On Friday, March 13, 2020, an announcement came over the loudspeaker at school stating that starting the following week the Waynesboro Area School District would be closed.
You remember this time, I’m sure.
The beginning of the Pandemic – how our worlds would shut down and forever be changed.
I don’t have to remind you what happened after that. In fact, on some level, we haven’t fully come out of this era yet.
But I believe we are on our way.
As news spread that afternoon, members of the All School Production cast anxiously awaited what would happen to their show.
That night was to be their opening night.
The director of the production insisted that the show would run.
For three glorious performances, the students wowed their audiences with “Hello Dolly.”
As a parent of a member of that cast, I am forever thankful the director lived by the mantra, “The show must go on.”
Many high school productions across the country that year never saw their opening nights. Months of rehearsals and hours of long practices came to an anti-climactic halt and some of the highest of talents graduated without their senior performances.
The continuation of the Pandemic in 2021 prevented not only high schools but theaters across the world to keep their curtains closed. In fact, Broadway didn’t reopen until September 2021.
In March 2021, the students of WASHS performed a cabaret of sorts – featuring small vignettes from various Broadway shows. Students rehearsed and performed in small groups of 4-5 to allow for limited interaction and to make social distancing possible.
The students persevered, delivering a medley of shows that spread hope of better days to come.
But still, it wasn’t the same as having a true All School Production.
When the auditions for this year’s show, “9 to 5,” were announced in October, not only were the students overjoyed but so was I.
I have so many fond memories of participating in the musical when I was a student at WASHS and I was so happy that now these students would get to create their own as well.
The cast, crew, and directors have worked for three months on this production, in the hopes of bringing back the legacy of WASHS musicals.
Many have battled through sickness, uphill climbs, and defeating circumstances since 2020’s show.
Every one of these students has spent their “carefree high school years” dealing with a Pandemic – how many of us can say that?
This week is what is known as “tech week” – the week leading up to the weekend of the production.
It is a grueling week for not only the cast and crew but also their directors.
Final touches are being put on costumes.
Hair and makeup styles are being sorted out and experimented.
Microphones and spotlights are being tested.
And the anxious anticipation of opening night is right around the corner.
This week isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.
But the sound of the audiences’ applause – and (hopefully) some standing ovations will make those long rehearsals and hours of work seem like distant memories.
As we strive to get through (what I hope are) the final stages of the Pandemic, it seems fitting that this year’s All School Production is set to open this weekend, illustrating that even though things have changed and we have often been filled with uncertainty, the beauty of teamwork and tradition are still evident in our hearts and souls.
Take some time this weekend to support these students and their production of “9 to 5” at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.
Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.
Tickets can be ordered online at https://washs-all-school-production.ticketleap.com/9to5/ or at the door before each performance.