The Creative Process…

Perhaps one of the most exciting projects for a musical theatre actor to work on is an original production, which is exactly what a group of Rhode Island College students are doing in the RIC Music, Theatre, and Dance Department.

Talia Triangolo and Derek Capobianco get
ready for the big performance.
Being a part of a theatre program is always eventful. When a production is about to begin, it starts with the initial audition excitement. Next is the unveiling of the cast list (always a crazy day). Once a cast is chosen, rehearsals begin and continue until the entire cast and crew are ready to go before an audience.

The rehearsal process for the RIC Music, Theatre, and Dance production of “Probable Claus” is well under way. Due to the success of last year’s holiday show, “The 11th Day of Christmas,” Bill Wilson, director of musical theatre, and Angelica Vessella, director of dance, have teamed up once again to create a brand new musical for this Christmas season.

I’m playing Mrs. Claus in the show, and I don’t want to give away the plot, but here’s a hint: Santa is missing!

This rehearsal process is unlike any that I’ve ever experienced. During most rehearsals, the cast is broken up into groups. Often times the dancers work in the dance studio with the choreographer, while at the same time, the singers gather in a music room with the music director. Another group of actors will join the director in a room where they spend time working together writing and brainstorming new ideas, directions, scenes and songs for the show.

For "Probable Claus," however, the cast is very involved with the creative team, which is a great opportunity for students to become familiar and comfortable with a different part of a production.

Being a part of the writing process, I’ve had lots of fun brainstorming with my fellow actors, coming up with scenes, lines and jokes that all have to fit together while still including all of the essential aspects of a successful story. Though for me this is very exciting, it is also scary because I find that I’m constantly asking myself, “Is this funny? Does this make sense?”

The cast of 'Probable Claus' rehearses a dance number.
There is so much that goes into writing for the stage that I often sit back and think of the thousands of brilliant plays and musicals that must have taken painstaking hours and endless weeks, months, and even years to write.

Working on this production has given me a newfound respect for the writers, composers and lyricists who have come before us to write groundbreaking and historic pieces that have set the standard, and helped changed live theatre forever.

Though the process is not over yet, the excitement is building as we continue to create! If you’re interested in seeing the final product: a fun-filled musical comedy that will get you into the holiday spirit, check out “Probable Claus” at Rhode Island College, December 2 and 3.

Rehearsal photo gallery

Check back for a follow-up article early next year in which I will write about the remainder of the process, and a review of the final product!