Behind the scenes: Pal-Mac Technical Theatre Design students hard at work in preparation for upcoming production of Newsies

Yaeger Tech Work

The Palmyra-Macedon Central School District has a rich musical theatre tradition.This year, the tradition continues with the Pal-Mac High School presentation of Newsies.


Three performances of the renowned musical are set for March 6, 7 and 8 in the Performing Arts Center.  


With roughly a month until the curtain rises, preparations are ongoing, including work by students behind the scenes to ensure the musical runs smoothly. For the fourth consecutive year, students in Technical Theatre Design classes are leading construction of the scenic and technical elements for the show. 


This year’s set design is led by sophomore Emily Pulcini with the input of the Director Mrs. Day, her Technical Theatre Design teacher Doug Blackall and classmates. The construction of three massive towers which mimic the elevated subway and fire escapes associated with New York City in 1899 highlights her work. Behind the towers is the iconic NYC skyline flanked by row houses adding to the completed set picture. Students involved in Technical Theatre classes have been helping to measure, cut and fasten pieces to the towers, paint the brick on the row houses and detail Mr. Pulitzer's desk (one of the main characters in the musical). 


A unique addition to the scenic design this year is the creation of a video projection feature, led by junior Meghan Schmandt. As part of her role, Schmandt has been researching newspaper headlines from 1899 (the year that the story takes place) and working popular headlines into the show via video projection. The unique effect helps weave together the struggle of the Newsboys selling newspapers. Two projectors mounted above the stage send the images onto custom-made projection flats on either side of the stage. The intricate undertaking began in December. 


Riley Israel, a sophomore, is charged with the task of bringing light to each scene. As part of his work, he identifies all of the places on stage where characters and scenery will need to be lit, and which effects will need to be added. Riley also meticulously constructs light cues that are custom designed for each scene.  


Shelby Yaeger (pictured), another sophomore at Pal-Mac, is tasked with the sound for the production. Everything audiences will hear from tap dancing to sound effects must be researched, created, documented and cued in the sound board operator's book. Yaeger assigns individual microphones by character, gathering feedback from Mrs. Osika (Vocal Director) and Mrs. Day to ensure she has the correct number of microphones for each character.


The final student design piece is led by Mikayla Bush, a junior, with assistance from the Technical Theatre Design classes. Mikayla is tasked with creating the New York City skyline and adding the many, many details to the scenic design, called for by Emily Pulcini and the Adult Production Team. 


“Our theatre design students work incredibly hard to make our productions a success,” said Doug Blackall, Technical Theatre Design Instructor and Facilities and Operations Specialist for the Performing Arts. “I am honored to be able to teach them and work with them throughout the process.”


Don’t miss out on the amazing production on Friday, March 6, at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 7, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. to experience the finished product.


Learn more about the show and purchase tickets here.

Back to School News      Print News Article