Keep your eyes open and your ears tuned in to the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Spring 2023 production of Shoeless Joe, which will be showing on Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. in the Grace Pollock Dance Studio.
Shoeless Joe is a musical cabaret directed by Susan Hurley which runs every semester and starts off the department’s series of productions. Each year the cabaret features new songs and new actors.
“We take a variety of songs from other places like musicals or pop music, and we synthesize it into this whole show,” said Erin McCarty, the sound designer and sound board operator for the show.
“It’s roughly a different cast every time, and what’s cool about the show is that they pick the cast members first before they choose what the show is, so each show is tailored specifically to the actors. So you know the actors are gonna fit the role because it’s made for them.”
Although those involved in the show won’t disclose what songs they’ll be performing, the title of this semester’s production, “Almost Normal,” gives a clue as to what the songs will be about, so you’ll have to see the show to know more.
Currently, the cast and crew of Shoeless Joe have been rehearsing for 3 weeks and will soon be heading into tech week.
McCarty described the current stage of production as “the stage where, from the tech side, everything is going wrong, and it’s supposed to be so that we can work the kinks out.”
“Since we will only have six rehearsals before tech week starts, a lot of the work we are doing as a cast is practicing outside of rehearsal to make sure we are ready,” said Elizabeth Volpe, one of the actresses in the production.
Actress and choreographer Emma Hehn describes it as “stressful, but the good kind.”
Despite the immense work that goes into putting this show together, the cast and crew find ways to have fun and make rehearsals enjoyable.
“We’re a tight-knit group and have become like a little family in this whirlwind process. Jokes rarely stop; I genuinely don’t know how we get anything done sometimes,” Hehn said.
According to McCarty, even when they’re getting work done, they still have fun,“It’s very lighthearted and fun. There are a lot of moments where Mrs. Hurley will say, ‘Banter with each other,’ and they’ll just improv and joke around, and she’ll be like, ‘That, I like that. We’re gonna do that again.’”
That fun carries through to the stage as Stage Director, Reannah Weiss says, “This show will give people a chance to take a second away from the craziness of daily life, and just relax and be in the moment with us.”
If you are interested in seeing all the hard work of the cast and crew live, tickets for Shoeless Joe are currently on sale at the Box Office in Eisenhower Campus Center as well as online at messiah.edu/tickets. Tickets will also be sold at the door before each performance.