It started with some “Singing in the Rain.” And it’s coming to a close with some “Little Women.”
Between those two musicals, Peggy Bailey has spent a lot of time and effort helping Lakeland High School stage its annual musicals, spanning nearly a decade as stage director for each one. “I really like the musicals,” Bailey said this week as she works on Lakeland’s 2013 musical, “Little Women.” “Though plays would be much easier.”
The musical runs Friday, April 26, though Sunday, April 28, in the Lakeland auditorium.
For Bailey, it’s the combination of the two – music and acting – that make them fun to do. “It’s like having the soundtrack of your life going. That’s what musicals have,” she said. “And it (musicals) does something different with the emotions.”
For this year’s musical, it’s the drama of the story that is giving Bailey and her cast the most challenge. “There’s a lot of meat to it,” Bailey said. “The kids have to dig deep as it deals with the issues of death and avoidance.” Bailey works with the students to discuss their lives and how they can connect that with what their characters are going through. “A lot of parts, they wouldn’t understand. We’re asking why they feel what they feel and to dig deeper with it,” Bailey explained.
Bailey has a love for musicals that have meaning. Two of her favorites over the years have been “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Godspell.”
When it comes to choosing what musical to do, Bailey looks at the strengths of the cast she knows she’ll have. “This year was hard. We lost most of our guys last year, so we had to find a female-based show,” she said.
The work of producing the musical takes up to 12 weeks, working every weeknight, sometimes very late, especially as the first show date approaches. Bailey agreed that the last week is when things seem the craziest. “It seems like we’re ahead, but it’s the little things that get you,” she stated.
Despite the fun and challenge of staging the musicals, Bailey feels it’s time to turn the stage over to others. “I’ve built a team of people that do such a great job. And there’s always been such great parent support,” she said.
Part of the team she’s worked with is also taking their leave. Patsy Kruse, who helped choreograph shows, stepped away last year and long-time stage tech Dave McAllister is leaving this year.
Meanwhile, she has students from IPFW – including Lakeland graduate Amanda Prater – helping out. “I hope they get excited and bring a different dimension to it,” Bailey said.