Into the Woods: the Perspective from the Pit

Zizi Toth, Copy Editor

Band and orchestra players in the musical pit band participated in MHS’ fall musical Into the Woods beneath the stage! Each player worked hard behind the scenes, which made it a unique and interesting experience.

Every day last week, from Nov. 4th through the 7th, consisted of at least 5 and a half hour practices, which is tough work for an instrumental musician. The rehearsals were held in the PAC, with the actors and actresses on stage, and the band in the concealed pit. This was the place where all the music and sound effects came from for the entire show.

The pit is right in front and below the stage. It is accessed by removing the wood on the floor of the stage that is closest to the audience. Staircases lower musicians into the pit on either side.

In addition, the pit is filled with wires, microphones, and speakers so music and sound effects are more audible to the audience. Each musician set their 90 pages of music onto their music stand, which was lit up in the dark by tiny LED lights clipped onto the stand. Musicians also had the luxury of a pit full of snacks, which included a large bag of mints, chocolate, gummies, sparkling grape juice to kick off the opening night, and much more!

The pit director was Tom Bonezzi, who conducted for nearly three hours every show. Bonezzi was the glue of the musical; he gave every player proper cues and cutoffs, and made certain the singers were in time with the music. He also played piano while he conducted!

The musicians in the pit had many inside jokes. It was a fun experience, and Bonezzi made sure everyone had a good laugh every single day. One thing that made the entire pit erupt in laughter was “when the falling tree sound was supposed to go off and it went dead silent and Ryan [Block] decided to yell out,” described cellist Jill Lentz. Block unexpectedly attempted to mimic the sound when Bonezzi was gone and couldn’t do it himself. Violinist Josh Harris said it was his “attempt at the explosion noise,” and violinist Mia Vela saw it as “screaming like a giant.” This was one of many memories that the musicians in the pit will never forget.

Every person who participated in the musical, whether in the pit, on stage, running tech, or other, spent many hours and hard work on Into the Woods. The last performance was Sunday, and it was truly a happy ever after. We hope you look forward to enjoying the efforts of our pit in the future!

Here is a look into the pit with music, instruments, and microphones ready. Tom Bonezzi stands over his music score, keyboard, and laptop.