By Notre Dame Academy
GREEN BAY – The show must go on.
English teacher Andrea Gilson was determined to make that happen for Notre Dame Academy’s musical this year.
Since there wasn’t a script designed to work around the limitations of performing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilson decided to write one about the reality her students were facing.
The original work, called “The Show’s Online,” is appropriately named, but ultimately gave Notre Dame students the opportunity to come together to create a special performance.
“The show is about a group of students that find out that their musical is being canceled,” said Gilson, who is the co-director. “The show itself mirrors the present situation they’re in and there are a lot of parallels between their lives today and the script.”
“The Show’s Online” was filmed in February and will be available for viewing online from March 20 to April 1 using AnywhereSeat.com.
There is a $5 donation recommendation to watch.
All of the musical numbers were recorded by a professional film and sound crew in Notre Dame’s auditorium with a live pit orchestra directed by Steve Johnson.
“It was important for us to have a live pit orchestra,” Gilson said. “During COVID times, a lot of pit orchestras are pre-recorded, but it was important for us to have the live pit orchestra be a part of the production.”
Meanwhile, all but one of the acting scenes were recorded using Zoom to mimic the digital channel many people have used to communicate and maintain social distancing with in the past year.
“It was very different,” Notre Dame junior Molly Kukiela said. “In a regular musical, we’re usually working the scenes lots of times, but we didn’t have as much time this year with each other as a group.”
Scheduling and carrying out the recording of performances for “The Show’s Online” was a tall task.
Students had to adjust to wearing clear masks while singing on stage, and had to perform their parts multiple times in a row to ensure the audio and visuals were correct.
“It was very strange having the last songs we recorded,” said Christine Salerno, a co-director of the musical. “I think we did it like six times because nobody really wanted it to end.”
In addition to the audio and video equipment, obtaining the copyrights for songs was another expense for the musical.
It’s why Salerno created an original song to help offset those costs for showing the musical online this year.
Students also got to provide creative input to the musical as juniors Abby Elfner and Skylar Schultz wrote and rewrote some of the scenes from the script, which Gilson originally drafted during Christmas break.
“We found ways to work together collaboratively and rise above the challenges to produce something completely fresh and original, and it really reflects all of the students’ stories,” Gilson said.
Senior Owen Campbell edited all of the footage to produce the final video.
Campbell has produced several video projects for Notre Dame and is going to pursue video production in college.
“We wanted to embrace his talents and utilize his talents,” Gilson said. “Not having the finality of it all can be a little nerve-racking, because you want to see the finished product, and it’s also exciting because it’s also something else to look forward to, because it’s not completely done. It’s a fun, very joyous and inspirational show.”
For more information about online show times, visit notredameacademy.com/students/school-musical.