MILLSTONE – The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will not stop students at the Millstone Township Middle School from taking part in a musical production in a manner that will ensure their safety.
“Making Magic” will be streamed on May 7 at 7 p.m. to ticket holders. Tickets are $10 per individual and $25 per household. Beginning April 23, tickets may be purchased online at mpac.thundertix.com
According to the show’s director, Lisamarie Cappuzzo, “Making Magic” features 37 students performing 17 songs, dances and scenes from 12 Broadway shows.
“All of the songs help spread a message of hope, encouragement and better days ahead,” Cappuzzo said.
Rehearsals for “Making Magic” have been conducted remotely through the Zoom video chat application.
The show’s musical director, Heather Philhower, said the students will record their vocal performances remotely and then lip-sync to their recorded tracks on the stage of the Millstone Performing Arts Center at the middle school.
The students’ performance on the stage, with the pre-recorded audio, will be edited into the show audiences will stream on May 7.
As a stage manager for “Making Magic,” eighth-grader Hamilton Appel described how the remote experience has been different from her participation in previous productions.
Hamilton said while she has been running attendance and helping the performers recite their lines, she has not been able to see all of the singing and dancing.
“It’s not all live,” she said.
Eighth-grader Ethan Bailey said his experience with remote rehearsals has required more self-practice.
“You have to be self-reliant and practice on your own a lot more,” Ethan said. “I pay a lot more attention, especially because it’s harder to react and respond to others, but we are still together. It still feels like we are doing a play.”
For eighth-grader Scott Cairns, one benefit of “Making Magic” is that it allows the students to perform songs from shows they would not generally be able to appear in, such as “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Hairspray” and “Footloose.”
Although Scott said he prefers to rehearse in person, the young man said he has enjoyed the remote production.
“It’s making us more of a family. I have been having a lot of fun with it. Singing is mostly the same, but we are learning it slower and making sure everyone gets it right. This is about keeping theater alive during the pandemic. It may not be normal theater, but it’s theater,” he said.
Seventh-grader Greta Vitug said the remote production has required more individual work, but she said “Making Magic” has maintained the feeling of previous performances.
“It’s been pretty interesting. We have felt a similar magical feeling, with the same connections to people and our fellow actors. We are still able to come together, even without practicing together. I’m excited to see us all sing together,” Greta said.
For sixth-grader Ella Nipoti, “Making Magic” marks her first show at the middle school and she described the experience as unique.
“I get to be with everybody, but in my room. It’s really fun. The eighth-graders took me under their wing and helped me out. Still, I can’t wait for an in-person experience next year,” Ella said.