Into the Woods With the 2019 Pit Orchestra


Griffin Crafa, Contributor

With the Northport High School Powdered Wigs production of Into the Woods on stage now, hundreds of NHS students were under stress and pressure during this past tech week. Rehearsals started right after school and ended any time between 8 and 10 pm, depending on the group (Cast, Tech, Pit Orchestra, etc.). All of the groups involved in putting on the show worked incredibly hard, and for many, this final tech week wasn’t the first of late nights for this play. In fact, the week before break, Powdered Wigs members were at school until 6 or 7, and certain cast and crew members came in during their week off to rehearse.

A fundamental part of the musical, the pit orchestra is in my opinion an under-recognized group whose members have been working extremely hard for almost as long as the cast has (the pit started rehearsing in early January, a few weeks after the cast did). The orchestra is under the direction of Mrs. Cromeyn and features all four string instruments, the majority of the winds and brass, a piano, and a synthesizer for sound effects (for example, in one scene, a man falling from a tower). Throughout most of January and early February, the pit rehearsed Mondays and Fridays from 3:30-5:30 in the band room, going over the music with a general overview, fixing rhythms, articulations, dynamics, and the like. Occasionally, cast members would come to these rehearsals to practice syncing their lyrics and dialogue with the pit’s songs and underscores. In Into the Woods, much of the music is repeated underneath the character’s dialogue, and all of it is “initiated” by a certain character’s lines. This can be a very difficult task for young musicians, but because of the early practice, the group started off ahead of the game. In mid-February, the pit entered the pit, starting the beginning of the run-throughs and dress rehearsals. Despite the earlier practice, many things still needed to be fixed during these rehearsals, however, all the students involved in Powdered Wigs were up for the challenge.

Although the final weeks leading up to opening night can be very stressful for students, the feeling of pride and accomplishment after the show are felt by everyone. Having family, friends, and teachers come up to the young artists and compliment them on a truly amazing job makes all the prep and effort worth it. Nothing sums up this feeling better than the annual “Pit Party,” an informal gathering of the pit orchestra members at a senior’s house on Friday evening, just before the opening performance. The party is nothing big, but the happiness and smiles shared there spark a sense of determination and inspiration in the musicians, who go off to the show feeling like they are going to nail it. And, as seen each year, they truly do.