By Averie Howell
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Madden
This year’s spring musical did not follow tradition. Although there was no filled auditorium and no high schoolers packed into the dressing room, anxiously awaiting opening night, Mrs. Madden, the St. Mary’s Performing Arts Director, found a way to work around this year’s adversity. Even as most theaters in the country are still completely shut down, at St. Mary’s, the show must go on.
Madden said, “I wanted to figure out a way to show people’s faces without a mask on, and I felt that the solos lent themselves to that. Now, not everybody in the whole musical has a solo, so you do see masks in the group numbers, but I thought that trying to really see a person without the mask, yet still doing the thing they love to do benefitted all of us.”
Twenty-two high schoolers filmed performances of a series of both solo and group numbers.. The numbers were compiled to form a musical medley with songs from a variety of shows. It was still a creative and connecting experience for those involved. Madden said, “We did things from shows that we would never be able to do if we did the entire show.”
Saniya Young (9), who participated in the show, said, “I liked it a lot. It didn’t take as much work as a normal play would, but you still got the experience of it. You didn’t get the audience, but I think it worked, and it was COVID-friendly.”
While the past year has been anything but normal, being allowed to perform together, even if socially-distanced and masked, has brought a sense of normalcy to the St. Mary’s thespian community. Being together in costume, under the lights, and onstage created a space of comfort for those who have been unable to perform for a year now.
Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Madden
Senior Caroline Gramm said, “Even though it’s usually so hectic, I would have loved to spend 15 hours straight at school and run through a real show every night, but the day we filmed almost felt like we really were performing for an audience. It was honestly so difficult and sad to lose my last show, but I’m so thankful we were at least able to do something, even if it wasn’t a replacement for a real show.”
The show runs approximately an hour. Madden plans to execute a similar experience for the Middle School musical. She hopes to take what she learned from this process and improve upon it, making the middle school musical about twenty minutes long.
Both performances will be available for viewing on May 4 at the Malco Summer Drive-In. Madden hopes this will provide a fun experience for those in the musical to showcase what they accomplished in such little rehearsal time.
Madden says, “I was pleasantly surprised. It looks beautiful. I mean, I can’t wait for people to see it.”
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