Q & A with the Directors of 24 Hour
This week, justArts spoke with the three directors of this year’s 24 Hour musical — “Peter Pan”: seniors Caley Chase ’16, Zoe Golob-Sass ’16 and Zach Marlin ’16.
JustArts: How did you select this year’s musical?
Caley Chase: Zach was on Skype. And the entire production staff met.
Zoe Golub-Sass: The technical directors, the set designer, producer, assistant producer, choreographers, music directors, um, and I very possibly can be missing someone. But it’s about half of the production team.
CC: And we basically brainstorm a ton of musicals, and we look for shows that have large ensembles and really separate ensembles, too, so we can include a lot of people and include them so they can be showcased. Oh, we also look for a lot of character roles too. So a lot of lead roles and a lot of—
Zach Marlin: —Supporting roles.
CC: And we also want something that people know so that they’re not coming in completely cold at the beginning of 24-hours — so something that they’ve heard of.
ZGS: But something that’s not too — not like you come in already learned.
ZM: And it makes them a lot easier to learn the music, for example. Because if you have a show where nobody knows any of the songs, then they come in like, “I don’t understand.” If they have an idea of the show, it makes it a lot easier.
CC: And some people read music and some people don’t, and we want to make it available to everyone.
ZGS: And one thing that it came down to when we were deciding on “Peter Pan” was we decided — we said, “Okay, are we gonna do the Disney or the Broadway?” And there’s been a lot of Disney in the past few years, … and actually, the three of us kind of spent a long time talking about old theater shows and old Broadway shows.
ZM: And how much we all like it. So that’s why we picked the Broadway show.
CC: There are also more songs in the Broadway version, too, which is something that is really great to catch onto for 24-hour.
ZGS: And songs that stick—like the melodies of old Broadway.
CC: Big ensembles that people can latch onto and people can play with, so like that one for the number of songs that were in it.
JA: How do you think it turned out? Was it what you expected?
CC: We were very proud of what people did. It was such an incredibly hard-working group of people. It was really amazing.
ZM: Yeah, I mean, the performances from the actors and all the effort they put in — and the set was as good as any I’ve ever seen. Tech and performances were — it was better than I would have imagined it to be.
ZGS: I’d say the cast was primarily freshmen. And usually, you know, there’s a tradition of first freshmen kind of coming in and meeting people. And it was just really awesome to see how many there were. Because when we pick the show, we have no idea who’s going to show up.
CC: And we’re sitting there in auditions, like, “I hope there’s gonna be people to play all these roles.”
ZGS: And then you end up with so many people that are so talented.
CC: And I think it ended up being different from a lot of the other 24 Hours because usually they have two romantic leads. And since we’ve been here, that’s kind of been the trajectory of it. Um, and this show hinges so much on the role of Peter Pan that it’s so much for one person to learn in 24 hours. But Katy [Reinhold ’19] was amazing.
ZGS: Katy blew our minds.
ZM: She was great.
ZGS: She was so great to work with, too. Not that she just performed very well; she was very generous and wasn’t pushy, you know. She’d be at the back waiting for people to pass, and she’d have rehearsal somewhere else or need to get somewhere. So we’d be like, “Move, guys, if you’re not in this scene.”
JA: How does the 24 hour period go?
ZM: So, the three of us sat down together and divided the script among the three of us and decided who was gonna block what portions of it and what was gonna be choreographed. We decided that before the 24 Hour — for the most part. Some things were changed and some things were added. We decide all of that and the music people decide how long they want to take for each song and give their information to the stage manager. … I don’t know how Julie [Maschler ’16] did it. She was incredible, and she puts it into a workable schedule for 24 hours based on who is blocking what and how much time we’ve said we’ve needed for it.
CC: And who’s in it—because Peter Pan is basically in every scene in the show, so scheduling was really, really crazy for her.
ZM: But it’s fun. There’s always something going on.
ZGS: We had four rooms booked for the 24 Hour, plus [we booked] the atrium. Um, so things were constantly happening.
ZM: And we can’t really use the theater until two or three of the production night because they’re building and finalizing lights and all that kind of stuff. So the theater also isn’t really a rehearsal space for all of us. We have to find these other places to block everything.
JA: How much sleep did you manage to get?
ZM: I got probably a combined hour and a half of sleep.
CC: I think I got an hour and 17 minutes.
ZGS: I think I was probably around the same.
ZM: An hour and a half is generous.
JA: How did you get involved in 24 Hour?
CC: I did it my freshman year. I played the Little Mermaid in “The Little Mermaideleh.” So it’s something that I feel very attached to becuae of that. And then I did it sophomore year and I was abroad junior year so I didn’t get to do it. It’s just so fun. It made me feel so at home at Brandeis. I think it’s such an important event for the community so people can meet each other so that’s my connection.
ZGS: I cannot sing for the life of me.
CC: She’s tone deaf.
ZGS: I’m partially tone deaf. I’m pretty tone deaf. And I love old musicals — particularly old Broadway stuff. So I did tech my sophomore year and I think I helped out with costumes. I didn’t do it freshman year — I was a midyear. And Noah Suchoff ’16, the producer, asked me if I’d like to direct, and I was very excited and that’s how I got called.
ZM: I’ve done it all four years. I did it my freshman year, and I was the seagull in “The Little Mermaid” and I was Maurice—the dad—in Beauty and the Beast and I was Eugene last year and that was awesome.
It was perfect for me because I love acting like a nerd, because I’m a nerd. So it was something I’ve always enjoyed. It’s how I’ve made a lot of connections in the theater. No question, I was thrilled to have been asked.
ZGS: That’s the dream.
ZM: Someone who does it all four years, the goal is to get to direct.
ZGS: I was never in it, but I always wanted to be a part of it and to work on it more, and then it’s just like, “I’m ready to graduate.”
JA: You are all seniors—if you could choose what the 24 Hour Musical is next year, what musical would it be?
ZM: I would love to see “Oklahoma.”
ZGS: That is one of mine.
CC: That’s one of mine!
ZGS: And “Sweeney Todd,” because there are so many inanimate objects that are begging to be played by actors.