By Abigail Burgess
When the curtain closed on the musical Annie last spring, nobody knew what the COVID-19 virus had in store for anyone. It was then assumed we would soon return to school and to normal life, and that Annie would be performed, but that did not happen, and now it is a new school year, which means that a new set of shows for the theater community are in question. Obviously, the process of choosing and staging the shows will be dramatically different from what we were accustomed to in previous years. There are too many unknowns right now as far as the state’s laws and guidelines are concerned to make any definite decision about anything, and this includes theater.
Usually, the musical is announced at the Telethon or after the previous musical had been completed. This year, it is slightly different because we don’t know if a musical is safe to put on for the actors, audience, crews, and directors. The fall production this year, Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, has a lot of unknown elements to it as well and this is the cost of keeping everyone safe. A potential option could be a virtual show, but even that poses so many factors that can complicate things. Even a virtual show requires rehearsals and collaboration.
Even though COVID-19 has affected the Frontier HS community in this way, the pandemic has also taken a toll on other major and minor theaters as well, including Broadway. Actors and actresses have gone months without being paid because the Actor Relief Fund ran out. Even though the musical is looking out of reach, the option need not be eliminated completely. For example, it is possible to move the production outside to increase air flow and social distancing for actors, stage crew, and spectators. Amherst High School just pulled off such an undertaking this past weekend. But as we move into winter, that option would have to be undertaken in the spring.
To conclude, a lot is not certain about the future. However, the possibility of being able to see a theatrical production and to participate in one is generating a lot of talk and energy and I look forward to the chance to beat the odds. .