That Time I… Wrote a musical

Michael Lynn is a freshman communication major with minors in theatre and business. He currently works as the production manager of SUTV. 

Those who are passionate about the arts, particularly theater, are familiar with the divine and unique thrill of standing in the blinding spotlight amongst a sea of eyes gazing upon your every movement. In most cases, it is an honor to simply recite a piece. It is even more of an honor to create a vision and adapt it into a script, but it is a rarity to do both, which I can proudly say I have.

It may seem peculiar that a high school senior would take the time and devotion towards such a trying process. For me, however, it felt as natural as the air I breathe.

As an alumnus of Cooper City High School, my time was well spent in terms of involvement. I had become a theatre club member and a member of student media during my senior year while balancing seven classes daily. While it was a major responsibility for me to create two-minute entertainment sketches on a weekly basis in my student media organization, it had become second nature to brainstorm creatively and quickly. For this reason, I was approached by a classmate in hopes of making a special project come to life.

My friend and fellow actor, Guy, had been experimenting with the concept of a musical but needed assistance for putting his ideas into motion. He had spoken to me about an event hosted by the high school marching band called Encore. During Encore, marching band students would perform various musical numbers and often include visual pieces alongside their work. Cooper City High School’s drum line and color guard especially have been noted for their flashy presentations and colorful personalities. His concept for Encore was Percussion Theater, which included members of the drum line and also integrated various other instrument sections.

The concept for the musical was intricate and required patience, choreography and a loyal crew. The musical’s plot involved a classroom of students slacking off under the tyranny of a strict teacher. Once the teacher exits the room due to an emergency distraction, the students proceed to tap on their desks and create a serenade of both creative rebellion and freedom of expression in music. With Guy’s ability to write music and my efforts in choreography and scripting, we harmoniously worked together to blend our abilities into one.

My personality as a playwright is polar opposite to my personality as an actor. As opposed to the extrovert and colorful character I present myself as on stage, I prefer to work in silence and solitude while I write. The lack of noise and character that usually accompanies a room full of actors is replaced by my thought process. I envision a line of dialogue that develops into a conversation and, in due time, include the actions that complement the tone of the characters. It can be a challenge when outside forces interrupt the thought channel, hence the need for total concentration. Guy uses a similar method, but experiments with the sound rhythm as opposed to the plotline and character backgrounds. Once we had completed our portions of the musical, we finally merged our fortes together. Our scene would begin with dialogue and action before transitioning into a boisterous musical number. Once our collaboration was finally completed, we shared the thought process with our colleagues, who were just as eager to put our ideas into a reality. Within a month’s time, we had led our posse of twelve cast members into a musical and theatrical creation that we were proud of. A one-night performance at Encore was finally set into motion after daily rehearsals.

Act after act, the crew nervously awaited our cue to set up and block our scene in the darkness behind a gargantuan curtain, with the company of anxiety and howling gusts of The energy generated from a full house was intimidating and nerve-wracking, but as the saying goes: the show must go on. And it did.

Within a mere two hours,

I realized we were not only musicians but genuine brother and sister thespians. The spotlights blinded our eyes and heated our bodies and our performance finally began after what seemed like a million hours of waiting.

The thrill of performing is unique in the sense that you are petrified by the massive crowd that you cannot see beyond the stage lights, and yet you feel a homely desire to live as your character and bring joy to hundreds of people.

Every wisecrack and pun created an uproar of laughter and a sea of smiles, and might I add: although I could not break character, it was a challenge not to laugh and smile back from the sheer bliss of making others feel better.

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