This week, justArts spoke with Leah Sherin ’19, one of the directors of the 24-Hour Musical this year.

JustArts: What is your personal experience with the Undergraduate Theater Collective at Brandeis?

Leah Sherin: I’ve been involved with the UTC since freshman year.  I’ve acted, directed and been on production staff for a few different shows throughout the years. I’ve been in [the 24-Hour Musical] every year since freshman year and it’s been one of my favorite parts of being involved in theater at Brandeis.

JA: Neither the audience nor the actors know anything about the musical until it’s time to start getting ready. Who gets advance information and what info do you get?

LS: The production staff knows the show in advance — that’s directors, music directors, choreographers, set designers, lighting designers, sound designers and many others.  We mostly do planning — we don’t start building the set or anything like that until the actors and techies arrive. But, we are able to familiarize ourselves with the show, think about how we want to put it on. We put together scene breakdowns in advance, but everything really happens once the 24 hours starts besides that.

JA: Why does the 24-Hour Musical need three directors and two music directors?

LS: There is so much happening all at once. At any given time, we might be rehearsing two different scenes and a song, or a dance and a scene and a song.  So, we have to be in a lot of places at once. That’s why there’s three directors, two music directors, two assistant music directors, two choreographers [and] two assistant choreographers. They also served in different roles. The music directors sit in the audience during the show to conduct, and the assistant music directors actually stand backstage helping to whisper the words to the actors.  We have a lot of production staff to keep it all going … because there is so much happening at once.

JA: What is one thing that completely went wrong that you just had to give up on?

LS: Towards the end of the show, there is a song called “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and it’s one of my favorite songs, one of the most beloved songs in “Annie.”  And we were sitting there, the song is about to start, and we’re like, “Where’s the music?” And there’s no music for this song! But the music directors just … started the song and the actors sang it beautifully a cappella. And as soon as it started, I knew it was going to be just fine and they were going to have a lot of fun with it. The audience started clapping and snapping along and that’s what 24-hour is all about. … It turned out totally great and it was a really memorable moment.

JA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

LS: I love 24-Hour! I’m sad that this is my last one.

—Maya Zanger-Nadis