Just as the sold out Sherman Community Player’s production of “The Music Man” ends, Theatricks is putting the final touches on its spring show, “Cheaper By the Dozen.” The play that opens on Friday at the Honey McGee Playhouse in Sherman will feature first time director Jake Williams.
The opportunity to take on the show came to the 16-year-old from Howe after he received a master thespian award from the theater and earned the opportunity only allotted to individuals who have completed a certain number of supporting cast roles for Theatricks.
“It is primarily learning to work in different aspects of the theater like lighting, costuming, sets, advertising and by achieving and doing at least eight of the 10 things we have listed, they earn points,” Theatricks Technical Director Webster Crocker said Thursday. “Once they hit 50 points, they become a master thespian.”
Alongside Jake will be Faith Horsley and Rachel Stephens acting as assistant stage managers for this show.
“The most exciting part was this past week when it all started to come together,” Jake said Thursday. “I have really enjoyed blocking it and getting to see where all the actors have been taking it. It has been really enjoyable over the last week seeing where this is all going.”
Jake has been working with Theatricks for two years, and this is the first time he has ever directed a play.
“There are a few things that I have learned through this process that I had not dealt with before,” he said of how this role is different from the other supporting cast duties. “Definitely during auditions knowing what to look for and how to cast a show. There were the things to really watch for in the actors and how to keep track of everyone when you have 35, I think it was, people at the audition. It can be hard to keep track of everyone. I also had to learn that when you are blocking a show, you have to really figure out how to keep it interesting and how balanced the stage looks. You want to use all of that space. That is another thing I had to work on as well.”
Many may remember Jake from Theatricks’ 2017 presentation of “The Wizard of Oz.” In that show, Jake was one of 40 young thespians cast for the show. He played the scare crow.
“It was really fun,” Jake said. “Directing is a different experience. I am not really sure which one I prefer more. They are definitely very different.”
“Cheaper by the Dozen” is set in the 1920s in the Gilbreth home in Montclair, New Jersey. As a family of 14, the Gilbreth parents use their children to test out their hypothesis on the boundaries of efficiency.
“I am very proud of how much they have been getting into their characters on stage,” Jake said. “They have really been thinking about the things that their characters might be doing on stage and everybody on stage is very energetic and doing a great job. I am very proud of their characterization.”
Theatricks Technical Director and SCP Administrator Webster Crocker will be taking on the role of the father of 12 in the Christopher Sergel play. The play was originally written as a book by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
“I had a general idea of the characters list and the script, the ages of everyone and stuff like that,” Jake said on how he cast the show. “For a lot of it, I did not know exactly what I wanted until I saw people audition and see what spin they put on the character. I used that to cast it. It definitely took the call back auditions to figure everything out. It was hard.”
The other 15 characters are Pamela Graham playing Mrs. Gilbreth, Emalinn Lehner as Anne, Bekah Davis as Ernestine, Emie Shaw as Martha, Brody Martin as Frank, Nicholas Williams as Bill, Agnes Gunnels as Lillian, Zachery Smith as Fred, Trent Schwartz as Dan, Rachel Martin as Jackie, Cory Martin as Mrs. Fitzgerald, Logan Shurtleff as Miss Brill, Allen Shaw as Dr. Burton, Joshua Williams as Larry and Schafer Sprinkle played by Joe Scales.
“Really, they all know how the theater works and how the casting process works,” Jake said. “I did not have much trouble with anything. They understood that not everyone would get cast because they all have done this before. They were all very supportive and understanding. I also had a stage manager to help me out a little bit, so I did not have too much trouble being unbiased.”
“Cheaper by the Dozen” will show at 7 p.m. Friday and March 8 and at 2 p.m. March 2-3 and March 9-10.
“I am excited to see everything finally completely together, and I would like the audience to see how well the actors are doing in their characters,” Jake said.
Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 903-893-8818, by visiting the playhouse at 313 W. Mulberry Street in Sherman, or at http://www.Theatricks.org. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students.