Stage Right Theatre Company and School for the Performing Arts in Greensburg has officially been named a world record holder with the Guinness Book of World Records.
They were notified by email on Sept. 26 from the Guinness Record committee that they had officially been recognized for breaking the record for the fastest theatrical production.
On March 9, 2019, Stage Right auditioned, rehearsed and performed “Children of Eden” in 14 hours and 30 minutes at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg. The previous record had been 15 hours.
The email from the Guinness Record committee read, “We are thrilled to inform you that your application for Fastest Theatrical Production has been successful and you are now the Guinness World Records Title Holder!”
Artistic Director Tony Marino said they’d been waiting for quite a while.
“The unpaid review process can take a long time,” he said. “They’d asked for some clarifications and other information over the course of the waiting period, which we provided and then continued to wait.”
Despite the long wait, Marino admitted that he was sure when the curtain closed on the production that they had clinched the title.
“It was partly due to the team effort of following the rules to a T,” he said. “There was a copious amount of material needed to prove the record, but I really felt we had done our due diligence, and I was very confident.”
But Marino’s not afraid to admit that by 5 p.m. the day of the event, when they had just gotten through rehearsing Act I, which was a struggle, and they hadn’t even run Act II yet with the curtain set to open at 7:30 p.m. that he thought, “Oh my God, I’m not sure this is going to happen.”
Chris McAllister, the production manager and music director, was in charge of making sure all the rules were followed and everything required by the Guinness Book of World Records was done or in place.
“We read all of the rules and then we reread them multiple times to make sure that the different categories of rules were followed,” he said. “There are different rules that need to be followed for the shortest events than those that need to be followed for longest events, and we kind of sat in between those two rule books so we cross-referenced everything and made sure that everything was followed exactly.”
They actually began looking at the rules a couple of months in advance so they could make sure that it was all doable and that they would be able to follow all the criteria on the technical side.
When they found out they would have to accomplish the record doing the show “Children of Eden,” McAllister said he felt most people in the theater community were already familiar with it even though it never had a Broadway run.
“Everyone that day was relying so hard on their short-term memory, and the show itself is a great story from start to finish — it made sense and was familiar to those who know the Bible stories — and I think that was a great benefit to us,” he said.
“Part of being a professional actor is memorizing lines quickly - it’s part of your job - and it’s not easy and definitely takes years of practice, but it’s something we do here with our students,” McAllister added. “We force them to learn quickly and then regurgitate it in a very short amount of time.”
The morning Marino found out, he went to the Guinness dashboard to check and see if they’d been sent anything.
“It took me a second to see it, but the notification in the box that normally stated ‘application pending’ had been replaced with ‘current world record holder,’” he said. “I then immediately searched our name in the actual records part of the website and up popped a picture of the cast and crew of ‘Children of Eden.’ It was a pretty magical moment!”
Marino gives all the credit to the Stage Right community as well as the community at large for helping to reach this goal.
“Everyone fulfilled exactly what I was looking for,” he said. “It was a community effort of people coming together and accomplishing something extraordinary.”
McAllister added that he was already super proud of their group of putting together a show from start to finish in 14 and a half hours, so “the confirmation from Guinness was just the cherry on top.”
Stage Right will unveil the official World Records Seal and toast to the record at the Palace Theatre on Nov. 22 as part of its opening night reception for “Newsies” playing at the Palace Theatre Nov. 22-24.