The Keene State Theater and Dance Department is in the final stages of its upcoming production of “Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn.”
The cast will enter into the final week of production this week, with the set being moved into the Wright Theatre on Sept. 22 and 23.
“Make Me a Song” is a revue-style musical set to the music of William Finn. Finn is a composer most famous for musicals such as “Falsettos” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The show is set in New York City, at Grand Central Station. “I wanted to create a world where these humans that sing the songs would come together for a reason,” said Director Kirstin O’Brien. “[Grand Central Station is] a meeting place, people make decisions, they travel, you’re coming from somewhere and/ or you’re going to somewhere.”
The production has been working under a condensed schedule, with auditions being held the first week of classes and rehearsals starting the weekend of Sept. 1 and running all throughout September.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve directed this first slot, and it’s a very very very quick process… it’s literally been a whirlwind, and it’s been exciting and collaborative,” O’Brien said. “I just hope that all of us in the process get to slow down a little bit and make sure the process doesn’t pass us by, because it will be over before we know it.”
Senior and Stage Manager Korbin Rasmus said, “Usually shows are 5-6 weeks, [and] this one’s about four weeks, so it’s just a lot shorter, so it makes it a little more of a time restraint for everything.”
“All of the actors have been putting hours of work into making the characters their own,” Rasmus added.
O’Brien said that her favorite part of the process has been, “Working with the actors and really creating their stories from the ground up…really creating these stories that are personal to them.”
Senior Lydia Wright said that one of her favorite parts of the process was blocking. “Kirstin lets us have that creative side to it, if she’s not telling us exactly where to go, it’s just the freedom of, ‘Go where you think you need to go and I’ll tell you if I like it,’” Wright said.
Wright advises audiences to pay close attention to the stories and characters of the show.
“Our stories are never told, we don’t tell what our characters are going through. We tell it through William Finn’s music that was not written for our stories,” she said. “I think just paying close attention to what each actor is doing and kind of discovering how they all connect to each other, but how they all are also their own humans, but at the end of the show we all come back as one.”
“Make Me a Song” will run from Oct. 4 to 7 at the Redfern Arts Center Wright Theatre. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Emily Sloane can be contacted at