Middleton High School Theatre to Present Cinderella

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MIDDLETON–This pandemic year has been full of altered and interrupted plans in the academic and extracurricular lives of students and teachers. Since it has not been possible to bring audiences to the Performing Arts Center, Middleton High School (MHS) Theatre has presented several virtual performances this year.  

MHS Theatre is excited to present its spring musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” on a virtual platform, available for viewing from April 16-18 only.  But while the performance will be virtual, the creation of Cinderella allowed some in-person gathering of students and staff in socially-distanced, masked cohorts, working together to produce a visually stunning, filmed performance.  

As director Katrina Brunner notes, “Being away from the students, rehearsals, and even the space for so long made me remember the enormous educational and emotional value of these activities. Theatre grounds me just like it does so many students. The joy of, first, sharing spaces, stories, laughter, and ideas, and then sharing our work with an audience is beyond measure.” 

Consideration of safety for the student participants was paramount, but as in all MHS Theatre efforts this year, so was the question of how to present the work to an audience. A team that typically thinks of an audience sitting in a theater watching a stage now had to think very differently about production. 

“The process of making Cinderella come to life was challenging. At the beginning, we all felt prepared for the production. We had previously created a filmed version of the 1950s B-Movie Teenagers From Outer Space in the fall, and we figured this show wouldn't be much different. But little did we know how much different, and more difficult, this production would be. Every detail had to be taken into account: cameras, file storage, audio recording, sound mixing, and above all keeping our cast and crew safe from COVID,” said Senior Vivian Wagner, a future UW-Milwaukee Film Production student.

Technical director Zane Enloe echoes these thoughts, “Like everything that we've done this year, the process has changed and adapted as we go along. Hopefully we never have to do it exactly the same way again, but if we do, I think we'll be ready!  Everyone has put a ton or time and effort into getting this all put together, and I'm so glad we were able to get the kids all in the same room, even if it wasn't in front of a live audience.” 

Brunner was also impressed with the creativity of her students.  “Theatre always teaches us how to solve problems creatively, adapt, and explore our limits. With this project, all of that learning was magnified. I couldn't be more impressed by the work and commitment of the students, and, I hope, the determination to make this happen, despite obstacles, will stay with them. It was great to see them interacting and laughing together, while 3-6 feet apart, she said”

Maryclaire Sullivan, one of the MHS student sound directors, commented on the new learning that she and her fellow student sound director focused on. New software, new COVID safe sound recording strategies, and a new sound board resulted in “a little trial and error, but the days we spent preparing set ups and double or triple checking mixed audios showed to be worth it in the end.” Sullivan felt very supported by her student peers as well as staff “to make this show the best it can be.”

Wagner, student head of film production and post-production for the show, felt, “The show began to take on a mind of its own, becoming less of a filmed performance and more of an actual movie. This shift in artistic direction made the show more fun to work on and allowed us to really utilize the change in art form. We were able to get unique shots from all angles of the stage, even filming scenes backstage and around the entire PAC, something that a normal theatrical production team couldn't dream of showing an audience. While it took much longer to film and edit in a short period of time, the hard work and hundreds of hours made the end result better than we could have imagined.”

“The students began preparing for the musical in the fall and we began rehearsing over Zoom, which definitely presented its challenges, but they continued to work hard and prepare as much as possible while we were meeting virtually.  Once we began meeting in person in February, things really started coming together quickly, and we were able to move to a model where we would rehearse on Mondays and then have our music recording session on Wednesdays.  Our fantastic tech crew helped us so much along the way, and we wrapped up our last recording right after spring break.  We are all looking forward to seeing and hearing the finished product!” Musical Director Jamie Pitt stated.

Learn more about the show and view the show program and poster on the MHS Theatre website, middletontheatre.org. Viewing passes are on sale now and will allow streaming of the performance on April 16-18. The whole family can watch on any device with an Internet connection. Each household viewing pass is $10.25, including fees. Visit MHSWI.Booktix.com to purchase a pass.

 
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