The Pit and Crew of The Wizard of Oz


The pit orchestra and stage crew have as big as a job in a musical production as the cast of a production and their talent and hard work is entangled throughout the show, from the set designs to the crescendos of the music. The audience would not have the same experience at a production without the pit and crew’s hard work.

The orchestra has such a huge responsibility and part in a production and without them, the audience wouldn’t be able to have that live sound experience that brings the show to life.

No doubt, the orchestra has the same work ethic as the cast; the orchestra practiced about two days a week with each practice lasting about three hours with limited breaks. “The hardest part of orchestra is definitely trying to coordinate with the singers as opposed to other instrumentalists. But I love being able to play with and learn from professional musicians.” said junior Jason Geiger, a percussion player.

The music for The Wizard of Oz score is more difficult with its fast paced rhythms and quick key changes. Senior Hannah Shriver says “Jitterbug” is definitely one of the most difficult songs in the show, because the pit has to blend with not only the dancers, but their own music as well.

Plus this year’s student to professional musicians ratio is bigger than in the past. The pit has 11 student players and 10 professionals this year. It’s great to see so many students wanting to be involved and are using their talents for the music department.

The amount of hype for the musical is not only for the singing and acting, but for the special effects. Working with just lights and sound is difficult and for the first time ever, flying is being introduced to the Greater Latrobe High School stage. Despite the worries of the dangers of flying, it turned out to be quite safe for the flyers; there were secure fastenings and harnesses for each person and each person had to undergo flying lessons, to ensure no accidents would happen.

Senior Justin Bohon says that since the show has such high standards, there was huge pressure to make everything perfect. And the stage crew not only has to deal with behind the scenes work, but they’ve learned many stage terms to better their ability to work with the directors and how the internal process of theater works, like the rigging, stage lighting, and sound. The stage crew also constructs numerous set pieces, such as the “yellow brick road” for the musical. Without them and their hard work, the musical would be always be missing that special feeling of being immersed in the emerald green city of Oz.

Despite having to learn how to work new equipment this year, Bohon, who has been involved in stage crew since seventh grade and has worked in several Greater Latrobe productions, learned much over the years. Bohon said, “The best thing I’ve learned over the past five years in crew is to truly dedicate yourself and turn your passion into pride. And when tech week and the show performances take place, you can look back and see what an amazing job you and your crew have created and put together.”

The pit orchestra and stage crew work undoubtedly as hard as the cast for the success of a production, and they are often overlooked for their brilliant work. Without them, a huge aspect of the production would be lost.