Journey Into The World of a Fairytale Musical

By Jenna Simmons

To be honest, I auditioned for Zanna Don’t with absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. Before my callback I got a chance to read the script and was surprised by what I saw because it’s not like any other musical I’ve worked on before. I’m not going to give anything away for all of you who haven’t seen or read it yet, but I can guarantee one thing: you won’t leave this show bored or tired. Zanna Don’t has been a completely new experience for me. I’ve never seen or been in a show that has the kind of non-stop, over the top, speed and energy that Zanna Don’t has. At our very first rehearsal I remember our director C.T. Steele saying that there will only be five pauses in the entire show, and only one scene where we stop smiling.  Running only about an hour and a half the show doesn’t even leave a pause for an intermission.

This is a beast like I’ve never encountered before.  I am used to playing the part with three or four scenes with one show stopping solo, but all of the numbers in Zanna Don’t have show stopping choreography and energy but only push the show faster. At this point in the rehearsal process (about to be five weeks in) I should be exhausted, right? WRONG. (Well kind of right but not as tired as I expected to be.) We start every rehearsal with dancing and singing and crunches and push-ups. It’s like a fabulous, sparkly boot camp. One of the girls in my cast said she was thinking that she had to go to the gym more often this semester, but lucky for us the gym comes to rehearsal!

We’ve been singing and dancing the show since before break, but we just finished blocking and putting the whole thing together. This is the point in every show where I breathe a sigh of relief because I see how it all works, but for Zanna Don’t I don’t think we’re going to have time to sigh relief until every last detail has been glossed over in sparkle paint and polished to perfection. I know we can do this, it’s just going to take all our effort every day until February 14th. The cast and crew are really talented (if I do say so myself) and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. It’s going to be magical, just you wait.

“Things that look that seamless and perfect on stage always take that much longer and that much more attention to make the magic work.” –Actual quote our director, C.T. just said a second ago because I’m writing this during my little break at rehearsal.


Jenna is a sophomore Theatre Arts major here at Pitt. Previous credits include Lady Meresvale in Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Landlady in Funnyhouse of a Negro, and ASM for Cleansed/WASP.