The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Castilleja student and college counselor star in Palo Alto Players’ ‘The Music Man’

Palo Alto Players
Sadie Evans ’26 (second from right) and Director of College Counseling Gabi McColgan (not pictured) recently performed in a local production of “The Music Man.”

You may have noticed the sign on the door of the college counseling office, just outside the ACE center — a poster for Palo Alto Players’ production of “The Music Man” by Meredith Wilson. With closing shows having taken place on May 11 and 12, it seems like a relevant time to talk about the process of putting on a show.

So what was it like working on “The Music Man”? For both Sadie Evans ‘26 and Director of College Counseling Gabi McColgan, it’s a very full circle moment. Evans recalls having done “The Music Man” in first grade— her first musical ever. Meanwhile, McColgan reprised her role as Mrs. Paroo, the main character’s mother, from a different production of the same show.

Evans, who was part of the Youth Dance Ensemble, mentioned that she could also further explore her passion for dancing— something she wasn’t able to do as much in Casti’s fall production of “Mean Girls,” which she starred in as Regina George.

“I just get to dance the whole show, which is really fun,” she said. “I get to do ballet, and I get to do jazz.”

But she said being involved in such a big production did come with difficulties, especially with other priorities such as school and work.

McColgan described the balance as challenging at times. “But it’s manageable, it just means that I don’t get to do other things outside of work,” she said. “The show is my first priority outside of work.”

Additionally, the presence of adults in the show with full-time jobs meant that rehearsals would start and end later in the afternoon, usually from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “I would usually go home, get all the homework I could done, and then go to rehearsal, and then I’d get home pretty late,” Evans said. “So I tried to get everything I could done before I went to rehearsal, but I would still have a lot to do when I’d go home.”

She also shared her thoughts on managing schoolwork during the hardest part of the process: tech week. Usually held on the last week before opening night, tech week is when actors rehearse with all the additional elements of a production (lights, costumes, sound, etc), meaning they would have to stay later than they normally would. According to Evans, tech week rehearsals for “The Music Man” could end as late as 11:30, which meant having to get lots of homework extensions.

Nonetheless, they both said it was an incredible experience for everyone involved.

McColgan described the show’s production process as “really beautifully organized”— from stage management to costuming to lighting, she said everything was prepared by the time tech week rolled around.

Both Evans and McColgan also paid tribute to The Music Man’s director and choreographer, Lee Ann Payne.

“She was incredibly talented and so organized, and she had a great vision for the show,” McColgan said.

Additionally, Evans expressed how much she enjoyed working with everyone. “They’re all so amazing and talented at what they do. Not even just the actors, but also the artistic team, the directors, the choreographers, and the vocal workers,” she said. “Getting to learn and collaborate with them, I think, was the coolest.”

When asked about how student-faculty relationships extend beyond the Casti Campus, McColgan recalled having run into Evans at auditions. Although they had completely different roles in the show, they were together for the big musical numbers, where they were able to get to know each other better.

Going back to the topic of balancing work and extracurriculars, both of them also agreed that for time-consuming activities, doing something you are passionate about with that time is the best way to avoid burnout.

McColgan said that even on late tech week nights, “there was no part of me that was sad about that because I was really enjoying it”.

And, although Evans was doubling up on shows, doing another musical at the same time she was in “The Music Man”, she has no regrets about doing so.

“I have been doing theatre my whole life, and I’ve never felt burned out on it because it is my favorite thing,” she said. “I think it’s the most fun ever. And I look forward to every rehearsal, every performance, every class I take because I love it so much.”

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About the Contributor
Erin Gunawan
Erin Gunawan, Staff Writer
Erin Gunawan ‘27 is a staff writer for Counterpoint. Outside of class, she enjoys learning random historical facts, rewatching The Sound of Music (best movie ever) and drinking Starbucks refreshers. If she isn't doing any of these things, you'll most likely find her *politely borrowing* candy from Dr. Story's office.

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