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  • Writer's pictureArts Angle Vantage Journalist

Technology plays extra, extra heavy role in ‘Newsies’

Caroline Siegrist performs onstage as Katherine Plumber during the final dress rehearsal. Photo by Aniya Cathey with Arts Bureau Edge.

By Irena Fletcher

duPont Manual High School, Class of 2022

Ever wonder how what goes on behind the curtain in Floyd Central High School’s “Newsies”?

Michael Nevitt, the lighting designer/mentor for the show, talked about what goes on behind the scenes. He graduated from Floyd Central in 1986 and has been working in the lighting business for 30 years. On this production he works with 20 student crew members. (There are 74 cast members.) The work on production started in September with crew members working on the constructing and painting the sets, some of the set pieces are very large and move throughout the production.

The cast and crew first performed “Newsies” at Floyd Central in November. Floyd Central was going to use the space in the Kentucky Center of the Arts for rehearsals and a run of shows — that is until a fire sparked in the ceiling caused them to cancel those plans. Instead, they moved the production to the high school.

“We were going to use the Kentucky Center as sort of a practice session for taking the lights down and setting them back up,” Nevitt said. “But it didn’t change that much for us.”

Nevitt has worked with Floyd Central on other works like “42nd Street” in 2016. For “Newsies,” he also did the computer drawings of the set layout for the different theaters the show will play in.

Most of Nevitt’s preparation in stage lighting comes from understanding what the technical aspect of the show is, he said. Nevitt said the show demanded projections and projection technology — some that Floyd Central had. But some that it did not. So, Nevitt turned to Florida-based Elation Lighting Inc., which loaned the school projectors.“The students run the light boards and they hang the lights and everything,” Nevitt said.

The projectors also have a role to play. “At one point Katherine types on a typewriter and you see what she is typing on a screen behind her,” he said. Even the actors are aware of all the technical aspects at nearly all times. “This show — especially with the three giant moving towers that we have on stage — we have to be very precise in what we do,” Mitchell Lewis, who plays Jack Kelly.

“Keeping track of all 50 microphones with belt packs. It’s quite a challenge when you have that many mics.”

Another challenge, Nevitt said, is keeping track of all 50 microphones with belt packs.

“It’s quite a challenge when you have that many mics,” he said, “especially in this show where people are tumbling and flipping and fighting. One tumble, and a belt pack gets crushed.”

Once the run is over on Saturday, cast and crew members will load all of their sets, equipment, and projectors into three semis to take them to Lincoln, Nebraska, where they will get set up for the International Thespian Festival.



Photographs by Aniya Cathey, sophomore, Male High School; and Max LeDoux, seventh grade, Louisville Collegiate School.



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