In the Spotlight: Musical goes from virtual to in person this year


A'myrah Cheadle, Staff Writer

The sounds of tap shoes and powerful voices echo through the auditorium. The actors move back and forth across the stage as they turn practice into a sing-a-long.
From learning choreographies and singing onstage to memorizing scripts, the theater department prepares to perform the musical “Mary Poppins”. While picking which musical to do, they had to consider how many males and females were going to try out.
The theater director Elizabeth Nelson and fine arts department chair Robin Christie came up with the idea for the theatre department to perform “Mary Poppins.” Senior Paul Ruf, who plays the character George Banks in the musical,said he is glad that the directors chose this musical.
“I’m excited that we finally settled on a musical but it did take a little while to figure out what we could and could not do with the amount of boys we had, so that’s one of our major factors,” Ruf said.
While play practice is going on, theater students create a bond backstage by rehearsing the script with each other and watching others perform on stage.
“We all sit down and sign in and get right to work, and it’s pretty much whoever is in that specific scene or song they practice and the other people will sit and watch,” said sophomore Peter Dessert who will be playing the character Bert. “ People talk, engage, it’s a good time.”
Due to COVID-19, the theater department is figuring out ways to keep everyone safe. They are taking into consideration the cast and audience health.
“As of right now we are hoping it doesn’t have to be super different,” Nelson said. “It will just depend on when we get to November where we are at, but I’m hoping worst-case scenario that we only have to wear masks backstage and when they’re on stage they can take their mask off.”
Last year the musical was virtual, so this year the cast hopes to perform the musical with a real audience. According to Clare O’Brien she is still skeptical about whether or not masks will be worn, including senior O’Brien, who plays the character Winifred Banks.
“It’s really amazing to be able to do it again and be able to have everybody on stage, hopefully without any mask, and to have an audience too because there were virtual shows,” O’Brien said.
Many seniors, according to senior Cara Parisi who plays the character Mary Poppins, are dreading the fact that it is their last year performing at Miege. A few such as O’Brien, Parisi and Ruf hope to have an acting career in the future to grow in their passion of performing.
“I’ve done theater outside of Miege while at Miege, so it’s not heart-wrenching but it’s one of the last shows I’ll do with my friends here,” Parisi said.
With the musical scheduled for Nov. 11-13, each week brings more excitement for the cast and crew, according to Nelson.
“Opening night is always super exciting, and it’s the first time we have an audience,” Nelson says. “Usually, at that point Mrs. Christie and I have stopped laughing at the funny parts because we’ve seen them millions of times, so finally there is somebody to react to what they’re doing again. I think the kids are just really energetic and excited to have somebody else see their show.”