[Editor’s note: In this and the print story in our Jan. 31 edition, it is indicated that Saturday, Feb. 3 shows are scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m. It should read 2 and 7 p.m.]
Oliver Long will have no problem remembering his character name for the upcoming Music of the Night production.
The 11-year-old plays the lead in Oliver, which will take centre stage this weekend at St. F.X.’s Immaculata Auditorium.
“I like being part of a cast and meeting nice people,” the Grade 6 student at Saint Andrew Junior School said.
Despite his young age, Oliver is a Music of the Night veteran, having been part of Honk!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar.
“It is a lot of fun and I really love doing it,” Oliver, who started performing at seven, said.
Steve MacDougall, who plays Mr. Sowerberry and is a member of the chorus, will be in his first Music of the Night.
“I started doing theatre and improv a little bit in Montreal. When I came back home, I kept doing improv,” he said.
“I wanted to do something in the community – more people and a bit of a bigger production – which is something that I have never done before.
“It has been such a cool experience,” MacDougall added.
Cat MacIntyre, no stranger to the theatre, including Music of the Night, plays Nancy.
“She, kind of, tries to do the right thing for Oliver,” she teased, adding she “won’t give away any big plot twists.”
“She is kind of a flawed character, so she is kind of interesting,” MacIntyre added.
Nancy is her first lead role.
“There is a lot of line learning that I have never actually had to do, so that has been challenging,” MacIntyre said.
She added, with a lead role, “there are a lot of things happening.”
“You have to really think a lot harder about your motivations and your relationships with other characters,” she said.
“It has been a really fun process to, kind of; discover my ‘Nancy,’ as we go along.”
Jenn Laudadio is the director of Oliver.
“We have a beautiful cast – 55 people – from ages five to 67,” she said.
Cast and crew started rehearsals early last October.
“We were really pleased to get the show to a completely blocked status before Christmas,” Laudadio said.
“We were even able to do a couple run-throughs before Christmas break and we were able to return after and just simply hit the ground running – running the show and trying to smooth things out.”
There are three-hour rehearsals – both Tuesday and Wednesday – while five hours have been set aside each Sunday.
“It’s tiring but it’s worth it – to see everything kind of evolve and come together,” MacDougall said.
“Sometimes it seems like we are so far away from something but then it will take just one rehearsal and then it comes together.”
Along with Laudadio, Brent Bannerman (music director), Liliona Quarmyne (choreographer) and Aimee MacDonald and Allison MacLennan (stage managers) are providing their expertise to shaping the production.
Laudadio noted the addition of professional theatre technician Chris de la Cruz, who happens to be spending the year in Antigonish.
“He was looking for something to do,” she said, with a laugh.
Laudadio added he will be invaluable to the transformation of Immaculata Auditorium which, she noted, is a performance space, not a theatre.
“Trying to bring a theatrical vibe and feel to the space is not easy, so I am so grateful to have professional assistance. It is so clear that he is an expert,” Laudadio said.
She added de la Cruz has brought on some Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School art students as apprentices.
“They are actually making the set with him, so it is a very nice outreach opportunity,” Laudadio said.
Proceeds from Music of the Night benefit the Regional’s band program.
Oliver opens Friday (Feb. 2), at 7 p.m., with two shows on Saturday (2 and 4 p.m.) and a Sunday matinee (2 p.m.
Next weekend, there will be nightly shows Friday (Feb. 9) and Saturday (Feb. 10), both at 7 p.m.
There will be matinees Feb. 10 and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m.
Tickets, which are $18 (adults) and $15 (students and seniors), can be purchased at Antigonish 5¢ to $1 or the door.