An Inside Look at a Double Show Day

By Lizzy Andretta

In my three seasons performing at the Commonweal, I’ve never had to take on the task of performing in two shows that are running at the same time – until now. While I knew that doing these two shows would be very trying, I looked forward to being a part of two very fun pieces of theatre that I knew would help me grow. Here’s what a typical two show day looks like for me:


I start my day bright and early! After I drink my morning tea, I run whatever errands I need to do. Then I try to get a little bit of time in at the gym, because staying fit is very important given all the running and jumping I do in both shows.

Lizzy heading out for the day
Lizzy heading out for the day


Because we operate under an artist administrator model, not only do we perform/direct/design our shows, but we also have to run the place! Before the show starts, I usually try and get some admin work done at my desk. Sometimes it’s a tough balance to achieve, but doggy snuggles with Lucy always help!

Lizzy Andretta with Lucy, at work
Lucy helping Lizzy get some admin work done!


Then I go downstairs and sign in for Boeing Boeing. I try to get there earlier as I need as much time as possible to construct Gabriella’s Brigitte Bardot coif and put on a few layers of makeup, as well as doing a light physical and heavy vocal warm-up (both Molly and Gabriella, for all their differences, are both very loud opinionated ladies).

Lizzy prepares in the dressing room
Lizzy prepares in the dressing room


It’s show time! Boeing Boeing takes off for flight as I get to run around as the smart and dramatic Gabriella! It’s a fun, but very physical show. So by the end we are all quite tired. But that’s only one show for the day done!

Lizzy in makeup as Gabriella in Boeing Boeing
Lizzy in makeup as Gabriella in Boeing Boeing


Once Boeing ends, I go home and take a quick shower to remove the spray and product from my hair and have dinner before I’m called in for Peter and the Starcatcher. Since I wear my hair naturally, I can afford to come in a little closer to my call time.


Once in for Peter, I spend a lot more time doing heavy stretches (none of which I actually do in the show, but I like doing them to help my body get as limber as possible) and warming up my voice for the singing.

Lizzy Andretta stretching before Peter and the Starcatcher
Lizzy Andretta stretching before Peter and the Starcatcher


Show #2 officially starts! Peter and the Starcatcher is so much fun. I play Molly, the titular Starcatcher in training. With such a large cast, and so many moving parts, this show is an incredible adventure to go on!


At intermission it’s time to get into my mermaid outfit! Why? Well…you’ll just have to see the show to find out! It’s a pretty glamorous sight to behold backstage.

Lizzy in her mermaid costume for Peter and the Starcatcher
Lizzy in her mermaid costume


The show is done, which means my busy day is also over! After such a marathon, I go straight home, satisfied with a good day’s work. Plus there’s a matinee tomorrow to rest up for! Thanks for coming with me on this long, but fun, Saturday. We’ll see you at the Commonweal very soon!

Have you seen Lizzy in both productions yet? Make your plans now to join us for both Boeing Boeing, and Peter and the Starcatcher this summer! For Tickets —> Performance Calendar

Recapturing Childhood, A Magical Costume Design

By Annie Cady

Back in April, we had our first design meeting for Peter and the Starcatcher. Though I read the play at least a couple of times before the meeting, this was really the first time that all of the designers come together to start working on the version of the play that we were going to create together. In this meeting our director, Hal, described his concept (he’s the ship’s captain!). He talked about the play being full of fun and adventure. One of the phrases I jotted down in my notes was “recapture the magic and imagination of childhood”. He wanted magic to be at the heart of the story.

The script requires the audience to use their imagination. As designers, Hal asked us to create a playground with lots of possibilities. We needed ways to quickly move forward in the story: to change locations with one move of a set piece or prop, and to change character with the addition of an eye patch, a hat or an epic mustache. Every actor plays multiple characters, often with merely seconds to change.

As the Costume Designer, I thought about the life on a ship, and what those characters would need to survive that life. I thought about a long sea crossing and the world of pirates and orphan boys. My visual research mostly consisted of worn and patched up clothing. Pieces that looked lived in and brought a lot of texture to the stage. I found images that made sense for each character and started to sketch. My costume renderings take all of my research and combine the disparate parts into a single cohesive character.

I was also inspired by the time period, so you will see a nod to the late 1800s in some of the pieces. But we are not strict – Hal did want magic, fun and an atmosphere of playfulness. So, I chose to add some sillier things that also fit in with the quick character changes – lobster claw hands, pasta hats and a lacy bonnet for Jeremy all find a place in the design.

Things often change a bit as we make our way through tech week. My work is only partially done right now. But so far, I think we are finding the way to bring magic, playfulness and adventure to life on stage. I can’t wait for you to experience all of that magic for yourself!

From New York to Minnesota: A New Friendly Face

If you’ve seen either Holmes and Watson or Boeing Boeing this spring then you have likely encountered the newest addition to the Commonweal, Lacey Szerlip. Read on to learn a little bit more about our newest Stage Manager!

Hi everyone! I’m Lacey Szerlip! I’m excited to be here as a Stage Manager this season! I love the community that is built around this company and how nice and welcoming everyone has been. I was born and raised in Redondo Beach, California. I miss the beach everyday, but I also enjoy wide open spaces so this is a nice change for me.

Lacey Szerlip
Lacey comes to us by way of California and New York City!

I grew up watching productions of musicals and plays around Los Angeles. My mom really pushed us to see anything and everything we could. She really helped to shape my love for all kinds of art. I went to college at a State University named Purchase College in New York. I studied Theatre with a concentration in Stage Management. I not only learned about Stage Management, but I also learned so much about theatre as a whole and got to enjoy many various types of theatre first hand. College was also the place that I was introduced to so many amazing plays that I never would had known about before. One of my favorite plays that I’ve ever read is written as a prequel and sequel to A Raisin in the Sun, called Clybourne Park

When I applied to the Commonweal I looked up the company and really enjoyed what I found. I knew that this would be a good fit for me, even if it is in a tiny town in Minnesota. Not something I’m used to, but a nice change from my normal pace. Living in this community is such a different environment than I’ve ever lived in before and I like it a lot. And I love that even in such a different place, there is still a bit of what I’m used to: a theatre where I get to go and work all day and love every minute of it.

Peter and the Starcatcher rehearsal with Lacey Szerlip
Lacey (center) runs rehearsal alongside Director Hal Cropp (right), and Assistant Stage Manager Jodi Rushing (left).

It has been awesome working on Peter and the Starcatcher so far. It’s going to be an amazing show and I can’t wait for everyone to be able to see the magic that we are putting on the stage. This show is so fun, imaginative, and hilarious. It’s a perfect show for me to start my work here at the Commonweal, and for that I’m so grateful! I hope that everyone who comes to see it, enjoys the show as much as I do! See you all soon!

Be sure to catch Lacey’s work as stage manager when Peter and the Starcatcher begins performances on July 12th! For Tickets —> Performance Calendar