The operetta must go on | May 28, 2021 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - May 28, 2021

The operetta must go on

After a one-year gap, Woodside School's annual show will be streamed instead of live

by Kate Daly

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 63rd eighth-grade operetta at Woodside School is back, but breaking with tradition and being streamed online.

A recorded version of "Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr." will be shown twice, on Saturday, June 5, at 6 p.m., and on Sunday, June 6, at 5 p.m. Tickets are on sale until June 5 to watch the performances on electronic devices.

For safety reasons, all 46 students in this year's graduating class were prerecorded in small groups in early May. A production company taped vocals when they spread out and sang in the school's outdoor amphitheater, and then students wore identical face masks when cameras rolled in Sellman Pavilion to capture their acting, dancing and lip syncing.

Robyn Freedman Cornyn, one of three parents co-producing the show, said that the upside to not going live in front of a large audience is the students felt a lot more relaxed performing because videotaping and then editing can correct any mess ups.

Students returned to campus last fall, and have been keeping in the same socially distanced cohorts ever since. The same three groups rehearsed and taped together, which led to divvying up the main role. Following the 1970s cartoons the musical is based on, new teacher Tom Mizer is anxious about his first day of school. Various characters advise him on what to do in 12 songs such as "Just a Bill" and "Conjunction Junction." In this class's version of "Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr.," 11 students all play the role of Tom.

COVID challenges like that became all part of the job for Gary Stanford, Jr. of Woodside when he signed on as director, musical director and choreographer.

Tickets range from $25 for an individual to $60 for a family of four. There's also an option to buy a concession box of baked goods and a program. They're available online at tinyurl.com/wes-operetta.

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