Photos of the Production Process
Note: Because of requirements imposed by Actors Equity (the union of actors), at the end of the run, CATCO had to delete the photos on this page that included actors. We have kept the narrative of the production process and the cutlines of the deleted photos.
For any production, lots of work takes place before the first rehearsal: The set designer and costume designer have met with the director (and in this case, the playwright) numerous times; the Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager have prepared the rehearsal space; the props master has made a list and gathered some “rehearsal props”; the actors have done research on their characters and the play’s context, utilizing materials gathered by the dramaturg and themselves.
Stage Manager Deb Singer (R) sets down the rules, while Production Manager TJ Gerckens (L) and Actor Jonathan Putnam (C) pay close attention.
Playwright Herb Brown and Director Geoff Nelson.
Set Designer Dan Gray and model of the YOU’RE MY BOY set.
Costume Designer Cynthia Turnbull presents the costume renderings for the entire show.
While the script for YOU’RE MY BOY had been in development for five years, there was still some work to be done before the first preview. The script was too long, some of the intentions within scenes needed clarification, there were some continuity issues, and word-choice decisions had to be made. Geoff Nelson took the lead in the collaborative effort to rewrite the script. Herb Brown took in all of the suggestions, remained focused on his intent to make this a psychological play, and returned the next day with revisions.
Actors Steven Black (
Herb Brown, Geoff Nelson, and Deb Singer
Blocking … and Script Work
CATCO rehearsals take place in the Riffe Center Studio III. Stage Manager Deb Singer and her Assistant Stage Manager (at first, Cheryl Ruschau, then Angela Jasper) taped the floor in the configuration of the stage, the raised portion of the deck, and the turntable.
Before the script was “locked down,” the director and actors had to begin “blocking” scenes (deciding where the various actions would take place on the set). Sight lines with the audience are always an issue. The panels were substitutes for the actual set panels, which will be much larger.
As the director and actors worked on blocking, interesting issues in the script emerged and playwright Herb Brown was making changes on a daily basis. Indeed, the actors took ownership of their characters and offered insightful suggestions to Brown on what they believed their characters would have said. Despite the many voices, Brown kept focused on his original vision.
Meanwhile, Stage Manager Deb Singer kept note in the master script of the blocking decisions and script changes. Working with Herb Brown, she was able to have new versions of the script ready before each rehearsal.
Actors Jonathan Putnam (Nixon) and Jon Farris (Dewey)
Herb Brown (L), Geoff Nelson (behind Brown), Deb Singer (behind Nelson), and actors Mark Mann, Jon Farris, and Steven Black
Props Master Marisa Keith and Actor Marianne Timmons (Pat Nixon)
(L-R) Actors Jon Farris, Jonathan Putnam, Marianne Timmons; playwrite Herb Brown, Director Geoff Nelson, Stage Manager Deb Singer
You’re My Boy presented challenges to those responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the costumes.
A total of 37 suits and 24 pairs of shoes were selected; when shirts, ties, etc. are included, the Costume Shop was responsible for 369 costume pieces. One entire dress was constructed from a vintage pattern, and at least 30 pairs of pants and 10 suit jacket sleeves had to be hemmed.
Nixon (Jon Putnam) had 104 costume pieces; Eisenhower (Chuck Gillespie) and Chotiner (Mark Mann), 59 each; Dewey (Jon Farris), 56; Adams (Steven Black), 31; and Pat Nixon (Marianne Timmons), 60.
Costume Fellow Anna Grywalksi (L) and Costume Studio Supervisor Tatjana Longerot.
With so many costumes to keep in good shape, it helps to have a sense of humor!
This is the first time the playwright, director, and actors view the actual costumes. Some changes were made (Chotiner and Dewey exchanged overcoats; Eisenhower and Nixon exchanged coats; different colored ties were ordered), but generally the dress parade went off very well.
Cynthia Turnbull and actor Steven Black (
Actors Chuck Gillespie (Eisenhower), Jonathan Putnam (Nixon), and Steven Black (Adams)
Actors Steven Black, Chuck Gillespie, Jon Farris, Jonathan Putnam
CATCO Costume Studio Manager Tatjana Longerot adjusts Chotiner’s (actor Mark Mann) hat, as
Dewey (actor Jon Farris) looks on.
Actress Marianne Timmons (Pat Nixon)
In part because of the numerous scenes (9 in Act I, 8 in Act II) and in part because of the length of the play, the playwright and director decided to employ a turntable on the set, which would allow for quick scene changes.
Scenic Contractor Chris Clapp in the early stages of constructing the deck and turntable.
Playwright Herb Brown inspecting Chris Clapp’s work.
Progress is being made.
Rehearsal on stage. (L-R) Director Geoff Nelson, Actors Jon Farris, Chuck Gillespie, and Steven Black
“Tech Week” is when all of the elements begin to come together into a coherent production. Lighting and sound designers join the team as the Stage Manager directs the actors and back stage crew through the show, scene-by-scene. A “dry-tech” has taken place where the director, stage manager, and lighting and sound designers go through each scene to set “cues” to begin each lighting and sound effect. Invariably, some of these cues are always changed or deleted during Tech, as the director discovers something new he wants to try or something everyone thought would work does not.
Preparing for tech. Stage Manager Deb Singer stands behind the temporary “booth,” which has the light board computer. The temporary sound board is to Deb’s right. When tech begins, Deb will move up to the top of the theatre so that she can have a view similar to what she will have while calling the show from the booth.
On stage, Assistant Stage Manager Angela Jasper confers with actor Jonathan Putnam. In the audience, (L-R) is actor Marianne Timmons, Director Geoff Nelson, Playwright Herb Brown, and actor Chuck Gillespie, who is retrieving the latest script change.
Backstage crew presets props before rehearsal. (L to R) Christine Vaughn, Keely Curtis, and ASM Angie Jasper.
Tech Notes after first Dress Rehearsal (L to R) Dave Wallingford [sound], Herb Brown, Cynthia Turnbull and Tatjana Longerot [costumes], Keya Myers-Alkire [light board operator/sound technician], TJ Gerckens [Slide Guru], Rob Johnson [lights], Geoff Nelson, Marisa Keith [props], and Deb Singer [stage manager].
After each rehearsal/run-through of the show, the director “gives notes” (discusses what went right and what went wrong, what could be better) with both the technical crew and the actors. “Notes” usually end after the opening night performance.