The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


After a successful presentation of the musical “Hello Dolly,” the director of the Woodmore Drama Club says it’s time for the school district to begin planning for a performing arts center.

The club staged the musical March 17-20 in the cafetorium of the new PreK-8 building in Woodville, drawing mostly sellout crowds, according to Marcia Busdeker, who praised administrators and staff members for accommodating the production team and cast as they held auditions and rehearsals in different district buildings to, in turn, accommodate the practice schedules of athletic teams, cheerleading squads and other groups.

Even the patience of a spirited Dolly Levi would have been tested by having to construct stage sets at private residences, move a grand piano into the high school gym for rehearsals, then move it back to the choir room, and contend with poor acoustics of the gym when singing or reciting lines, Busdeker reasons.

Ryan Book, left, rehearses a scene from “Hello Dolly” with Joe Kigar and Maria

The stage area of the cafetorium is also used for a middle school classroom.

When musical productions were held in the auditorium of the now demolished former elementary school building, rehearsals and presentations went much more smoothly for the club.

Busdeker is asking the Woodmore school board to give its blessing to the formation of a committee to explore funding options for a performance center.

“I want our productions to be held on a stage worthy of our students and community,” she told the board last month. “I know that this will be a work in progress and I am also well aware that we are not able to put this on a ballot anytime soon, so I suggest we start fundraising, writing grants and seeking private donations. I would like to propose that we put together a strategic planning committee just for the purpose of obtaining a performing arts center. I have no issue knocking on doors and asking for money, but we need a plan first.”

She provided the board with an extensive recounting of what the production team and cast faced.

The cafetorium in the new school lacks stage wings and there was no area for cast members to wait for their entrance without the audience seeing them; so a plastic sheet was hung to block the back entrance of the stage from view.

The lighting and sound systems in the cafetorium aren’t suited for a stage production and the on-stage lights emit a distracting noise, Busdeker said. The club paid for having the company that installed the building’s sound system add the club’s seven microphones to the building system.

She describes the sound system as being operated “on a wing and a prayer” during the shows.

Finding a suitable place for the pit band was also a challenge. After trying to have the band on about a quarter of the stage behind the characters, Tracey Nycz, the district’s choir director and music director for the show, suggested the band perform on an upstairs hallway. Because the piano used by accompanist, Sally Makulinski, couldn’t fit in the elevator, an electronic keyboard was used instead.

A seating arrangement for 270 chairs was set up. There were a few complaints from audience members about not being able to see and hear everyone on stage and that the chairs were uncomfortable.

Cast members never criticized the facility but in a meeting two weeks before opening those playing the lead characters had concerns.

“We sat down and had a long chat and I said I feel like some of you are holding back yet on giving me 100 percent. Can you tell me why? Their concerns were valid,” Busdeker said. “They said what if we can’t hear the music because Mrs. Nycz is upstairs? What if we can’t hear our cues to come on because we’re not in our regular auditorium? What if people can’t see us because of how they’re sitting in the audience? I told them, that’s for me to worry about. I was very proud of them for bringing their concerns to me and even more proud of them for never complaining the entire five months it took to put the show together.”

She also has favorable reviews for school officials who recognized what the drama club was facing.

“Everybody was very helpful. I can’t say that enough,” Busdeker said. “No one ever said ‘You can’t do this.’ Everybody bent over backward for us, the administrative team; the secretaries at both facilities, the custodians, teachers, everyone we came in contact with couldn’t have been more helpful. It was a wonderful experience where people helped me. But it was the most challenging production I have ever been a part of because we were putting on a show in a facility that is not meant to have a musical on the stage.”




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