The Making of a Mountain Musical


Stephanie Coleman
Digital Documentary Photography
December 2007

Making "The Making of a Mountain Musical" has been an incredible experience for me. Being part of this musical, Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity in itself has opened my eyes to a whole new world. I have worked with a group of vivacious, hilarious, and dynamic actors, producers, crew members and musicians over the last month. I learned how to perform and play music for the stage, for the sake of theatrical entertainment. I learned how to emote, how to revamp the music I have grown up with--traditional Appalachian music--into something accessible and enjoyable to a broad audience. But getting to know this bunch of people has been the most invaluable part of the whole effort for me. And I look forward to many, many more wonderful times with many of the individuals you'll see in this piece.

Not only has this opportunity afforded me a chance to hit the stage and bring music along with me, but I've gained new insight as a photographer via this experience. From the very early stages of the production, I devoted much of my down time to photographing the process of putting this musical together. During seven different sessions, I took approximately 700 pictures! I was able to photograph many different aspects of the production, from the first musical rehearsal to the actual performance to all the mayhem that goes on backstage. As I've photographed a small group of people over an extended period of time in a confined setting, I've learned how to wait for moments and approach an environment that has become so familiar to me from a unique perspective. So here it is, a brief digital snapshot into the world of Beautiful Star...