No show really starts on opening night. It takes weeks of planning to make sure that when the lights come up, the show can go on. Behind every production is the five-person slate of the Stuyvesant Theater Community (STC), which includes the Administrative, Communications, Studio, Productions, and Tech Coordinators. These five juniors are the primary decision-makers in their respective departments, but coordinate their efforts with each other and with those of the STC as a whole to create a production worth watching.
Communications Coordinator: Ivy Wanta
Having acted semi-professionally for Nickelodeon, off-Broadway plays, and various other companies, junior Ivy Wanta was a theater veteran when she first entered the Stuyvesant Theater Community (STC). Since joining the STC in her freshman year, Wanta has directed the 2011 spring comedy, “Cul de Sac,” and the 2011 fall drama “With Their Eyes.” She was also part of the cast in various other productions and co-wrote this year’s junior SING! script. She even plans to continue to work in theater after high school by double majoring in theater and physics in college.
“STC is one of the driving forces at Stuy, it’s my motivation,” Wanta said. She decided to join the STC so that she could continue to be involved in the theatrical community, as well as in the highly academic environment of Stuyvesant. With her new position, she hopes to help the STC reach out to more of the student body. “I’m so grateful to be involved in something I’m so passionate about. The fact that it allows you to be open with everyone is something you rarely find in a school like ours,” Wanta said.
Wanta’s new responsibilities include handling public relations for the organization, regulating the board and Facebook group, and advertising STC events. Next year she hopes to hold a fundraiser to get people who are usually not a part of the STC involved in the theater community. She also plans to hold more STC events aside from their plays, including a showing of past productions or films that coincide with a current production. She will continue to advertise the STC by putting up posters and making announcements about productions over the loudspeaker. “My biggest hope is for people who aren’t in the thick of the STC community to be able to find out more about shows and why they should get involved, too,” she said.
Studio Coordinator: Lucy Woychuk-Mlinac
The job of Studio Coordinator entails organizing productions for the studio, or black-box, theater. The studio theater is home to Stuyvesant’s smaller productions and provides a comfortable environment for people who are intimidated by a large audience. However, due to overwhelming budget cuts and organizational problems, several studio shows, including one-act performances, have been cut recently. As the new Studio Coordinator, junior Lucy Woychuk-Mlinac’s primary goal is to bring back one-acts and other studio productions.
Having been involved in10 productions in three years, Woychuk-Mlinac has found her niche at the STC. She was influenced by her sister, who also went to Stuyvesant, to first join the STC. “When I came here, I didn’t know what to do, I was overwhelmed. [STC] is something that makes me feel so comfortable. Now with budget cuts, I want to make sure STC stays alive,” she said. However, because of space and time constraints, it is easy for disorder to ensue for any studio production. Woychuk-Mlinac hopes to “enforce why we need [studio shows] and organize them so it’s not a hassle to do it, but an enjoyment,” she said. This will include lobbying with the Stuyvesant administration to bring these shows, especially one-acts, back. If the shows cannot be brought back, she hopes to collaborate with other theaters so that Stuyvesant can continue to create the shows that were cut.
Administrative Coordinator: Emmalina Glinskis
To junior Emmalina Glinskis, STC has provided a haven outside of academics in school. “It’s important to have a creative outlet, especially here where math and science are stressed,” she said. Now, as the Administrative Coordinator, Glinskis will have the opportunity to be an even greater part of STC, in addition to the five productions she’s already been a part of since her freshman year. The job requires her to manage the other coordinators of the slate and the members of STC. She will also handle the finances of the organization by allotting budgets to different heads and by keeping track of reimbursements.
“I am an organized person, and it’s important to make sure everyone is organized because it’s so easy for STC to become relaxed,” Glinskis said about her new position. Her most daunting challenge this year is the crippling budget cut and its effects on the studio shows. “Our biggest mission as a team we want to embark on is bringing [studio shows] back. It was disorganized in past year, but we want to show the admin that we can run it and be a model for later years,” she said.
Glinskis also wants to see more student involvement in future STC productions, “We want to be open, but we feel that a lot of people don’t know about STC. We try to get people who haven’t done theater. We want to get people who are scared to join it, but still want to do it.” Glinksis wants a more solid union between the different departments in STC, such as costumes, lighting, and technology, so that the organization is more welcoming to the students who may feel intimidated by the tightly knit community.
Productions Coordinator : Eliza Mitnick
When Eliza Mitnick auditioned for the STC musical “The Pajama Game” in the fall of her freshman year, it was far from her first theatric experience. In fact, she has been acting since elementary school, in improvisational groups, summer programs, and school plays. However, the experience was still tremendously meaningful to her, as it gave her the opportunity to make friends in a new school, most of whom she is still close to.
Since then, she has acted in four other STC productions, including “Tommy” and “All My Sons,” and has directed the STC production of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Even though it was her first directing experience, leading the production “really made me feel like I would like to take on a bigger role,” she said.
As Productions Coordinator, Mitnick will have the involvement she asked for: she will be in charge of overseeing all three of the STC’s main stage productions and mentoring new directors. She will also be involved in selecting the shows and advertising them to the student body.
Mitnick chose to apply for the position because “I know what works and what doesn’t work on stage,” she said. However, her goals as productions coordinator extend beyond what happens on opening night. She also aims to help the STC reach as many students as possible.
“I want to get more kids involved,” Mitnick said, citing the fact that most STC casts are composed mainly of veteran STC actors and newcomers are relatively rare. To fix this, Mitnick plans to make the STC “more appealing to students” by stepping up the advertising and “picking shows kids love,” she said.
While Mitnick will be taking more of a leadership and overseeing role in the STC, she still intends to act in STC productions. “Even though I’ve moved up, I still really love being in the shows,” Mitnick said, her face illuminating at the thought of being under the stage lights.
Tech Coordinator: Russel Skinner
It is highly unusual for an STC slate member to have no prior STC experience. However, while Russel Skinner has never been directly involved in an STC production, he is anything but unprepared to take on the role of Tech Coordinator. Skinner has been working on the light and sound crew for SING! since his freshman year and acted as the light and sound director for Soph-Frosh SING! in his junior year.
Skinner’s first experience with the technical aspects of theater came as a result of his acting endeavors. From first through seventh grade, he acted in school plays and for the City Lights Youth Theater. In eighth grade, he became more interested in what went on behind the scenes than what happened in front of them.
By the time he entered high school, Skinner was “fed up with dealing with directors and not being able to make creative decisions.” As Tech Coordinator, Skinner looks forward to leading the creative discussions behind the set, sound, and lighting decisions. However, he doesn’t want to assume complete control.
“I won’t be calling all the shots,” Skinner said. “Others will still have a lot of input.”
While the productions for next year have not been declared, Skinner is not short of ideas. “We’ve been thinking about putting on “Seussical” [a musical version of Dr. Seuss stories],” he said. “Ideas vary. But when I get into a show, I get a flood of ideas, and I try to make those shows as awesome as they can be.”