By Katie Flack
After the announcement of the school closure, many were disheartened at the idea of end-of-year activities that would be missed. However, many groups have found ways around this issue, the Chaparral Actors’ Troupe (CAT) being one of them. The spring musical, Sweet Charity, with the help of a dedicated cast and crew, is still planned to premiere on July 30.
The musical, written by Neil Simon, follows the character of Charity, a worker at a dance club who desires nothing more than to be loved. When she meets Oscar, she wonders if her dream is to be fulfilled, but when things go awry, she remains eternally hopeful that her luck will change. Drama Teacher Mr. Chris Irvin expressed, “This is a really fun show and it’s a very uplifting show at the end, the audience will see why, and I think none of us want to let it go, you know, we put this much time into it, it’s so much fun. . .it’s one that I think we’re all willing to fight for instead of just saying ‘Okay, we can’t do it,’ we want to be able to say, ‘Let’s at least try for the sake of the show and the sake of the audience.’” Furthermore, cast and crew members have largely agreed that the experience has been enjoyable, even if it has gone in an unexpected way. Freshman Madi Edwards, one of the assistant directors along with Freshman Adam Gromko, said, “Everyone has been working hard as a group and individually to get this production going. . .Honestly, we’ve worked pretty well considering what’s going on right now. Everyone, they’re still joking with each other, just like they did in the black box. We’re still getting rehearsals done properly and there’s only been a few times where there’s been, like, a missed line.” Although the rehearsal experience has not exactly been typical, those involved are undaunted, still enjoying the process and giving it their all.
‘Giving it their all’ has often involved extensive practices thus far. Having started working on the musical in January, Irvin estimated that the cast has clocked in around 150 hours of rehearsal time since. Edwards stated, “We’re doing rehearsals on Zoom and it makes me sad that we can’t be together, but honestly, it’s still the way it was, like, we still have that close bond and we’re still really comfortable enough to rehearse with each other. . .It is very effective, I have noticed.” However, the medium does pose some difficulties. Irvin explained that since there is often a “delay” when using the platform, it “doesn’t work well for doing vocal rehearsals, at least not group vocal rehearsals,” a tough position for a musical. Luckily, individual rehearsals along with dance rehearsals are still possible and the group is working tirelessly to pull each aspect of the show off. Before the school was closed and the stay-at-home order was enacted, the show was nearly finished, with a planned premiere date of April 23. After the state was physically put on lockdown, aspects of life were put on hold as well, including the production of Sweet Charity. Without an end in sight, Irvin, Edwards and the rest of the cast decided that they would push to perform the show near the end of the summer so that their hard work would not go to waste. Irvin explained, “I’m hoping, at the very least, we would be able to have the cast together and we could at least record it and possibly live stream it in the unlikely event that we can’t have an audience, I hope we do, but we’re trying everything we can to be able to get this show up and running just because so many hours have been put into it.” After the immense work this dedicated cast and crew has placed into the show, the cast remains excited for the planned performances and grateful for the memorable experience. Edwards voiced, “As a freshman, I never, ever thought I would experience anything like this. . .it has all just been such an awesome experience. I can’t thank Mr. Irvin enough for all the opportunities he has given me. . .Thank you Mr Irvin, stage crew, the cast, and Adam for making this year amazing.”
Despite the obstacles in their way, the cast and crew of Sweet Charity proved to be immovable, striving forward consistently for a production they each believed in. With more rehearsals planned, the drama department eagerly awaits their summer performances.
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