There aren’t many places where four Eastern alumni all work together, except for maybe Eastern itself. I am sure that many of you have never heard of Harriton High, but this high school currently has four Eastern alumni working on their spring production of “Pippin”. Eastern graduate and current graduate student, Robb Reiner is currently the director of the production. Olesia Gordinskaya (’14) is the music director of this production and she teaches classes at Harriton. Jake Miller (’99) has known Reiner for years and is now choreographing for this production. Andrew Whitehead (’14) is the set designer for this show and this is his third time designing a production, but his first time not designing at Eastern. These two generations of Eastern students have been collaborating for a few months to be able to put on this production.
While the knowledge from these Eastern alumni is essential for the students at Harriton, in order for the students to be able to be eligible to win the Cappie 80 percent of the work done on a production must be done by the students. They are not competing in the competition this year, but they are working alongside the Eastern alumni, learning from them in order to be able to do more of the work independently next year when they will hopefully compete in the Cappies.
Whitehead mentioned that he has thoroughly enjoyed working with the students at Harriton because they really want to learn about all the elements of theatre and they are willing to do their own research. As the set designer, Whitehead has been working closely with the behind-the-scenes kids, teaching them the things he has learned while heavily involved in Eastern’s theatre department. Even though Eastern does not have a theatre major, the students that are involved in theatre are able to experience every facet of it. This gives them a wider range of knowledge, as opposed to someone who may have gone to a school with a larger theatre program who only knows about one element.
Harriton High has a very large budget for their productions and they have an excellent space to make theatre in. The sky is the limit for their productions, and they are taking “Pippin” to a new level. They have decided to set “Pippin” on a television set, complete with working green screens.
With only a few weeks left until the production goes up, the cast and crew are currently in crunch mode. The set is being built, the lines are being memorized and the dances are being learned. The only thing left to do is put it all together. The show opens on April 23, so be sure to go see “Pippin” for a performance you won’t forget.