Question is: Are you ready for us?

A behind-the-scenes look from a Footloose, the Musical cast member

Are we ever ready for others to see our work? To have our efforts critiqued by the newspapers and the people attending the nightly performances? Is there ever a way to mentally prepare yourself for that?

The pieces are coming together, slowly at first, but progressively it needs fewer takes to get it all right. More than once it gets done right the first time, and isn't that a thrill? Set pieces slide and fly into place guided by the sure and steady hand of the crew members, clad solely in black, who move with such purpose and direction that it is to be envied.

Lights and props get added with almost each passing moment. Occasionally it phases the cast, but bright flashing lights tend to do that the first time through. The building sense of excitement sends the crowd of kids into titters. They can't wait to try out the new addition to the opening number; it's simply going to be a blast.

Or maybe it isn't the lights, or the colors, or the newness of a prop, or set pieces dropping from above. Maybe it's the growing sense of wonder. The feeling that comes with watching the otherwise unseen technical aspects meld with all the movement and characters on stage. It gets more and more real by the second.

It's a great blessing for a cast to work with such dedicated and knowledgable technicians. Greg Scheer leads the crew and Mary Dew has dropped out of sight to call the cues from her lighted stand, hidden off stage right. Both stand guard over the scene changes like strict but benevolent masters, whispering quiet reminders into radios. However, they lead a crew that walks and moves with assuring confidence, experience and with a good sense of humor. Tiny malfunctions in the moving set pieces get a quick and permanent fix after only a moment's study, and it's smooth sailing after.

It's a giant puzzle, figuring out which pieces go where and when and how best to manage the limited space behind the curtains. The newest addition to the run of the show is the uplifting presence of the orchestra, adding energy and a more complete tone to the music. The rock beats get more defined and bring the dances and songs to life, moving the dancers through the numbers. Everyone polishes. The company runs the scenes, and runs, then run again, just to make sure everything is getting better and better.

Every day as we exhaust ourselves going through number after number, preparing for opening night this Friday. It's close. We're getting ready for everyone that walks into the auditorium, be it critic, family or complete stranger. It doesn't matter. The doors open at 7 p.m. September 17, the show at 7:30 p.m.

Question is: Are you ready for us?

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