to base our show on what our actors told us about growing up today,” Sanders said, “which is a little bit of a challenge because we don’t know what information we’ll get going into the show.”

Students spend mornings and afternoons in vocal and acting classes and evenings rehearsing, often spending 14-hour days at camp with few breaks. During the three weeks of rehearsals for “Another Saturday Night,” the staff has noticed the strides made by the high school- and college-aged actors.

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“We really looked at the potential of our cast,” said Sharon Kenny, the musical and casting director of “Another Saturday Night.” “The whole faculty works so intensely with the students, so three weeks means a lot of progress.”

Due to the smaller-than-usual cast, the actors are facing the same pressures prevalent in the professional theater industry.

“Each student is working on three or four different songs,” Rogers said with a laugh. “We’re forcing them to be flexible – an important skill in theater.”

“Another Saturday Night,” a musical rock revue featuring songs from Broadway plays “Hair,” “Pippin” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” touches on topics true to growing up, from drug use to teenage angst.

“We’re risky,” Sanders said. “We’re not sugarcoating the issues of teenage life. It’s all real – not what adults think kids go through.”