A Thank You Note to The Student Design Team of Head Over Heels

2 mins read

By Jenny Shen ’23

From February 23 to February 25, 2023, the FGS Winter Musical co-curricular presented three amazing shows of the broadway musical Head Over Heels. The musical is based on the play The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney, which was adopted first by Jeff Whitney, and then by James Magruder with songs by the all-female rock band, The Go-Go’s. 

While the cast’s excellent performances should be highlighted and appreciated, the efforts of those who toiled day and night behind the scenes should also be recognized. Here is what Joshua Ly 23’, our one-and-only stage manager & lighting designer, has to say about his experiences on the stage crew for Head Over Heels:

Where did your interest in stage lighting come from? When did you learn about theatrical lighting design?

I started being involved in theater backstage in 7th grade in Hong Kong. I started off being a cameraman, then to spotlight, and finally lighting designer and stage manager. During my first couple of productions, I learned about the different roles backstage. That’s when I first got in touch with lighting design. The reason I started to learn is just that I think it’s cool. All those fancy lights really attracted me, and I want to be the one to create those lights. However, after I started doing lights, I fell in love with them. I love how the lights go in sync with the music, I love how the lights made the atmosphere, and I love how the lights tell the story. That’s the reason I keep doing lights even after I became the stage manager.

Can you share one anecdote that happened this year during the production of Heads Over Heels?

During the first two weeks, we mainly have to focus on brainstorming the sets, props, and costumes for the show, and we always put music on when we are brainstorming. However, after an hour of work, we ended up playing music and messing around instead of working, doing things such as dancing, wearing random costumes, and playing with the props. (Sorry Mr. Burnham) Anyways, we still got everything done and the show was amazing!

What do you enjoy the most about Head Over Heels? 

I enjoy every single moment of Head Over Heels. The thing I enjoyed the most was working with the stage crew, especially Al. Al is our tech director, and he is the one who taught me everything about theater, from building sets to designing lights. I have worked with Al since last winter. Even though he is tall, big, and kind of intimidating, he is humorous, experienced, and willing to teach you everything you want to know about. I really enjoyed working with him and it’s my pleasure to work with such a great person who gives me joy and experience. Working with the stage crew is an unforgettable experience. Even though I don’t like painting, I enjoy every moment of working with the stage crew. We worked together in different roles to make the show happen. I really appreciate everyone’s hard work to make my last show at The Frederick Gunn School complete.” 

Would you recommend this musical to your friends outside of school?

I would definitely recommend this musical to my friends outside of school. Not only because the story and the music are fantastic, but also because our cast and crew put great effort into the show and you can actually see the effort on stage. You can see our cast fully emerged with the character, the amazing costumes, the beautiful sets, and of course the wonderful lighting design. All of these made the show.

Lastly, I want to recognize Katherine Aguirre-Felipe 26’, Thea Howe 23’, Katherine Johnson 25’, Joshua Ly 23’, Polly Ross 26’, Maisie Samuels 23’, Gracie Stutt 23’, Aria Trotta 23’, Chensu Wang 26’, and Anya Zigmont 26’ for all their great work in making the Winter Musical, Head Over Heels, an unforgettable experience for the entire school. The show was truly fantastic and I hope they can continue their interest in theater, whether in the next FGS production or in college!

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