When a pandemic distances everyone emotionally and physically, the arts can always prevail and bring people back together. Despite the challenges and stress Covid has brought students this year, the Bethpage High School Masquers Guild remained persevering and still put on a show, albeit a little different than their usual performance. They proudly presented The Curtain Calls: a Bethpage Musical Revue, live to a small audience on April 23rd for the first time this year.
Due to social distancing restrictions and the question of returning back to school in person up in the air, Virtual Enterprise teacher and Masquers Guild Director Mr. Murray wondered what the school productions would look like in this new age.
“During the summer I genuinely thought we would be limited to a virtual show. With the Covid protocols I did not think we would be in school past October, let alone have a school musical production,” says Murray. Luckily, the planning for the production went smoothly and left only the question of how rehearsals would pan out.
Instead of the usual three hour long, full cast rehearsals, Mr. Murray carefully scheduled rehearsals for groups as small as possible to practice their songs and choreography. Aside from Covid, the new timing of extracurricular activities and sports posed a surprising obstacle. “With the new sports schedule that was added in the spring, we had to make some adjustments to ensure everyone could participate in all activities.” The cast was able to preserve and give their best effort every time during their limited practice time to create a wonderful final production.
In place of three live performances, the Masquers Guild utilized professional videographers to capture the stage performances to preserve the integrity of live theatre. The cast spent two evenings recording their performance and had a small audience of close family for a final live show on Friday fueled by unparalleled energy.
This year’s production took the audience through different famous Broadway musicals, spanning different decades, genres, and themes. With numbers from A Chorus Line, Grease, Hairspray, Les Miserables, Wicked, and more, students are able to have their time in the spotlight without fears of violating Covid restrictions.
Though many things did change, the spirit of the Masquers Guild remained strong. Despite the distance between, the sense of community and family was preserved as castmates cheered on their friends from the audience, something they could never do during a regular performance.
With another successful musical in the books, the Masquers Guild continues to illustrate the magic of performance. You can catch their recording in the coming days and enjoy the return of live entertainment!