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Mustang Theatre productions are back

The Mustang Theatre cast of “Space Princess Wars.” (courtesy photo)

Mustang Theatre productions are back

By Kaila Mellos

Thurgood Marshall Middle School’s Mustang Theatre productions are back with a new semester of plays lined up. First, they are putting on a two-act comedy of “Space Princess Wars,” a parody of “Star Wars” and “The Princess Bride.”

“This one is written by a playwright who we’ve done a lot of his shows,” said Jeff Russell, theatre director and teacher at Marshall Middle School. “His name is Don Zolidis, and we’ve done probably eight of his shows up to this point.”

A few starring students in this two-act comedy are Alessandra Fritz, Kamryn Koehler, Anna Sorokoumov and Matthew Tung.

Since COVID is still preventing some activities, the Mustang Theatre has found a way to keep the show going.

“It’s not simple at all. It’s a lot to keep the productions going because all the infrastructure things that we kind of take for granted being in the theatre, we have to move all of it outside,” Russell said. 

With productions being outside, it takes each show up to two hours just to set everything up to be prepared.

Luckily, with the help of fundraising, the program was able to buy lighting and microphones for outdoor use that helped bring the productions alive.

“With our fundraising this year, we bought $5,000 in lighting that we could set up outside. We also have to do microphones on the actors and actresses because, with the outdoor shows, the sound is not enclosed like it is in the theatre,” Russell said. “I also did buy some new audio equipment. I got new boundary microphones instead of wireless microphones, which are microphones that go on the ground and pick up the actor’s voices from there.”

After this upcoming production of “Space Princess Wars,” Mustang Theatre has two more shows. One is “Into the Woods, Jr.,” which finishes auditions this month. The other is another multiple-act show focused on student lives.

Even without it being the same as before, Russell is happy that he can help bring the students back into the heart of the show live.

“I think the biggest takeaway that I have had is that the students, the families and everybody else wanted an in-person show where the actors could be in the same place,” Russell said. “Even though it’s a monumental amount of work and we are all going to be cold at a 6 p.m. show outside, I think everybody, for the most part, is happy that we went this direction as opposed to trying to record it.”

“Space Princess Wars” began performances Jan. 25 and will continue through Jan. 28.

To support the Mustang Theatre and its upcoming shows, visit tix.com/ticket-sales/marshallmiddle/6738 to buy tickets.

Props for the Mustang Theatre production of “Space Princess Wars.” (courtesy photo)