Plays, musicals find their audience online

After weeks of set-building, mem­o­riz­ing lines and songs, light­ing and sound checks and rehearsals, the two casts of the 2021 Neshaminy High School musi­cal, Little Shop of Horrors took to the stage on Saturday, March 20 in front of a small audi­ence of close fam­i­ly mem­bers spread out in the audi­to­ri­um and sev­er­al video cam­eras. For the first time ever, the show was record­ed and streamed on the inter­net one week lat­er for an online audi­ence to enjoy. Since pan­dem­ic restric­tions severe­ly restrict­ed the num­ber of audi­ence mem­bers that could see the show in per­son, a license to broad­cast the show online was pur­chased and four dates were sched­uled (two shows for each cast). Under the terms of the license, the show could only be viewed at spe­cif­ic times as though it were broad­cast live.

Little Shop of Horrors cast

Little Shop of Horrors cast at Neshaminy HS

Wearing spe­cial trans­par­ent masks while on stage for Covid-19 pro­tec­tion, the cast mem­bers per­formed the show four times, with the final two per­for­mances cap­tured on video. This musi­cal com­e­dy is an adap­ta­tion of a 1980’s film, which itself was based on an off-Broadway musi­cal based on a 1960’s Roger Corman film. It fea­tures a fast-growing car­niv­o­rous plant with an appetite for human blood. The Vocal Music Boosters at NHS held a suc­cess­ful GoFundMe cam­paign to raise mon­ey to rent sev­er­al Audrey II pup­pets for the show, the final one of which is large enough to swal­low cast mem­bers whole. The show was direct­ed by Vocal Music teacher and NHS Choir Director Kristin Nichols.

Maple Point MS stu­dent records a song

The three Neshaminy mid­dle schools are also plan­ning on hold­ing vir­tu­al musi­cals lat­er this spring. Carl Sandburg Middle School will be per­form­ing the Disney hit, High School Musical and shar­ing it on video dur­ing the month of May. Poquessing Middle School will per­form Schoolhouse Rock Live, an adap­ta­tion of the retro Saturday morn­ing edu­ca­tion­al car­toons. Their per­for­mances will also be record­ed and shared with the pub­lic on stream­ing video also in May (at times to be coor­di­nat­ed with all the mid­dle schools). Maple Point Middle School is cur­rent­ly assem­bling cabaret-style musi­cal that will fea­ture selec­tions from sev­er­al shows. Using a every­thing from green screen tech­nol­o­gy to choir per­for­mances brought togeth­er on multi-track soft­ware, the show will also be pre­sent­ed as a video that will be shared with the com­mu­ni­ty in May.