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The show must go on

First slide

Although prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns have left dust gathering on the world-renowned Broadway stages, the arts haven’t shut down for good. Theater students at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly have taken advantage of in-person classes to produce their upcoming musical, "Godspell," live onstage.

Producing a show has not been void of challenges. The fall play "Deck the Stage" gave students and the school’s theater director, Kathy d’Alelio, experiences in streaming shows online.

"I had never considered virtual shows, ever," said d’Alelio. "However, I wanted the theater kids to have as normal a year as possible."

Outside organizations helped make St. Paul VI’s shows possible. A virtual conference by the Educational Theatre Association with presentations from ticket companies gave d’Alelio the information she needed on how to stream a show to an at-home audience.

Her motivation and desire to keep the stage lights shining was matched by the student actors and technicians in the theater program.

"Everyone was really good at respecting the COVID protocols to keep us safe," said Sabrina Smith, stage manager. "We have tackled each new obstacle as it has come, and this problem-solving thinking will help us after graduation too."

"The fact that we are overcoming the challenges posed by COVID is a testament to the dedication and desire of our students to keep doing the best work they can in the classroom and on our stage," d’Alelio said.

As a result, the sense of community and family in the school’s theater has only grown over this year. During "Deck the Stage," filming and technical problems often became a tedious matter; however, peers of those performing their scene filled up the audience, still social distancing, to provide live reactions, laughter and applause.

For "Godspell," there will be one exciting change: The show will allow a limited in-person audience. Senior Karina Morey, who plays one of Jesus’ apostles, says that the show has a "contagious energy to it," stemming from its ensemble-based musical numbers and energetic choreography. "I am so grateful that we have been able to have in-person rehearsals and that we will have a live audience soon, especially given how unpredictable this year has been."

It's a sentiment d’Alelio shares: "coming soon after Easter, its themes of Jesus' community of followers coming together, telling the parables and witnessing the last days of his life felt so perfect for the times today. ‘Godspell’ is fun, carefree, silly and joyful. Theater has always been important in times of strain and difficulty and could not be needed more than it is right now." Bringing some light to the long, dark tunnel of this pandemic through the arts is exactly what the PVI Players hope to achieve. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021