The Musical: Adapted For COVID

By Rory Collins and Nadya Ansari

The musical is one of Beaver’s most beloved performances and activities each year. Seniors get their moment in the spotlight, costumes are made or bought specifically for each character, and overall the level of production feels professional. Last year, just as Rent was about to start rehearsals, COVID hit. After lots of preparation from the performing arts team, the spring musical is finally back on track! However, the production is going to be different from past years. This year will be a musical review, featuring songs from newer musicals like Hamilton, to classics like Cats or Thoroughly Modern Millie. While this show may be different than prior performances, costuming is also going to take a complete 180.

Similar to other productions this past year, the musical review will be virtual. Although this makes the musical different from past years, it also opens up lots of new opportunities with the online process. Technology allows for re-recordings of scenes and songs, using different editing techniques and unique filming opportunities. Recording while at home also allows a mask-less performance. There are also benefits from doing a review rather than a full show, for example, each cast member can select to learn, perform and showcase an individual performance. While in a normal show on stage there are specific songs and a specific structure, in a review it gives the actors themselves an opportunity to perform something they want to work on. We spoke with Ms. Eddy about her costuming work on the show and how it was different from a normal year, and when asked about the benefits she stated: “There are a couple benefits from a costuming standpoint to doing a revenue instead of a whole musical. Firstly, doing a revue allows our show as a whole (not just costumes) to expand or contract based on everyone’s commitment level during a pandemic since we recognize that this year has had a different effect on everyone. Second, a revue gives us an opportunity to do a wide ranging exploration of different plays that we would not be able to do with a traditional musical, in addition to the ability to take the songs at face value and think about what the songs could mean out of the context of their shows. Lastly we are not constrained by a single story which has opened up design opportunities to several costume students.” 

We also asked Ms. Eddy if the costumes for this review replicate those from the Broadway shows containing these solo pieces. Her response was: “Given the nature of the review, it is not our intent to focus purely on the famous versions of the shows as they have historically been presented. The costumes for some of the numbers will be purely the design of costume students and some will be influenced by their famous counterparts. It is really all about the story telling of the song itself rather than the bigger musical it came from.” The virtual premiere of this review will be on June 8th over zoom, we hope to see you there!

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