Written by: McKenna Hill
As the theater program faces an influx of changes in the new school year, a small cast and an up and coming director work tirelessly toward creating a musical set to impress an audience of peers.
“Our administration is fantastic, and they gave me ultimate control over what show we got to have this year,” said Dalton Pittenger, first-year theater director at Smithville.
Having a cast of only nine makes for an intimate set and precise casting, according to Pittenger. It also allows for a more individualistic approach to learning parts and putting together a near flawless show.
“Snoopy is a show that I hope is as close to our audience as it is to me,” said Pittenger. “I grew up with the Charles Schultz Peanuts characters, and I know that, personally, they represent a lot of good values to me, values from childhood. They might have come out thirty years before I was born, but I still feel like Snoopy and friends are almost part of our national consciousness and identity, and they definitely represent our culture.”
Between director and cast alike, Snoopy the Musical has found a soft spot in the hearts of the theater program. It is because of this that the group is trying to convey the same sense of nostalgia and reverence to their audience in a variety of ways, including embedding it within the set, the acting, and the performance as a whole.
“My character, Linus, is, of course, really entitled to his blanket. He’s kind of reserved, but at the same time is full of knowledge about various things,” said Nevin Voth, junior. “I almost feel like I can relate to him in this way because I’d like to think I’m also pretty knowledgeable, but definitely an introvert.”
Despite having a small cast to work with, the theater team is facing a shortage of time with the beginning of the school year coming nearly a month later than previous years. The program also faces the unique challenge of rebuilding, a task that is bound to come with any new director.
“What I believe Mr. Pittenger is doing is setting a good solid foundation, where we can build up from there. So far this year we’ve done a UCM workshop, which was good because what he was really trying to do is get us out there to colleges as individuals and as a group,” said Voth. “He is really putting work into making this a good starting point for young actors.”