School musical has shifted production schedule due to Covid-19


Photo courtsey of: D.Pappageorge

“The audience members had to sit in every other row with about three seats between them so everyone was very spread out across the auditorium,” said Boone

Anika Canamedi, In-depth Editor

This year’s school musical, The Music Man, promised to be a heartwarming show. With over three months of preparation the exciting build up to opening night was tangible. However, due to the rampant spread of COVID-19, further health measures were taken to avoid a complete cancellation of the show. 

An email sent out to District 99 on March 12 stated, “Large gatherings that include visitors, from outside the school who are not our students, are canceled.” This spelled trouble with a capital T for the yearly school musical.

“We had cried just hours before in our 7th and 8th periods, believing we wouldn’t perform at all. When we were told we would still get the chance, appreciation and inspiration united us,” assistant director sophomore Lilly Cawthorne said.

The show did go on, albeit with a limited audience of 250, including all those involved in the production, and a shorter performance schedule of two days.

“The only way we can make this fair and equitable to everyone is to give each of you two tickets, two passes,” the fine arts chairperson Brayer Teague said in a meeting with the musical cast on the night of the first performance.

The passes were only given to immediate family members and the audience sat three seats apart.

“The audience actually had massive amounts of energy both nights, and it made up for the lack of people.” junior Patrick Jackson who portrayed Mayor Shinn said.

The director of the musical Demetrios Pappageorge emphasized the gratitude and joy that the cast should feel about the ability to share their hard work with the audience and selected the show itself for the lessons it provides for the audience. “At a time when everyone is looking toward the future…I think looking back to life in our country’s earlier days is sometimes a good thing,” Pappageorge said.

In a meeting with the musical cast he also explained the necessity of caution during these times. “Panic never helps,” Pappageorge said. 

The musical takes place in 1912 and set design was key in transporting the audience to an earlier time. “Sets can make or break shows, it’s important in how to convey a story.” set crew head Connor Daemicke said.

To tell the story all aspects of the story, there were many set pieces. “This a more scenic heavy show,” Daemicke said. “It changes a lot of locations. We’ll go from a library to a gym or a scene outside.”

The musical first premeired in 1957, and the change in time period also forced content changes. The antiquated aspects of the show caused the production team to make cuts. “There was a song that was extremely sexist that we cut, Cawthorne said. “Keeping the show modern in its own way without actually making it modern, that was difficult.

Despite the drastic time difference, actors were to find similaries in themselves and in the characters they portrayed. “It has really taught me a lot about myself. Throgh the character I realized that I have a lot in common with her,” junior Renee Boone who portrays Marian said.

The changes to production did not deter the cast from putting forth their best effort and celebrating their success. “We all screamed and put our arms around one another, it was phenomenal. The reason it was so special though, is because even though it was a giant cast, and so many people from all over, we all had come together over the same inconvenience, and put on a show we were all extremely proud of,” said Jackson.