Behind The Scenes With The Los Alamos Light Opera

Crew members work on the set for ‘Matilda, the Musical’. Courtesy photo

Cast members practice a routine for ‘Matilda, the Musical’. Courtesy photo

Working on a sign for the LALO production of ‘Matilda, the Musical. Courtesy photo

Cast members from Los Alamos Light Opera rehearse for their next production. Courtesy photo

Los Alamos Light Opera

What is the Los Alamos Light Opera? 

Imagine post-World-War-2 Los Alamos, a “town” where many residents had grown up in cities where opera, concerts, plays, and music lessons were taken for granted. 

Theater-lovers got together, and by the end of 1943, Los Alamos Little Theatre (LALT) and Los Alamos Light Opera (LALO) were born.

LALO produced its first show, “HMS Pinafore,” in 1948. While the focus was originally on Gilbert and Sullivan, the organization began producing musicals within the first five years.  

What does it take to put on a musical? 

Like many 503 (c) performing arts organizations, LALO requires many hours of volunteer work and other generous financial support. 

Everyone involved is a volunteer, including the director, music director, orchestra, and cast. Other volunteers include a stage manager, production team, and stage crew. 

Set-design and set-building teams are a pivotal part of the process, as are make-up artists, hair stylists, light/sound designers, costume designer/coordinator, prop designer/coordinator, and publicity coordinator, to name a few. 

When it’s all said and done, a large-scale musical production will require well over 100 people, many volunteering more than 100 hours each, depending on their role on or off the stage. 

How much does it cost to make the magic happen? 

When producing a musical of this size, the costs include performance rights, rehearsal and performance space rental, theater staff, costumes, set materials, publicity, makeup, props, and other incidentals.

Costs typically run between $14,000 – $20,000, and ticket proceeds from the prior show are used to pay for the next production. 

This brings us to the final volunteers needed for the success of any production: an audience. 

LALO hopes to fill the Duane Smith Auditorium and encourage the entire community to see “Matilda, The Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays — Feb. 3, 4, 10, and 11 — and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5.
Tickets are available at Matilda Tickets at Eventbrite, Village Arts at 216 DP Road, or at the door.

Crew members work on the set for ‘Matilda, the Musical’. Courtesy photo