The Man In The Limelight

Derek+Copenhaver%2C+director+of+Skutt+Catholic%27s+fall+musical%2C+poses+in+front+of+the+show%27s+set.
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The Man In The Limelight

Derek Copenhaver, director of Skutt Catholic's fall musical, poses in front of the show's set.

Derek Copenhaver, director of Skutt Catholic's fall musical, poses in front of the show's set.

Photo by Tom Hermanek

Derek Copenhaver, director of Skutt Catholic's fall musical, poses in front of the show's set.

Photo by Tom Hermanek

Photo by Tom Hermanek

Derek Copenhaver, director of Skutt Catholic's fall musical, poses in front of the show's set.

Tom Hermanek, Copy Editor

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This week, I sat down with Derek Copenhaver, a 2011 Skutt Catholic alumnus and director of Skutt Catholic’s fall production, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” We discussed a number of topics varying from his goals for the production to his definition of success.

 

Tell me a little about your background.

“I went to Doane College in Crete and graduated after four years with a bachelor’s in art with a focus on stage management and technical theater. Since then, I’ve been living in Lincoln and working as a freelance theater artist as my day job, and working the overnight shift in a metal plant, which throws my sleep schedule out of whack.”

 

What draws you to drama?

“From the beginning, I’ve always found it to be exciting. It opens up your eyes and your horizons. It’s always interesting [to meet people who work in theater] because they are so used to pretending to be someone else that their personalities are all over the place. There’s never a dull moment working in theater.”

 

What is your motto?

“Make it work. Whatever life throws at you, find a way to make it work for you.”

 

What celebrity do you look like?

“I don’t remember his name, but I have been told like some Korean pop star. People have showed me pictures of him and I didn’t see it. The only resemblance was that we are both bald and have beards.”

 

Why did you want to be the director of Skutt Catholic’s fall play?

“Honestly, it’s because Mr. Schnitzler asked me to. He called me over the summer and asked [if I was interested] in directing the show. I said, ‘If you think I’m good enough to follow in our footsteps, then yeah, I’ll do it.’

It’s really exciting to be able to come back here. It’s been long enough since I graduated that I don’t really know anyone anymore, so it’s exciting to come back here and see all the new talent. It’s been really enjoyable seeing all of these new faces.”

 

Why did you choose The Drowsy Chaperone?

“Honestly, it wasn’t my first choice. My first choice was Pippen but after talking with Mr. Storm, we decided that we didn’t have the right voice parts to do that show. That left me thinking of other musicals that we could do here, and I remembered that Doane College had done The Drowsy Chaperone a few years back, and I thought, ‘That was a good show.’

It’s a compact show, it’s only about 90 minutes long. It’s got around 22 songs in it, but it moves along quickly.

I thought, ‘It’s perfect.’ It’s got some nice 1920s style jazz, and I don’t think a show like this has been done here in quite some time.”

 

So what’s the show about?

“This version of the show opens with a character known as ‘the man in chair’ [played by Cal Strawhecker]. That’s all he’s ever known as; we never hear his name. He explains to the audience that he’s feeling a little anxious, a little blue, and when’s he’s feeling that way he likes to listen to music, specifically, musicals. And so he says, ‘This is my very favorite musical, and I want to play it for you. Would you allow me?’ And without waiting for the audience to answer, he plows right through, and puts it on.

[The man in chair] does a director’s commentary throughout the show; stopping it, introducing the various characters.

The story of the musical begins with a wedding, which by the end of act one, has been called off. In act two, that wedding is put back together, and in addition to that, there are three other weddings that are thrown in.”

 

What are your hopes for the play?

“My goal for the show is for them [the students] to learn something.”

 

How do you define success?

“I define success as making a choice you won’t regret.”

 

I suppose that’s what you hope for with this play?

“Yes.”

Tom Hermanek - Managing Editor

Tom became a member of The Flightline in January of 2015. He is a senior who is involved in mock trial and swimming. Off campus, Tom spends his time with friends or working at Starbucks. You can email him at [email protected]