According to Oxford Languages, fidelity is defined as faithfulness to a person, cause or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support. The rock musical “High Fidelity” is soon to debut at the Las Positas Mertes Arts Center, with a cast and theater team brimming with fidelity for this project. From actors, stage crew and directors, each person has an essential role. Here’s a VIP-access look at what goes into the making of this Las Positas musical.
The director, Dyan McBride, is a theater arts professor at LPC and has worked as an actor or director at companies such as 42nd St. Moon, Sierra Repertory Theatre and Bay Area Musicals. Her work spans from film, tv, voice-over, print and web. She can be seen in the short film “Generations” and the rock documentary “Springsteen and I.” More of her work can be viewed on her IMDB.
An avid Springsteen fan, she is very excited to adapt the film and novel “High Fidelity” into a Las Positas College musical.
McBride describes how she transferred the source material.
“The script is adapted from the book and film by the brilliant David Lindsay-Abaire, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “Rabbit Hole.” The composer is Tom Kitt, who wrote “Next to Normal.” The lyricist is Amanda Greene, granddaughter of legendary Broadway lyricist Adolf Greene and a brilliant writer in her own right. They are a team of superstars. It’s a great script, with the most fabulous opening number of the early 21st century in my opinion! They had to open moments up and turn them into songs because it’s a rock musical! So audiences who are familiar with the book and film will see moments they know, but they will also be treated to some new stuff.”
McBride describes a day of directing as long, fun and organized. “I feel lucky to be part of a great team. I have wonderful student stage managers. We are surrounded by professional staff to teach Las Positas students in all departments. This is my 22nd show with our choreographer, Staci Arraiga, so there’s an easy shorthand there,” said McBride.
Many hours go into this process. “I’m generally at the theatre from about 6-11. During tech, I’m there until midnight working on notes with the stage managers and team. I also have to do meetings with the whole team and all my staging at home. It’s a pretty involved gig,” said McBride.
The stage manager, Anthony Lopez describes his role and how collaboration has evolved from the time of auditions to now.
“At the time of audition I get everyone’s contact information and then, if/when they are called back, they will be notified by me that they’re being called back for and what to prepare and I give them all materials needed…We also have our production meeting with all of our designers. This includes all of the people who are in charge of the look and sound of the show. These meetings happen every two weeks, where we get everyone in the same room so that all departments can ask each other or the director questions, that way everyone can keep the director’s vision.”
“For this show, our crew is busy building the set in the weeks leading up to productions and we communicate with the crew through our technical director, whose job is to oversee the building of the set and all the other technical aspects…Once we get into the theater, I am making sure that the actors know what is happening and the crew is working with them. That way all aspects of the show are working with each other to tell the story and the director can take acting notes to help the actors tell the story.”
The making of the play’s most intricate set, the record store, dates back to December. Over time, the stage crew built racks and added records, stickers, flyers and CDs, making it feel like it came straight from the 90s, when the show takes place.
“So much thought goes into this process plus it’s a lot of fun to have cast come in and help out stickers on our set and make it feel like this is a real record store that you could walk into and buy a record at,” said Lopez.
The cast took extensive steps to prepare for their roles. Darrien Cabreana, who plays the lead man Rob, prepared for his role by attempting to gain more stamina in his body and voice to take on a big challenge. “I also read the book, watched the movie and the Hulu series to get an idea of some different interpretations. Then I spent a lot of time with my script thinking about the character and who he was, so I could relate to him,” said Cabreana, before admitting the difficulties of his new role.
“This role is different for me because there is a lot more pressure on me to carry the weight, since I am in so many scenes. I have to make sure I am keeping my energy up, so the rest of the cast can feed off of my energy and positive attitude.”
Liva Langer, who plays Marie, the indie singer who recently got dumped by Lyle Lovett, says “the most difficult parts about playing her has been channeling total confidence and charisma while still being aloof and cool. Despite that, it’s been so fun to play her.”
Actors need to be on set for at least four hours during rehearsals, even for the ensemble. “I’m not called in every scene, but the scenes I am called in, I would go at 6:30 and we’d leave at 10, or sometimes a little bit before that,” said Sangavi Suresh, an ensemble cast member.
LPC acting classes have helped assist the cast in their roles. “Some of the most impactful ones I’ve taken are Acting 1A and Fundamentals of Sstage Sspeech with Titian Lish, Acting 1Bb with Miriam Ani, Iimprov with Wendy Wisely, and lastly, Mmusical Theater theatre with Dyan McBride, which I have taken all three levels of. I can’t express enough how much I’ve improved under these professors,.” said Cabreana.
“Being a student in the Actors Conservatory at Las Positas, the training I’ve received through my professors has a direct input on my ability to tackle this role. I definitely owe it to my education,” adds Langeriva.
Anthony Lopez expressed his feelings,
“I would like to thank the theater team for helping to keep the theater alive. I would also say great job to everyone in the theater department for making this a rocking show that still has the tenderness to move people.”
Dyan Mcbride has a final inspiring message for her team and potential audiences,
“I am totally confident that we will have one of the best shows Las Po has ever done and we will have a little hit here in the Tri-Valley. I would just like to thank this entire cast, crew and team for all of their hours and time. I cannot wait to rock the socks off of everyone who comes to see us!”
Lizzy Rager is a copy-editor for the Express.