“Antarctica” In this production, collaboration is key

I had the opportunity this week, to catch dress rehearsal for the musical production “Antarctica”, Directed by John Cecil. It was exciting to see this production come to life! Mr. Cecil has assembled an impressive group of performing artists, combining various disciplines. I enjoyed the glimpse I had into this fun and energized production and look forward to the show opening this Friday, February 3 through the 11th, at City Theatre in Austin, Texas.

In this show, Crank Collective is using a 5-person vocal ensemble along with a live band to fill out the vocals and provide a bigger sound and a more full harmonic range. Sometimes there are 21 people performing on stage at once – we have some pretty Antarctica-sized production numbers – John Cecil

I spoke with the choreographers, Kirsche Dickson and Yelena Konetchy about the creative process as dancers working with actors. In fact, they have a history of working together as dancers which helps create a bond and working methodology. Kirsche’s work is established in movement with actors, while Yelena’s focus is specifically dance. They described the pre-production phase as the most challenging and magical part of the creative process. The actual performance however, develops its own a natural rhythm. Their collaboration together with John Cecil translates into a smooth and organically performed dance and acting ensemble.

The production centers around the comical story line where unsuspecting group of passengers on a cruise ship are trapped in the Antarctic and battle frostbite, pack ice, and dancing penguins. This is a story of challenges met and overcome: from the crossing of a frozen continent; to the development of a new species; to the production of an over-the-top musical tribute to the luckless explorer Ernest Shackleton. Who in 1915, although becoming trapped in the ice with his crew and enduring great difficulties, their will to survive triumphed and not one member of his team died.

The cast includes Carl Guthrie, Alexandra Russo, Rob Faubion, Cassidy Schiltz, Lucy Miller-Downing and Christian Huey. The band is Jonathan Hoyle, Chris La Cava, Michael Walters and John Cecil. The vocal ensemble includes Shannon McDermott, Matt Melton, Laura Burgess, Kerri Atwood, and Doug Rensi. Choreographers Kirsche Dickson and Yelena Konetchy. The dancers include Laura Bond Williams, Sydnee Houlette , Payton Jones, and Alma Zavala.

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Blog by Lucas