Behind the Scenes: Moline High School Musical Set Construction - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Behind the Scenes: Moline High School Musical Set Construction

Updated: Feb 26, 2013 09:46 PM CST
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This week, fans were able to get their fix of the of the NBC hit show and musical drama 'Smash.' In about two and half weeks, Moline High School will host it's opening night for the upcoming spring musical production.

But, without one dedicated group of students working behind the scenes, it wouldn't be possible.

The set construction crew is hard at work to get the stage ready in time.

The sounds of screw guns and table saws fill the Moline High School auditorium these days. That is actually the sound of education:

"It's a lot of math, and then once again, the engineering, building, learning how things move," Zach Baker, a high school freshman and member of the set construction crew, explained.

All of the members of the crew are getting some on-the-job training, as they build the set for the musical 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.'

It may not look like much right now - more or less, it's the wooden framework for what's eventually going to be occupying the full stage.

In just a matter of days, it will be a very different picture. It will likely look much more like the finished product - a large pyramid, with two angled staircases up the sides where the Children's Chorus will be positioned, and a raised platform in the middle, with doors opening up underneath.

It is the same set design that was used the last time Moline High School put on this show in 1997.

"It all comes together as soon as you get started with it," the Set Construction Manager, Brad Chumbley, said.

Chumbley is a self-employed general contractor by day, who has for years volunteered as Set Construction Manager for Moline High.

On any given day here, he is mentoring 15 to 20 high schoolers with power tools - all with varying levels of experience.

"Some are just learning how to use a screw gun or use a saw or something like that, so we definitely have to have conversations about safety," he said.

Chumbley says his crews usually catch on really quickly.

"Me? I'm just learning as I go," laughed one crew member, Elizabeth Antolik.

"We've all become friends, and we're all very close-knit," Baker said, "and we just all learn from each other's mistakes and triumphs."

It is a learning experience, for sure - instilling important lessons:

"If you cut too short, there's no such thing as a board stretcher," Baker pointed out.

And there's the math involved:

"Mr. May, the director, has always said that it's 50% the set, 50% the actors, and the rest is the crowd," Baker said, laughing.

Any more joke will have to wait. There's work to be done on the set, and very little time to do it.

The show opens March 14th.

Brad Chumbley got involved with the Moline High School theater department when his daughter was a part of it, nine years ago.

When we take you 'Behind the Scenes' next week, we'll meet another volunteer who can't get enough - the costumer who moved away, but is back in town now to help.

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