Musical Study Hall: A Quote Story


Kenleigh Theis

This month, the LFHS Theater Department is extremely busy as they prepare to put on the production of All Shook Up beginning on April 25th. With all the hustle and bustle that comes with preparing for the musical, many students have talked about the intense numbers of hours spent practicing.

As explained to me by senior Grayson Pruett, rehearsals begin after school and typically end around 6:30 pm. However, as the show more quickly approaches, the rehearsals can last anywhere from 8:30-9:45 pm each night. On top of these long practices, the theater kids are pressed to learn their lines on their own time. They also must come to practice with dance numbers and blocking (movements/ stage directions) memorized as well. While doing these things after practice, all students have to work on character assessment, which is often a challenge in and of itself.

With all this preparation, many theater students feel that it is unfair that they don’t receive any type of study hall. Oftentimes, they are spending more time practicing than sports teams who have an Athletic Study Hall every day. LFHS theater students were asked to share their opinions on this matter with The Forest Scout.

“You spend just as much time outside of school, but a lot of people think there is no physical activity. I would tell those people to try and dance for three hours a day and ask if they want an extra study hall to get their homework done,” said Alec Boyd.

“I completely understand that the work of student-athletes is incredibly grueling in many ways that music or theater are not, but being involved in a musical that rehearses for 3 1/2 hours with intense choreography, singing, and character study is grueling in its own way. I usually don’t get home until around 8:00 every night just because I have to accomplish tasks for my family, my job, and for many other extraneous purposes, as do many others. Tech weeks are especially hard for performers because rehearsals don’t get out until around 9:00 pm and it is easy to lose your focus when trying to accomplish homework after such a strenuous rehearsal. students involved in the arts work just as hard as students involved in athletics, and one genre of after school activity should not be deemed more deserving than another for a study hall.This past year, I have been in three shows that have all started right after the previous one ended, so I had no “off time” from rehearsing every day after school. I don’t think I’ve been home before 6:00 pm since early September. This kind of schedule is almost identical to that of student-athletes. Although theater is, by nature, not as physically strenuous as most sports, it is still a draining activity that requires dedication and drive. Having the opportunity for an arts-related study hall would lift a huge weight off of my shoulder,” said Kailey Albus.

“Because there are so many things that go into a musical, learning songs, dance numbers, lines and acting you are expected to be memorized by a certain point and you are expected to relatively know the dance the next time it is run otherwise you are cut. Typically people find the time to memorize lines during a study hall if they don’t have an abundance of work. It is a lot of work, and most of the leads take voice lessons and prep for hours outside of school and rehearsal on their song. So it does take a lot of time and a lot out of someone. There has never really been a push to get a study hall, but it’s always been a topic among theatre kids; we put so much effort into the shows because it’s what we love to do, but it can be difficult to stay on top of academics. Ask any theater kid, I’m sure they would say their time devoted to academics dwindles significantly during the musical,” said Grayson Pruett.

“As we get closer to the show, usually our rehearsals go super late and end around 9:00 pm when we start directly at 3:30 after school. At that rehearsal, we are constantly moving around between blocking and choreography so we are definitely putting all our effort into what we are doing,” said Nikole Tzioufas.

“Having been involved with 12 productions over my three years at the high school, it would greatly loosen my stress if I had a study hall. When my classmates have an athletic study hall for a sport that sometimes practices less than we do, it seems unfair that we work just as hard on the activity that we love to not be given the time we need to excel in our academics as well, like the students in sports have. I understand that everyone in high school has to meet the standard fitness requirements, but some winter sports, like swimming, don’t start until mid-November, yet the students who swim get an athletic study hall for the whole semester, allowing them almost three full months of no in school athletic activity before their sport starts, not to mention all of our musicals have three months of dancing that we rehearse at least three times a week, giving us the fitness requirement we need for almost an entire semester. In the high school productions, especially the spring musical, which lasts from the beginning of February all the way until the last weekend of April, the rehearsal schedules require us to be on stage almost all the time from 3:30 until 6:00, 6:30, and even 7:00 every night, and when we aren’t on stage, we are expected to be rehearsing by ourselves. Even at home, we have to work on our characters or our music in order to be memorized for the next rehearsal of that scene, something most sports players don’t do. Then, when it’s show week, we have full dress rehearsals from 3:30 until 9:00 pm for the entire week, sometimes two weeks, in order to have the show ready for our three nights of performances. During that time, we have virtually no time to work on our academics because we have to be ready for our entrances and in the dressing rooms, we are busy switching costumes and doing hair and makeup. For some shows, we have Saturday rehearsal, not to mention building the set for the show as well. For all these reasons mentioned above, kids who participate in the theater productions at school should at least have a study hall for the duration of the show they are in,” said Laine Gamrath.

“Theater kids put in the same amount of time and effort that athletic kids do and some rehearsals can be just as draining. It may seem like fun and games but we are ultimately striving for perfecting our craft just as athletes do and it’s difficult to juggle that and school work at the same time,” said Zach Demet.

“All the students who participate in theater are so dedicated. As the show date has come closer, I hear all the kids talking about how long practices are and how much physical and emotional work it takes. I think that these kids should get recognition for all the work they put in, and it should be realized by the school how many after school hours the preparation for the musical is. I think that if the theater kids had a study hall, like the debate team and other non-athletic activities, all the students would be under a lot less pressure and be able to practice and perform at their peak,” said Kenleigh Theis.

“A lot of people in theatre have either dance or singing lessons after rehearsal; personally I don’t get back home until 10 o’clock sometimes. I feel that it is unrealistic to juggle after-school activities and AP/honors classes. I would say the majority of people in theater get under five hours of sleep per night, which is not enough to perform well in our classes and other activities,” said Cara Page.

“There is a consensus on the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get a study hall for theater kids, but that this article could be written to bring awareness to it and alleviate the workload during show week and the weeks leading up to the shows!” said an anonymous LFHS student.

A special thanks to Grayson Pruett for all the help in gathering quotes and giving information to write this article!