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  • Writer's pictureThe Eagle

525,600 Musical Minutes of Covid

By Morgan Lietz--Eagle Staff Writer

The United States has officially been on lockdown for over 525,600 minutes, aka one year. 2020 was a difficult year for most, filled with highs and lows, hope and despair, and above all else, a pandemic.

Mary-Hannah Wheeler, Theater Director, has been working to provide some sort of normalcy for her students throughout the pandemic.

Many of the actors have expressed that the students have been through so much the past year and that it's important for them to be able to express all that they’ve experienced.

“We had to have a musical this year to display how we perceived the year through the best way we know how,” expressed crew member and senior Emma Pasley.

Having a Spring Musical was extremely important to Wheeler.

“They deserve some sort of recognition and celebration of all they've accomplished, big or small,” she said.

Having a Spring Musical means so much to all the seniors involved as well.

“I wanted to have my senior night and I wanted to have something to point to and say look at what I've done,” stated senior actress Emily Egenberg.

Having a spring musical is creating a space where students could do just that.

“Theatre is everything to me. I would choose it over everything. Theatre will be something that I will always love no matter how old I am," added Junior, Greene.

Participants say theater helps students find who they are and to express themselves.

“Theatre truly helped me to be who I am today," commented Egenberg.

Wheeler put the musical together herself. All the dialogue in the musical was taken directly from real news clips reporting on events that occurred during the pandemic.

All the songs in the musical were taken from different Broadway musicals and put together to form an original composition. Some of them are more famous than others.

Some of the songs are borrowed from Broadway musicals like Rent, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hanson, and God Spell, just to name a few.

Derek Shorter agreed to be the musical director. Shorter was the musical director for the distinguished Broadway musical, Wicked.

Shorter grew up in Franklin County and is in fact an alum of FCHS. Since Broadway shut down, Shorter has come back home, awaiting the reopening.

He is currently working with all of our actors to help them get into the best possible singing shape they can be in.

Not only is Shorter the musical director, but he also will be a part of it. Shorter will be the pianist for the musical.

One of the biggest concerns about holding an in-person spring musical was the protection of the students.

Wheeler’s number-one priority is keeping her students safe. During rehearsals, everyone social distances and wears a mask.

The musical will be held on May 21 and 22. There will be three showings, two matinees, and one regular showing. There will be concessions with minimal contact to try and ensure everyone’s safety as well.

In order to maintain the safety of all people involved in the show, the show itself will be held outdoors, drive-in movie style. People can come and watch from the comfort of their own vehicles. All actors will be wearing face shields as well to protect both each other and the audience.

There is a suggested donation of $10 dollars for maintenance of the theater department and to pay for the expenses of the show.

"During this past year of COVID, we have not been able to have normal performances that bring in a large amount of funding for our department. So, we decided this year with such an interesting show and unique situation we would like to ask for donations to support the department," finished Wheeler.

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