GVHS Stage Crew: The Stars Behind the Scenes

Pictured: (left to right: Stephanie Roberts, Julia Kinnee, Annie Tunstall, Janice Argo, Lauren Murphy, Abby DiGravio)

By: Rose DiPaolo


If you’re a member of Drama Club, you might say your favorite part of it all is opening night. To feel the rush of performance at the first note is an incomparable high.

But do you realize how much work happens off the stage?

Sara Cripps and Daniel Avicolli have a combined 7.5 years in Stage Crew, and, as they are both graduating this year, look for new possible Stage Crew members to “pass on the baton”.

“It allowed me to find many of my friends.” said Sara Cripps, Stage Crew Co-President and GVHS Senior. “I was able to find what part of art and theatre I enjoyed the most.”

Stage Crew aids in the construction and moving of sets for the musicals that take place in Garnet Valley High School.

“My favorite part about Crew is definitely the people in it.” said Daniel Avicolli, Stage Crew Co-President.

“The actual shows and set buildings are fun, but the other members of Stage Crew are just such amazing people and I love being around them.”

Those in it will tell you that Stage Crew isn’t just a normal club.

“I feel like crew is a lot closer than cast because of the difference in the amount of people, and even though cast and crew are both like big families I feel like crew is more so than the cast because of, again, the amount of people and the way we interact with each other.” said Dan Avicolli.

Even joining Crew is easy, all you do is show up saturday morning in the auditorium and say you would like to join. Then you go to gvpaa.com to register for the show.

(pictured: Neala Carroll as Annie)

Stage Crew isn’t just High Schoolers, either.

“I saw a list of high school activites my brother was given when we first moved here and I said I wanna do that, so I did it as an eighth-grader.” said Sara Cripps.

Along with eighth-graders, “Set Saturdays” are open to anyone and everyone willing to help.

Almost all of the workers are volunteers, such as the self-proclaimed “Set Dads” who do the majority of the building and design. (And, as per Stage Crew rules, receive lunch first.)

Jerry Arters, head designer and husband to Heather Arters, oversees all construction and makes executive decisions regarding sets.

“I would definitely recommend sets to incoming freshman.” said Dan Avicolli.

“If you’re interested in the shows but don’t want to be onstage performing then it’s such a good activity to get involved in.”

“I love all of them so much and I feel like I am a friend to everyone and I don’t feel too much like a leader.” said Sara Cripps.

“Overall, it’s a wonderful place with so many amazing qualities.”

(pictured: Christian Brennan, Andrew Lavender, Jac Cervino, Jack King, Kate Santangelo, Alex O’Connor, Shane Veloski, Luke Taylor, Neala Carroll)

  1. How do you join sets?

Sara: You show up saturday morning in the auditorium and say you wanna join them

Register online at gvpaa.com

Full Interview with Daniel and Sara:

  1. How did you join sets?

Sara: I saw a list of high school activites my brother was given when we first moved here and I said I wanna do that, so I did it as an 8th grader.

Dan: I joined stage crew after my friends kept telling me to join the plays, but I didn’t want to be onstage so I thought crew would be nice.

  • When did you join?

Halfway through my sophomore year with Gypsy.

  1. What do you do in sets?

Sara: I help design and build sets and, while there, I help others find jobs and help them with their tasks.

Dan: I’m one of the two leaders and we make sure that set building and painting is going the right way and getting done and at shows I would lead people in moving sets and backdrops.

  1. What kind of relationship do you have with the other people in stage crew?/ How close are you with the people in crew?

Sara: I love all of them so much and I feel like I am a friend to everyone and I don’t feel too much like a leader. I think they still respect me for the most part and they all mean so much to me.

Dan: Throughout the years I’ve gotten really close with the people in crew, and in this year especially I think we really felt like a big family because of the ways we interacted with one another and how close we all got.

  1. What’s your favorite part about crew?

Sara: My favorite part would have to be the people and creative problem solving used throughout the entire production.

Dan: It’s definitely the people in it, because the actual shows and set building are fun, but the other members of stage crew are just such amazing people and I love being around them.

  1. How would you compare the cast to the crew?

Dan: I feel like crew is a lot closer than cast because of the difference in the amount of people, and even though cast and crew are both like big families I feel like crew is more so than the cast because of, again, the amount of people and the way we interact with each other.

  1. What was your favorite show to work on?

Sara: I loved rent because it is my favorite musical but Annie was a really great experience because I was able to become much closer to everyone in cast and crew.

Dan: I think either Evita or High School Musical because the sets for Evita were so big and beautiful but I’ve always loved High School Musical as a show.

  1. Would you recommend sets to incoming freshman?

Sara: Absolutely, it allowed me to find many of my friends I still talk to today whether or not they have graduated. I also was able to find what part of art and theatre I enjoyed the most.

Dan: Definitely! If you’re interested in the shows but don’t want to be onstage performing then it’s such a good activity to get involved in.

  1. Is there anything else you want me to include?

Sara: It’s overall a wonderful place and has many amazing qualities.

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