High School Musical “42nd Street” gave us an opportunity to give back through Set Production

A few years back, I did a bit of acting and tech work while in high school. I was living in California then and I thought the shows we put on were pretty spectacular. Yet nothing compared to performances put on nearby Fairview High in Boulder, Colorado. With the huge talent pool they draw from at school and the amount of volunteer parents, they are able to put on a great show. Honestly, I am flat out amazed with their production professionalism. I would be astonished to find another school with the dedicated commitment Fairview’s faculty and staff to their student’s theatrical program.

These musicals play to packed houses with eager parents and friends of students acting in them. Like during my high school days the shows are performed for only two weekends each year about the same time. So even if I wanted there is no way I could ever find out how Fairview stacks up with other performances. I have never lost my enthusiasm and love for acting and full on musical performances. Recently, I had an opportunity using our shop and talented craftsmen to help with the latest program at Fairview. It gave me a chance to be a part of Fairview’s set production.

“42nd Street” Set Design

“42nd Street” is a tap dancing extravaganza about a small time girl getting her big break in the big city. The set designer and artistic director were looking for five platforms to have the kids tap dance on for the number “I’m in the Money”. Technically these were difficult platforms to make because they wanted them to light up and have images of dimes and quarters on the top. The artistic director came to me for help so I volunteered my time as long as they were willing to pay for the materials. This was not a cheap operation.

The Design Solution

My biggest concern were kids safety while dancing the platforms and that they felt secure as if they were dancing on something solid and not a spongy surface. Using polycarbonate for the tops, the shop created clear egg crate supports wrapped in wooden columns. The polycarbonate is a very dense and durable plastic and on the smaller platforms the egg crate supports were probably overkill. My feeling though is better safe than sorry when it comes to kids appearing to tap dance in mid-air. Some volunteers from the school to help for one afternoon but our office manager Bill Bercow and I ended up working over a weekend to finish them off as most of the kids and parent volunteers were working there own long weekends on the rest of the sets and the dozens of costumes. It is always fun to be involved in a large project that has so much support and commitment from so many people in our community. My own daughter graduated from Fairview High School years ago and I am happy to give a little back for all that she gained while attending there.

It is always fun to be involved in a large project that has so much support and commitment from so many people in our community. My own daughter graduated from Fairview High School years ago and I am happy to give a little back for all that she gained while attending there.

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