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The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

Student Abby Mutum takes on creation of Newsies set

Sammy Marvin
Student Abby Mutum creates the spring musical’s set, Newsies, with her welding skills.

Westside’s theater program is well underway with spring musical rehearsals to prepare for the production of “Newsies”. Aside from actors practicing their parts, part of preparing for the show is ensuring that the stage has a set. 

Senior Abby Mutum put her stage design skills to the test by creating moveable set pieces that replicate the New York City scenes in “Newsies”. 

Mutum explained that she volunteered to help with the job of creating the set after being given the idea by one of the assistant directors. 

“Jackson Curtwright gave the idea to me [to volunteer] and I was more than willing to help create the set,” Mutum said. “I didn’t even know it was an option at first and then he asked about making and designing the set and I was all in.”

Mutum made sure that the set was visibly appealing and safe for people to be on by creating several plans and consulting with theater director Jeremy Stoll.

“Everything that is metal, I welded,” Mutum said. “I had to make a ground plan, the front-facing view for the audience, and then come up with ideas of how to work around problems that arise. I worked with Stoll on blocking to make sure that everything ran smoothly.”

To clarify, the term “blocking” describes the actions and movements that actors do on set during their scenes. 

Mutum was not only named Stage Designer, but Stage Manager and Technical Director. Because of this, she has faced several struggles while trying to uphold the tasks of all of her jobs. 

“The hardest part of my job is having to switch from being director to stage manager, to designer in rehearsals,” Mutum said. “Sometimes I’ll have to do jobs for my technical director position like problems with the set, then I have to switch back to stage manager mode and write blocking down and then go back to designing mode if they have any questions on how to make one of the set pieces work.”

Junior Elliot Bartling plays a newsie named Albert in the musical. She loves that the set is so versatile and different from past musicals. 

“My favorite thing about the set is how it can be moved to create so many different settings,” Bartling said. “We don’t use a lot of furniture, so the set in itself creates all the different places in the show, from newsies square to the theatre. I also like how we’re able to have so many levels from the set, there’s ladders and steps that we all dance and sing on along with the floor.”

Senior Milla Papenfuss is also a newsie in this year’s production. Papenfuss expressed that she’s extremely proud of her friend for taking on such a task.

“I’m super impressed that she was able to build the set,” Papenfuss said. “I know that she’s been working in set construction at the Rose for a while, and I’m glad she got to put her skills to use by welding our wonderful set.”

Papenfuss was excited to work with the set, but had to get used to all the different configurations that could be made. 

“It took a while to get used to the set because of the mechanisms of how it moves around,” Papenfuss said. “It’s amazing to have a set that can be used in so many different configurations, but it was definitely hard to get used to blocking when the set is different in every single scene.”

“Newsies” actors and tech are excited to be able to use such an intricate, unique set thanks to Mutum’s hard work. To see the set, go see “Newsies” March 7 to March 10.

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About the Contributor
Sammy Marvin
Sammy Marvin, Managing Editor
Howdy, my name is Sammy Marvin! I am a Managing Editor for Westside Wired. I am currently a senior and this is my fourth year on Wired. A fun fact about me is that I love lizards. If you have any questions or comments please contact me at [email protected].
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