Mask and Wig’s fall show may be over, but that doesn’t mean the all-male musical comedy group’s members are enjoying much down time.
“While the members go back to focusing on class work and return to more normal sleep schedules,” said Mask and Wig Undergraduate Chairman and College senior RJ Wynn, “everyone is still involved in Mask and Wig-related activities on a regular basis, especially the juniors and seniors.”
From side gigs to setting up a tour to preparing for the spring show in the newly renovated clubhouse, the cast, band, crew and business staff are still living the Wig lifestyle.
Wynn said the cast uses some of their “downtime” to earn money through floor shows and various other performances.
At floor shows, Wynn noted, groups hire Mask and Wig to perform their signature sketch-comedy for half-an-hour.
An example was last Thursday’s musical tribute to outgoing Board of Trustees Chairman James Riepe — complete with Penn President Amy Gutmann performing alongside Engineering senior David Loewy, who was impersonating her.
The group had been approached to do the performance earlier in the year, Wynn said, “and obviously we couldn’t pass [the chance] up.”
Mask and Wig rewrote the lyrics of a song from the Broadway show Les Miserables for the occasion, and rehearsed it once with Gutmann prior to the performance.
The band also sometimes plays side gigs to generate revenue. The members are also playing in an upcoming concert that they have been selecting and arranging the songs for their performance, according to College and Wharton junior and Mask and Wig Band Leader Charles Lynch.
Still, Wynn noted, the band right now has “time for room to breathe a little bit.”
“As fun as the [fall] show is, it’s good to have a break from it,” Lynch wrote in an e-mail. “At the same time, it makes me wonder what I’d do with the free time if I wasn’t in Wig.”
Concerts and tributes to trustees members are not the only performances Mask and Wig is planning. Members are also working on a tour for spring break.
The tour committee — consisting of members of business staff and cast as well the graduate board — has been working with Alumni Relations to reach out to graduate clubs in cities in which Mask and Wig wants to perform, according to College senior and Business Manager Shaun Alperin. He added that Mask and Wig sometimes goes to areas without graduate clubs if they know there will be a good turnout.
Once the tour’s cities are set, Alperin added, the next step is to book a performance venue and to determine lodging for the city.
While they sometimes stay in hotels, “the great thing about Mask and Wig is that there are graduates everywhere, and they are always willing to house and feed us for a night,” Alperin wrote in an e-mail.
SPRING SHOW PREP
The fall performance may have only ended a few weeks ago, but Mask and Wig is already looking toward its next big endeavour: the spring show.
The juniors and seniors in the cast have been putting the finishing touches on the script for Mask and Wig’s spring show, which will premiere January 29, 2010 at the newly renovated Mask and Wig clubhouse.
The show is an original musical that College senior and spring show head writer Ian Stringham described as “Alice and Wonderland meets Star Wars/Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall.’”
Mask and Wig has actually been working on the script for the spring show since the end of last spring, and the group met over the summer to write the bulk of the script.
Now, after putting the spring show “on the back burner” during the fall show, the cast is writing songs for the spring show and will then go back and add additional dialogue and jokes “so it makes some sort of sense,” Stringham said.
Additionally, the group is preparing for the spring show by meeting with the set designer, music director, choreographer and other professionals who assist in the show’s production.
The business staff is already working on selling advertisements for the show’s program.
Because the spring show is held downtown and consists of more than twice the number of performances than the fall one, selling ads is a very different process, according to Alperin.
“The Spring Show is a completely different animal than the Fall Show,” he wrote. “It is bigger in scope, budget, time, and just about everything else. All of which means that as the business staff, we have to work extra hard to sell the show, obtain ads for our program and secure alumni and family donations.”
While the cast finishes the script and the business staff sells advertisements, the crew is readying the clubhouse’s stage for its debut performances, figuring out the logistics of the new stage in order to determine the best way to build the spring show’s set.
In March, 2008, an electrical fire occurred in the clubhouse while it was being renovated. Mask and Wig has not performed in the building since construction began in spring 2007, when the current seniors were freshmen.
“People are so excited [to be back in the clubhouse],” Wynn said, and Alperin added that “there’s so much history and personality to that venue that it really enhances the show and takes it to another level of experience.”Comments powered by Disqus
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