What it Takes to be in Stagecraft

The crew responsible for FSSA’s production of Phantom of the Opera and so many others.

Most students at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) don’t know much about the Stagecraft elective that is offered.  Many incoming students watch and love the annual musical, but may be too intimidated to audition and would like to participate in another way. Being in Stagecraft allows one to be a part of the process.

By taking Stagecraft, students receive the opportunity to learn how to work as a crew, grasp the basics of being an audio engineer and lighting designer, and get an understanding of the hard work and dedication that goes into making a show successful.  Although it looks like fun and games, and can be an enjoyable process with your crew, to efficiently produce and create a show you must bring your A-game at all times.

Andrea Mejuto is a senior art major at FSSA, and is also a three year member of Stagecraft.  Throughout the past three years she has worked more than 20 shows. She has had a diverse experience with different kinds of people throughout her time in the class.

“Throughout the years each Stagecraft class was very different. People slowly started putting less effort and using less common sense.  Each year it got harder to do work, and there was more drama and tension.” Andrea Mejuto confessed.

Along with being a part of this elective, comes the responsibility of being able to balance the workload of multiple shows overlapping, your academics and personal life.

Students in Stagecraft rotate jobs throughout the show season, working on more than 18 diverse shows.  Returning students usually have more authoritative jobs compared to the newcomers who join the class.  If it isn’t already obvious enough, it takes several hours of hard work to make sure that these shows are perfect for large audiences to see.

Time commitment is a crucial part of this class and it’s something that some students have struggled with before in the past.  When the class begins production on the annual musical, hours become longer, and students spend more days (even some weekends) working.

Without the skill of being able to balance priorities, Stagecraft could be something that is hard to handle year-round.

Andre Vazquez, the teacher, mentor, and production manager for all of FSSA’s productions says that starting next year, there will be changes to the being in Stagecraft including a stricter curriculum for the students in crew.

“We plan to have study hall time, we haven’t figured out exactly what that means, and how that’s happening, but in my head – I’m thinking that we do at least once a week, an after school mandatory call with teachers to help students for tutoring, test prep, and going over material students didn’t understand in class,” Andre said.

Isabella Saban, a sophomore in film, reflects on her first year in Stagecraft.  Next year, she will be one of the two Assistant Stage Managers for Hairspray (opening in March 2020).

“My first year in crew was pretty stressful participating in AP classes, and it was pretty hard but I enjoyed crew, and it made me want to return next year because it made me happier this year doing something I really enjoyed,” Isabella said.

Andrea says that it takes real dedication and drive to be in Stagecraft

“I think the only people who should be in Stagecraft are people who will push and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the show. Your best and the best is not the same thing.”

The workload is hard, but it forces one to learn, and even if you don’t pursue this as a career in the future, the class teaches you valuable lessons that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.

– by Gabriella Yarczower ’19  and Joseph Rana ’19