On an early Sunday morning, Nov. 4, semi-trucks and coach buses wait outside of Jesse Auditorium to be unloaded. Coming from Asheville, N.C., are the stage crew and cast from a touring company of the musical “The Producers.” At 8 a.m., the unloading of backdrops, costumes and props commences for a show that will take place a relatively short 11 hours later.
The air rings with yelling and the rolling of carts and giant Styrofoam army tanks used on the set. The crews from “The Producers” and Jesse Auditorium are joined by workers with Labor Ready of Columbia and Klance Staging of St. Louis. More than 50 people work to hang lights, style wigs and lay flooring for the 7 p.m. show.
What many in the audience might not realize is that the massive preparation and setup done before the curtain is raised will last only seconds once the cast members take their final bows. The performers will change into street clothes and gather their belongings to head to a local hotel. But the crews will tear down and pack up the set, finishing sometime around 2 a.m., before they get some sleep on the long bus ride to Fort Collins, Colo.