Spring semester ushers in three plays

By Raquel Price

“I think we’re all actors,” GCC Theater’s Virginia Ludders says. “But some people just lack the (stage) experience.”

Training and experience are two of the tips Ludders gives to anyone who wants to pursue acting. The GCC Theatre is the beginning of the experience for many student actors.

This semester the theater department will put on three very different plays.

“Crazy Days of Summer” is a light comedy that will be directed by Mark DeMichael. This first play will be presented the beginning of March.

David Roberts will also direct a children’s musical called “Imagination.” Some local schools plan to bring some of their students to the play, but it is also open to the general public and is recommended for the whole family. “Merrily We Roll Along” will be directed by Ludders. This is a musical by Steven Sondheim based on a play by George Kaufman and Moss Hart.

“We wanted to do a Steven Sondheim play,”, Ludders says. “It’s not over done. Students will benefit from it, learning to perform.”

One reason Ludders thinks the play is so good for students is the story line. It is about life in plays – being in and performing in plays. There is one twist to the play: “It’s told backwards,” Ludders says with a smirk. Ludders also thinks it is the perfect story for teenagers and adults who love the theater.

Casting for “Merrily We Roll Along” has just begun. Ludder’s phone rings off the hook with people asking questions about the plays. Students, faculty and set builders walk in and out frequently asking questions. Ludders estimates that a total of 50 to 60 people will audition for the Sondheim musical, but then, “you never know,” she laughs.

The auditions are open to all students, no matter what their backgrounds are.

Many of Ludders’ theater students will be auditioning. One student, Sandra Ponce, has been in the last three productions at GCC. She has taken many of Ludders classes and is not nervous about the audition.

“Chances are pretty good,” she says about being cast in this semester’s play. “It’s nice to work with people you know and worked with before,”

Even though many auditions are returning students, Ludders says if newcomers walks in and give a great audition, “They have a good chance of begin cast.”

That is what Emily Qualls hopes will happen at this audition. She had a small part in “Picnic” and loves musicals so much that she had to audition again. “Singing auditions are nerve wrecking,” Qualls says on the second night of auditions.

The first night of auditions was all about the voice and acting. The second night is about dancing. A choreographer teaches students a dance routine. They put the music on softly so they don’t interrupt classes and they practice in the theater lobby until their names are called.

The final cast selection is posted on the theater’s bulletin board days later. “I try to pick people as close to in age and physical stature as the character,” Ludders explains.

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