Hard at work at the ‘Holiday Inn’

Theatre producer and lead discuss the production process of ‘Holiday Inn’


Photo by John Smith

DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY: Amelia Warner and Fletcher Hooten dance together as Linda Mason and Ted Hanover. Warner said in an interview that the firecracker dance was her favorite part of the musical, due to how much fun her and Hooten had together.

The seemingly flawless performance put on by students from all four years was instantly beloved by the Roncalli community. But the production team, led by theatre producer Mr. Phillip Anderson, had been working on the production of “Holiday Inn” since last March. 

The production team, tech crew, and cast all put in lots of time and dedication to make sure the musical reached its highest potential, it truly was a strenuous process to get there. 

“It’s a gradual process of slowly adding things and getting more involved as we move closer to the show. We begin with baby steps, so we can see how we want everything to come together,” said Anderson. 

Before anything happened with casts and crews, though, the production team started to envision what they wanted to happen with the musical in March. 

“[In March] We start looking at what students we will have for the next school year to see how they will fit into the cast,” said Anderson. 

Anderson made it clear that they do not have a definite cast already in place before there is the opportunity for all students to try out for a role. But Anderson said this can help the production team choose the musical they want and to begin to see how it will all come together, even months before official auditions begin. 

It was in August when everything really was kickstarted and went into motion. 

“The rehearsals, blocking practice (everyone being in the right place at the right time), choreography, all began to get set up in August. As we got closer to performing day we were running the show and doing all of it together,” said Anderson.

Amelia Warner, class of 2023, who starred as Linda Mason, also spoke on the production process of “Holiday Inn”.

“It is more than just memorizing lines and choreography. There is so much that goes into it: lighting, sound, hair and makeup, stage crew, and more,” said Warner.

Warner also made sure to highlight all the people who played a huge role in the different production parts. Mrs. Barb Hatfield, one of the named helpers, was in charge of over 1000 costumes and she made many of them herself. Warner also talked about Mrs. Melanie Eakman and Mrs. Jennie Dixon,  who dedicated hours of her time watching the Broadway production of “Holiday Inn”, memorizing dances and moves in order to set Roncalli apart from other high school productions. 

There were sacrifices made too, in order to make “Holiday Inn” a success. Cheerleaders in the musical, for example, had to miss the last football game of the season. With so much going on in a high paced environment, while still dealing with school and other extracurricular activities, it was easy to feel overwhelmed or stressed. But Warner said the crew worked together to help one another get through the stressful time. 

“We tried to bring each other up and not be so negative about it,” said Warner.

In fact, Warner said one of the biggest steps taken in order to be prepared for the musical was prioritizing mental health.

“Mainly it was putting our mental health first. Sometimes people would take a day off of practice or school to avoid being overwhelmed,” said Warner.

Although it is clear that putting on a Broadway-quality musical brings its stresses and challenges, it was certainly a provider for loads of fun for cast and crew members. 

“My favorite part was the nostalgic music because everybody was familiar with it and could sing along together,” Anderson said. 

One thing Warner loved most was watching everybody shine and excel at their role. 

Xavier Wilson and Ian Knight both, who are seniors and starred as Jim Hardy, are just amazing. They could hit the high notes and get into their character like nobody else could,” said Warner. 

Warner also mentioned the fun everyone experienced together. For example, Fletcher Hooten, who is a junior at Roncalli, used his singing and dancing to give others the opportunity to feel welcomed and happy.

“Being backstage was one of my favorite things too, just goofing off with each other and making sure not to forget to have fun,” Warner said.

Warner also spoke highly of many other cast and crew members, who went above and beyond to make sure “Holiday Inn” was a success. Anderson was also satisfied with the efforts that were put into the production by all of the people who worked together to make the musical possible. 

It is evident that the entire crew worked hard by putting in countless hours of time and effort to produce “Holiday Inn”, but they also worked hard to not forget to pause in their pursuit of happiness to just be happy.