SHS presents its first musical since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

As the old saying goes, the show must go on. And, it will be at Sherman this weekend.

Students at Sherman High School practice and hit the high notes as they prepare to put on “All Together Now,” the school’s first musical since the onset of COVID-19.

The show, which is only the second theatrical production to be put together by the school during the COVID-19 era, comes amid a difficult time for theaters and theater productions around the world amid an almost complete shutdown in 2020 and a slow return to business. Even further, the past 18 months have been difficult for many beginning artists who have had to learn their craft amid restrictions, social distancing and mask demands.

“We did a three week music review, which you don’t do, but these kids did,” SHS theater director Kyle Nichols said.

For the school, the musical represents multiple firsts. Not only is this the first musical that the students will perform since the pandemic began in early 2020, but it is also the first major production for Nichols in Sherman.

“All Together Now” is a music review that was published by Music Theater International as a fundraiser for productions across the country. Companies, like the SHS theater program, can put on the show for free, Nichols said.

The show comes in a revised style performance with songs and scenes from several Broadway shows ranging from classics like “Little Shop of Horror” to more modern plays like Green Day’s “American Idiot”.

The show comes during a difficult time for many production companies and theaters that have struggled throughout the pandemic, particularly throughout 2020. As conditions started to improve, Nichols said that it was still an uncertain time for many theaters.

“It’s a bit like movie theaters. People are starting to come back but not in the same numbers,” he said.

Recent struggles have affected performance as many theaters have had to shift their focus away from creating innovative new shows to simply focusing on survival during the current hardships, he said.

Many of these challenges also have an impact on school curricula, with many facing reduced budgets due to little or no production. This is in addition to the challenges of performing under COVID restrictions.

“What I have discovered over the past year is that we have had to find creative ways to convey our lessons that we have been teaching for so many, many years in this new formula that coexists with the pandemic,” says Nichols .

Kara Mathes is performing at a dress rehearsal for Sherman High School's upcoming performance of All Together Now, which takes place this weekend.

The school must host performances at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

SHS Junior Jasey Cain has said the musical represents something she has been looking forward to since her freshman year when COVID-19 brought a lot to a halt.

“With this musical event, we finally get something promised and we get it back,” she said.

Cain, who will play at Hairspray’s Tracy Turnblad, said she enrolled in the theater program hoping to do several performances alongside theater exercises throughout the year. However, many of these activities were ultimately not possible.

Instead, she and her classmates watched several performance videos and discussed the techniques used. Many exercises were completed electronically, including many storyboard lessons.

“So I went into freshman really, really excited about the opportunities in high school with the musicals that I would do and stuff like that, and then we come here, COVID is happening and putting the brakes on that,” he said. she declared.

While performers can pronounce lines and sing while wearing masks, Cain said other subtle aspects of acting, including facial expressions, have been lost and made the game all the more difficult. .

Despite these difficulties, Nichols said many of the fundamentals remain the same. While there are certainly differences with performers wearing masks and social distancing, he said artistically the performances are no different from what they were before the pandemic.