Working the Musical
Abington Musical WORKING will be streamed on April 29 and 30
March 31, 2021
Over the weeks in March, students in the Abington High School Drama department have been filming for the school musical, “Working.”
Last year at this time, the cast was inches away from one another while making music and performing on stage without having to worry about Covid-19.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, actors cannot have a live audience and have to film their show. This is one major adjustment made in the way performers “do” theater.
Like most students returning to school, students returning back to drama did not know what to expect. Director Steve Shannon said, “It was exciting and scary all at the same time. With our show last year being cancelled, it was important for us to offer something for our theater students and to be able to share it with the community.”
The other challenge was adapting to filming the production to be streamed instead of performing live on stage in front of an audience.”
— Mr. Steve Shannon
In March of 2020, the performance of Mamma Mia was cancelled. Shannon said, “I regret that no one got to see the beautiful work we had done with Mamma Mia last March. Like everything else this past year, we had to reinvent the way we did things.”
Shannon remains hopeful. He said, “Our mantra was to do the best we could under the circumstances. I think the cast and crew exceeded my expectations. I wish we had been able to present this live for an audience, but I am very proud of the work they did and am very pleased with the outcome. ”
Shannon chose the musical “Working” because, “We were looking for something that didn’t have a plot or lots of interactive dialogue because we didn’t know when or if we could rehearse in-person,” he said.
Performers often had to learn bits of the show on Microsoft Teams. For the musical numbers, actors only got choreography sessions once a week. These are some of the challenges of performing during a pandemic.
There was no indoor singing until late February, so most of the singing prep was done as individual solos and group numbers. When singing, members of the cast would be in the outdoor parking lot in the back of the school near the gym, with chairs 10 feet apart. Mr. Shannon and his keyboard punched out vocal parts.
“All of the music had to be pre-recorded to be in compliance with safety guidelines,” Shannon said.
Besides the singing, “The other challenge was adapting to filming the production to be streamed instead of performing live on stage in front of an audience.” Shannon said that Abington CAM and the filming crew did “awesome work.”
The cast of “Working” found other ways to adapt in order to present this musical to the community despite the pandemic. They used boxes on the stage that were six feet apart so they could safely social distance. Also their acting sessions to talk through those who had individual monologues and scene work was mostly done individually or at home.
The end result is the cast pulled it all together.
Visit showtix4u.com and search “Abington” to order your ticket package. Your ticket will get you in to watch the show on April 29th and/or 30th at 7 p.m.
Note: The contributor of this article for the Green Wave Gazette, Hannah Johnson, is also in the musical WORKING and a member of the Drama club.
Spotlight on Actor Brendan Remillard
Abington senior to perform in the musical “Working”
“Working the musical” is based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with American workers. The musical was originally produced in 1977, but in 2007 -2008 it was revised. Some new songs were put in, such as, “A Very Good Day” and “Delivery” written by the creator and song writer of the famous show “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” Lin Manuel Miranda.
Senior Brendan Remillard will be playing the roles of Mike and Tom in “Working.”
This is his third year in the Drama club. He has performed in “ Grease,” “Almost Maine,” and last years cancelled show, “Mamma Mia” in which he played Sam Carmichael.
Remillard said, “My favorite thing about performing is stepping on that stage and feeling the heat of the lights and hearing audience applaud.”
When asked about how he felt about the shutdown of last year’s show, Remillard said, “Although it was horrible, I still feel as it was a huge learning curve for all of us.”
Despite the loss of last year’s show, Remillard offers words of encouragement: “Some advice I would give to someone who wants to start theater, do it! Nobody is going to think anything less of you because theater is hard, not everyone can do it. It takes talent. Step out of the box and try new things.”