“We’re bringing new life back into the theatre after not being in there for over a year,” says junior Joey Boveri about Lovett’s spring musical showcase.
Lovett theatre kids started the school year not knowing what the performing arts program would look like. With strict safety protocols, the theatre department found a way to put on two outdoor plays, but for a while, it seemed like a musical was out of the question. That is until some Upper School students took initiative and spoke to the fine arts head to figure out how they could make a musical performance happen.
Theatre teacher Mr. Seth Decker was happy to take on the project of a musical showcase, even with the ongoing challenge of Covid and the short timeline for the show.
“It’s actually been fun because the show is another thing that they told us was impossible at the beginning of the year,” Mr. Decker says. Now, performers have the chance to return to the Hendricks-Chenault theatre for the first time of the school year, and they are thrilled to be acting and singing again in a completely unique production.
This February, Upper School students were called on to send in written pieces to be used in the show. As Mr. Decker read the pieces as they came in, it became clear that students’ experiences of simultaneously living through a pandemic and high school would be the theme of the show. Mr. Decker, who describes himself as the “tour-guide,” arranged an original, student-created show consisting of acting and Broadway music.
Junior Alizeh Chamadia, who both acts and sings in the showcase, says that the student-written monologues allow you to “see how it feels for students to go through Covid.” It serves as a reflection of everything that has happened since these actors last performed on stage.
As they consider their journeys so far, actors also have to deal with the ongoing reality of interacting with each other in 2021. Only eight students, spaced several feet apart, are allowed to perform without masks on the stage at once. While most of the scenes feature only a few students, there are a couple of times when all fourteen cast members are performing at once.
Still, all the actors are thrilled to have the opportunity to sing and act in a time when so few are able to do so. They also have the privilege of coaching for both singing and acting from two Broadway professionals, who flew down from New York to fine-tune their performance skills. This was an immense help to all of the students, who have put together this production in a record time of less than one month, starting practice just last March.
Despite all of the changes of the year, freshman performer Sterling Halad looks forward to seeing how the production comes together. “This is very new,” she says, “and very exciting, and it's going to be a lot of fun.”