As the orchestral prelude ended and the lights came down, members of the stage crew showed up onstage at Gettysburg Area High School’s 2021 musical performance, “Everything Is,” ready to set up their sets. As they looked around at each other and the audience, a bit puzzled, a voice from afar gently reminded them their services were not needed this year.
The reason of course was pandemic-related changes that led the cast to wear facemasks and social distance. There were no close dances, no embraces, no fistfights, and no sets this year.
Indeed, the original plan – a full performance of the 1973 show “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” was cancelled and replaced by a series of numbers from shows ranging from “Beetlejuice” to “Hamilton” to “Avenue Q.”
But the show went on, as they say, with comical, soulful, and often charming renditions of some of the most beloved numbers on Broadway.
The performance was directed by Greg Trax, joined by Music Director/Choreographer Kate Sainer, Music Director Carrie Conklin, Orchestral Director Krista Kriel, and Tech Director- Terry McDannell.
Especially notable this year were Harleigh Livingston, Ava Bankert, and Kylee Lorahwere in “Good Morning Baltimore from “Hairspray,” Joshua Sellers singing “You’ll Be Back” from “Hamilton” and a lovely operatic performance of “How Could I Ever Know” by Caitlyn Suerdieck from “The Secret Garden.”
The show ended with rousing dance choruses from “Avenue Q” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“I was so very grateful to the school and admin for allowing us to have an inside/live performance for an audience,” said Trax. I heard lots of great feedback from audience members that they were missing opportunities like this and that it meant a lot to them to get to watch live. I was very happy with the performance, and while not a full-on show, it was great to give these kids a chance to perform. They are always a joy to work with and I truly appreciate the cast, pit, crew, and staff’s efforts to make such an odd year feel like a normal show.”
The school has been approved to perform “The Addams Family” next year, hopefully in a more normal setting.
All three performances remain available for viewing on the school district’s YouTube channel.