This is the official cast shot. I have much to learn about shooting groups, but I know one thing for now: I'm either pretty lucky or I can produce something under pressure. Not only do I have 145 people here on the stage, including 125 who don't want to sit still, but I have 200 or so behind me in the audience watching me as though this were a bonus portion of the show. Plus it's at least 80 degrees in here, and the sweat may have actually puddled around my feet if it had taken me any longer to get this shot. This was a possibility because my gear (including my ultra-wide lens) is upstairs in the balcony, which is unfortunate because the lens I have down here is not wide enough to capture the entire group all at once. (See photo #229.) Seven get chopped. Not good!
The original plan was to shoot the group shot from the balcony, but those banners hanging down were decapitating people. It didn't help that my camera is mounted on what looked like a toy tripod. So I had a choice: Pretend to faint and hope that someone would drag my body outside, or keep my cool and carefully create a panorama (two images stitched together). Boy did I get lucky that Photoshop was able to handle this. Photoshop told me where the dividing line between the images is, but I can't see it. Yay! Many thanks to this remarkable cast that turned to stone when I needed them to.
This is entirely ambient lighting, spot lights and stage lights, which is much stronger for the folks up front than it is in back. Lighting a group this size with flash is way beyond me right now, so to get even lighting would have meant dimming the front spots and dragging the shutter to brighten the rear. Plus this group has a lot of depth, which demands an aperture closer to f/8 to get everyone into crisp focus. Plus, you really want to avoid as much noise as possible, so it would be better with an ISO of 200. If we assume that the kids in back are 2 stops underexposed, we're talking a shutter speed of at least 5 seconds. No one could sit perfectly still that long!
I love that I can see Ms. Finley asking the Huns to be quiet!