Lights, camera, action!

Young Heineman actors perform their musical “Beauty and the Beast” in the PAC within the highschool


Heineman actors performed live on stage for their fall musical this year. (S. Reynolds)

By Savanna Reynolds

A middle school student has practiced for a while now with their fellow cast members and their director for their musical with students of different grades from sixth grade all the way to seniors in high school all in one big building. The cafeteria where they perform is not big, but the students have come to love the space.

But this year, their production was going to be hosted quite differently. They were no longer performing in the small cafeteria. But now, there is a stage for their shows. They heard from peers that the big room with the stage was funded to be built with the help of the community. The room was huge, with somewhere around 700 seats making up the “house.”

The stage was impressive and this student wondered how long this stage, in the Performing Arts Center, would last. What would the future hold for theater? Now in 2022, students still perform in the very same PAC as back in 2002 and continue the tradition of theater and the fantasy it brings. Students still perform stories as old as time, and this past weekend was no different. 

Heineman Middle School proudly presented its musical “Beauty and the Beast” this past weekend, and the PAC was filled with family and friends of the actors who wanted to be Heineman’s guests in all three of the shows. It was a huge success and it was celebrated accordingly by both the actors and the tech crew behind the show.

This musical is much to celebrate since this was one of the first performances with a live audience after the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there were other performances in the previous year that had the masks off or even had a live crowd, it is still exciting since things are slowly going back to normal. It is exciting for the crowd to see the show, and it is always exciting for the actors because they get to perform. But, it is also exciting for the tech crew.

“I’ve been doing this for a little over 10 years now, and it’s never not exciting. The first time you get an audience, even though it’s a tech crew, we’re backstage. I’ve been talking about this with the crew. You draw in the energy from the audience. What makes live performances unique, is the audience,” Stuart Wilson, Technical Director for the PAC, said.

“That’s what sets theater apart from any other entertainment form, in my opinion, is that you draw on that energy, that emotion from the crowd,” Wilson said. “Being here, experiencing something live, there’s nothing else like it. So, we definitely look forward to new audiences coming in because it really takes our whole game to its next level for our shows.”

At first glance, it may seem like there’s not much effort that goes into the show when it comes to the tech crew. But, that’s far from the truth. In fact, the tech crew is what keeps the show’s gears turning. And there is a lot of work that goes into it, even for the high schoolers who signed up to be the crew for this musical.

Emma Swiersz, a junior and the stage manager for “Beauty and the Beast” let us peek into what goes on backstage and being one of the gears making this show turn and go smoothly from her view.

“It’s always stressful. This is my first-time stage managing so, I have been around other people and heard them do it. I had an idea of what it’s like, but you don’t know what it’s like until you do it. It’s a lot. There’s a lot of outside work and practice that goes into it. Calling a show perfectly is not effortless,” Swiersz said. 

Despite the hardships that everyone involved in this musical faced, everyone still pulled through and made the show a success. Thanks to everyone involved in this musical, including the directors from Heineman, the actors, the tech crew, and the technical director and director of the PAC. The theater season has kicked off to a good start with this timeless tale of a musical.