Massena staging virtual ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

The 2018 Massena Central High School spring production was “The King and I,” which included a cast of Jennifer Hadley, Evan George, Kameron Dailey and Kristen Paige. This year’s production will be “Little Shop of Horrors.” Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Central High School musical is back this year, but with some limitations.

The students will be performing “Little Shop of Horrors” virtually on May 21 and 22.

“Based upon the circumstances, we are seeking to offer a musical performance in the spring of 2021 which balances health and safety while offering students an opportunity to perform,” Musical Theater Director Christopher Lincoln told Board of Education members Thursday night.

He said they used other sources in creating a safety plan for the musical, such as the district’s sports safety plan, national theater and plans from other schools.

“The thought was small cast, small pit, very little set requirements. It’s basically a five-week run, which is less than half of what we usually have. Little Shop of Horrors fits that bill quite nicely,” Mr. Lincoln said.

The pit will include five musicians and no wind instruments, he said.

Under the musical safety plan prepared by Mr. Lincoln and high school Principal Alan Oliver, masks will be worn by all personnel and there will be 12 feet of distancing for singing and six feet for dialogue.

Mr. Lincoln said they’re exploring the use of see-through masks with a microphone tucked in the mask. All cast members will have their own microphone during the entire rehearsal and performances process.

Dancing will be kept to a minimum, which Mr. Lincoln said is different from many of their recent shows. Large ensemble songs or dances can be limited or altered as necessary.

Students will stand a minimum of 12 feet apart while rehearsing. Those rehearsals will be done in either the chorus room with seven or fewer singers or the auditorium with eight or more singers.

There will be minimal body contact, and student groups will be kept to the minimum, with only students who need to be at rehearsal allowed in the room. All students, staff and volunteers will need to sign in to each performance, and everyone will have completed the district screening tool prior to being allowed into any rehearsal or performance.

Under the proposed timeline, auditions and show cast will be on Wednesday, rehearsals will take place from April 14 to May 14, and production week and dress rehearsals will be on May 5. The show will be held virtually on May 21 and 22. The show will only be live streamed on YouTube or a similar platform. No audience will be allowed in the room, and only required personnel will be allowed in the auditorium for performances.

The school’s Musical Theater Department wasn’t able to stage last year’s production of “Newsies” because of COVID-19. The production had originally been scheduled for March 27 and 28. But when the state directed that events with 500 or more people in attendance be canceled or postponed, it was moved to April 25. The situation never got any better, though, and the final decision was to stage it in late July. But that, too, was canceled because of the pandemic.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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