Elon University's fall musical is bringing a classic Broadway hit to the college stage: Hello Dolly! 

Audiences will not see the two months of rehearsals, learning music and choreographing in every second of the show. Instead they'll hear the harmonies of the ensemble, the stomping to the beat of the chorus, and see Dolly herself leading a parade. 

Just a few weeks ago, Cathy McNeela, the director of the production, was worried about it all coming together. "I have lots of fears," she said. "None of it ever has to do with the actors. It all has to do with the set pieces and stuff." The set pieces are tall and wide, requiring a lot of movement. Practicing that movement all comes down to tech week.

Tech week is a compilation of full costumes, makeup, lights and the orchestra all coming together just a few days before the first performance. As expected, tech week brings long practices and an exhausted crew.

Freshman Cara DiPietro is feeling this tech week struggle for the first time. As the only freshman in the main stage musical, she said she never even anticipated to be in this position. "Not one bit," said DiPietro. "Even to be called back was like wow, I wasn't really expecting that, let alone to be cast." 

Senior Chloe Robin, on the other hand, has been doing this for three years. Robin is starring as the lead role, Dolly Gallagher-Levi. While tech week is always hard, Robin said it's different each year. "It's a little bit easier, but this one has been challenging obviously," said Robin. "I definitely used to be more self-conscious...but I feel centered now. I can do that on stage." 

Robin, DiPietro, McNeela and dozens of other people have had a hand in creating what audiences will see on Elon's stage. 

Performances run Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 2-4 in McCrary Theater in the Performing Arts Center. All shows are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at the box office for $13 or free with an Elon I-D. For information on tickets, call (336) 278-5610.


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