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Set Design Crew

April 4, 2018


Photo Credit: Photo via Colonia Theater Twitter

Set Design Crew in the early stages of creating Hairspray’s set.

Set Design Crew was the first behind the scenes group to meet for Hairspray. Their first meeting was in January and they worked diligently into March. The main goal of Set Design Crew is to create the set for Hairspray as quickly as possible. Set Design Crew is also in charge of numerous other tasks. These tasks include acquiring props, painting set pieces, and coming up with ideas for more set pieces.

Building and Painting the Set

Building and painting the set is the top priority for Set Design Crew. During the musicals, building the set is typically the most time-consuming activity, and it was no different with Hairspray. All of Set Design Crew works hard to put the set together, everyone being proficient in different ways. Some members are better at building and working with power tools, so they work on building the set. Some members are more artistic, so they work on painting.

Painting the set is usually the most stressful part of Set Design Crew. Set Design Crew paints the set last, so getting the painting done before opening night is often very stressful. This year, Set Design Crew ended the day Hairspray began. The set was finally fully painted the day it was showcased to an audience the first time.

Scenic artist, senior Thomas Demkowicz, shouldered most of the responsibility of painting Hairspray‘s set. Demkowicz’ main job was painting the back wall to resemble a sunset falling over Baltimore. This took over two months of dedication to complete. After Demkowicz finished the back wall, the set was complete. Then, he moved on to paint the actual set.  Demkowicz found himself extremely stressed for time during the majority of Hairspray.

Acquiring Props

Acquiring props is one of the easier jobs for Set Design Crew. For around two days, the crew is sent to look through the prop closets. Hairspray did not require many props.

Photo Credit: Photo by Rebecca Melton
Scenic artist Thomas Demkowicz painting the back wall.

Hairspray did, however, require some very specific props. On the props acquirement list were things like: six jelly donuts, a ring that matches Amber’s hair color exactly, and 11 bells without the ball in them. So while there weren’t a lot of props to acquire, the props were much harder to find.

Without Set Design Crew, the cast wouldn’t have any props and the production would lack that special something that comes with those props.

Technical Directors

Set Design Crew is not responsible for conceptualizing the set or figuring out the necessary props. This is the responsibility of the Technical Directors. The main Technical Director is Mrs. Melissa Abrams, an Honors English Teacher at Colonia High School. Abrams has been working on musicals at Colonia High School for over 15 years. Hairspray is Abrams’ 16th musical in counting. Every year, Abrams chooses a student be her Student Technical Director. The Student Technical Director has some of the responsibility that Abrams has, and is in charge of talking one on one to students to assign jobs.

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