The “Curtains” open on the OHS musical

As February comes to an end and spring approaches, there is a period of waiting between the snow melting and the start of outside work. During the wait, come to the Owatonna High School and have a laugh and gasp with the OHS Theatre department as they present their annual winter musical. This year, the musical is a murder-mystery comedy called Curtains. Director, Erik Eitrheim said, “My favorite thing about the show is the humor. It’s all about people trying to put on a show.” This show takes place in late February 1959, at the Boston Colonial Theatre in Boston MA. Carmen Bernstein is the producer of a western “comedy” called Robbin Hood. During the opening night curtain call, as the cast takes their bow, something tragic happens to their untalented lead star Jessica Cranshaw. Later that night, the cast and crew learns what happened to their star after Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, a detective from the Boston Police Department, arrives at the Colonial Theatre to lead an investigation on her murder. Despite the police involvement, it does not stop the killer from killing again.

There are three components when it comes to a musical: music, tech and acting. First comes acting; auditions are held for title roles and the chorus. Once filled, leads begin to learn their lines and character. There are 10 lead positions that are filled by students of various grades. Senior, Avianna Alba, who plays Carmen Bernstein said, “This experience is spectacular, I never thought this was going to happen.” A majority of lead positions are held by seniors and returning theatre students. Junior, Jenna McMains, who stars as lyricist, Georgia Hendricks, said, “My first theatre experience is great. I enjoy working with everyone.”  The cast gathers in the choir room as Music Director and Owatonna Junior High Orchestra teacher, Anna Olson, takes them through the music. Besides directing music for the cast, she also directs the pit orchestra. Olson said, “My favorite part about directing the pit is the fun music and the well prepared students.”

Designing a set is a series of processes. You read through the script as a story and you take notes of elements that are necessary to the story.”

— Doc Grauberger

When the leads were not working on their lines and the cast and pit worked on music, the tech comes along. In the last week of January, Technical Director, Doc Grauberger, brought in the blueprint of the set and construction began. Grauberger said, “Designing a set is a series of processes. You read through the script as a story and you take notes of elements that are necessary to the story.” Once Grauberger has an idea of a set piece, he makes a miniature model and uses a model of the OHS auditorium stage to see where they could be placed both on and off stage and how it could possibly be used for multiple purposes. After that, he draws up plans and then student volunteers build it. With the size of a musical, a lighting and sound designer comes in to help with the other side of the tech. Roger Skophammer was the designer who came in this year. Skophammer is no stranger to OHS, he was the technical director when Eitrheim started teaching at OHS.
On Feb. 19 cast, crew and pit were brought together to put all the components of the show together. Curtains opens on Thursday Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the OHS Auditorium and closes on Sunday Feb. 28, with a 1:30 p.m. closing matinee.