School Musical is Coming Soon: What it’s Like to Perform Without a Stage


Photo by Ms. Johansen

Sherry Hausman, Writer

As the student actors of Emerson Junior-Senior High School prepare for their musical debut on the screen rather than a stage, students struggle to feel a connection with both cast members and the show itself. 

Emerson’s musical, Frozen Kids was announced on January 6th, 2020. Because of Covid restrictions, Mr. Ullman thought it would be best to make the show a movie this year. He wanted to be able to see the actors act and sing, without masks covering the actors’ faces. Many of the cast members of the previous show were eagerly waiting for the new musical to be announced after last year’s show, Mamma Mia, had been cut a week before closing night due to the pandemic. It was devastating for the students and teachers who had participated in the show.

An actress of last year’s show and this year’s show, who had preferred to remain anonymous, stated, “It was as if we had run a mile to not receive a prize, it just felt unfinished.”

Mr. Ullman had settled on making the show a movie because he felt it would be most accommodating for Covid restrictions. The production’s film sights will include outdoor areas from around the school with students together, in masks and six feet apart. Also, they will include green screen edits of students with and without their masks performing scenes and songs. However, the show will most prominently be filmed from home, which has not been as easy as Mr. Ullman expected it would. 

Students are enduring the challenge of sharing scenes without everyone in the same room. Students also have to find their own places to film, use their own props, and direct their own material. Mr. Ullman also had hardships in how he approached certain scenes. He had to choose what scenes got to be filmed at school, and what scenes can be filmed at home. Making decisions as a director is very hard for any show, but a show with so many limits and restrictions can be seen as much more difficult. 

It is not only the stage the students seem to be struggling with. Many of the actors are missing the feeling of the show and the sense of camaraderie with everyone involved. 

Katie Tenebruso, who plays the Queen and Sven in the show stated, “It’s the little things we miss. The adrenaline rush of the curtains opening, the sound of the audience laughing, the applause at the end of a number. Even at practice, we aren’t able to be close together and it is hard to connect with each other. It is a much more individualized experience.”

As of right now, the school musical has continued being filmed and rehearsed for it to be the best it can. Unfortunately, there are no longer in-person rehearsals due to a positive case of the Coronavirus. Luckily, most of the scenes that are left in the thirty-minute show can be filmed at home by the cast. The members of the cast and their families are anxiously waiting opening night.

Emily Butler, who plays young Anna, explained how though this may have been a different kind of show, she has still enjoyed herself and is excited to see everyone’s efforts. 

“Doing the show without performing, it is very different but it’s good to have these different experiences. It’s unfortunate that we cannot perform for an audience and hear their claps or laughter but now we get to see ourselves and watch all of our hard work.”