Songs for a New World In a Pandemic?

Anna Harkin , Staff Writer

Although we have been in a pandemic for over a year now, THS has still powered through in producing an actual musical. Songs for a New World is now available to watch on Tickets are $8 and the recording is available until May 29.

The cast and crew are smaller compared tot he other musical in previous years, with only eight people in the cast.

Songs for a New World is basically a showcase of songs and nobody has a really set character. They don’t even have their own character names. It’s not necessarily a musical or a song cycle, it’s both. It was all be pre-recorded and they did not have any live performances.

Jamie Ramos, sophomore, is a part of the cast of Songs for a New World and this is the first theater production she has been in for THS. Ramos said that it has been harder because Covid restrictions affecting the show. Ramos said she thinks having to sing with masks makes it difficult and having to audition over Zoom was challenging.

Although it may be tough during rehearsals, the affects of the pandemic made some breakthroughs on things the cast didn’t notice before. Ramos said that Covid has made the theater community realize we could do things in a much more efficient or cooler way.

“Covid definitely gave us some strategies on how to stage better, like solos are going to look a lot cooler. Plus it’s recorded so even if someone couldn’t make it to the performance you could still show them at home.’

Ramos also believes that it brought a lot of people who wouldn’t normally do theater into the theater environment. But because of Covid there isn’t much to do so people are more interested in things they haven’t done before, like theater.

Aidan Miller, sophomore, is a part of the cast and this is the second theater production he has been in at THS. He has been is several productions at Topeka Civic Theater and other theaters. Miller said he felt awkward when the pandemic shut everything down because he couldn’t do what he looked forward to doing and it felt out of place to not do a routine that he was so used to doing. Nevertheless, Miller is very grateful to be able to still be a part of that type of environment during the pandemic and have the opportunity to be together and hangout with his friends again.

“I feel like with a smaller cast it is easier to bond more with the cast than it would be in a bigger show so I think it’s great that I get to spend time and hangout with my castmates.”

Not only have students involved in theater been impacted by the pandemic, the staff members have been too.

Alyssa Blaisdell, musical director, said she was very grateful to be able to work on a musical let alone do a show at all this year. Blasidell also hopes that THS students will be able to perform in front of an audience by next fall but because of how unpredictable the pandemic is. It could maybe be next spring, she said.

Blaisdell also believes that the staff of faculty and students is very dedicated and they made it possible for theater to still happen even in a time like this.

“It is very fun being able to work with students and making music with students again and not have to be isolated and singing from our computers and it’s nice to hear more than one person sing at a time,” Blaisdell said.