Looking for Ways to ‘Rock’

The Spotlight Players plan “Schoolhouse Rock Live” despite pandemic


Samantha Reise

The cast of the spring musical dances on the stage in the auditorium. Due to limited time to work together, the cast tries to make the best use of the time they are allowed to have to rehearse for the show.

They dance on the stage. Their singing is muffled, with masks over their faces, performing their hearts out as the FHC cast of “Schoolhouse Rock Live”. 

The story is about Tom, a brand new teacher that is nervous about being in the classroom for the first time. Figments of his imagination and childhood come to life and remind him that he has everything he needs to teach his students from the music of Schoolhouse Rock, which he watched when he was young,” Theatre director Cori Stallard said. In an attempt to make the year more normal Ms. Stallard, the officers of the FHC Spotlight players, Elizabeth Baird, and Melissa Dumas, we’re all a part of the decision to put on this production.

We were trying and striving to make it as close to a ‘normal’ year as possible,” Ms. Stallard said. 

Junior and Student Tech Director Jenna Woelfel explain how this show will work in the world of a pandemic.

 “We’re super diligent about masking up, and we don’t even have to tell people to put their masks back on, which I think we should take pride in! We also have less people on crews, and a smaller cast this show,” Woelfel said. 

Ms. Stallard also explained how people will be viewing the show with COVID-19 being an issue. 

The streaming will be April 30 and May 1, there will be no live audience for the performance. We will be streaming the performance. So they can watch it comfortably in their own house,”Ms. Stallard said. 

Rehearsals for this show will also be different to avoid spreading the virus as much as possible. Instead of normal years where all cast rehearsals are in person there will be about two weeks that are virtual. Crew rehearsals however will not change from previous year, they will be all in person, everyday from 2:30 to 4:30. 

The goal of theatre is to entertain, so without this integral piece, it’s difficult to adapt.”

— Jenna Woelfel

Sophomore Joseph Hornberger gives his perspective as a cast member what it is like being a part of this production with the virus continuing to spread. 

“Singing can be hard because of the mask, I get winded and muffled quite frequently, there are other restrictions such as where we can perform, which also can be hard to get around,” Hornberger said. 

Woelfel has been a part of multiple  school productions and she explains how she misses live audiences at shows and how adapting has been a struggle for her.

“We have traditions that we look forward to on show nights that we now have to modify. Yet I think the biggest change is the fact that we aren’t allowed to have an audience. The goal of theatre is to entertain, so without this integral piece, it’s difficult to adapt,” Woelfel said.

Other than the numerous changes due to COVID-19, the environment of the show is as normal as ever. Hornberger tells us what he feels the environment is like on cast. 

“Because the musical we are producing has almost no [dialogue ], we almost always practice singing,” Hornberger said. “ [And] everyone is very accepting and willing to help which is very encouraging,” Hornberger said. 

As a member of the production staff, Woelfel explains how being a part of that team truly broadens her responsibilities.

“Instead of just being in charge of one crew, you’re now making substantial design decisions that will affect the outcome of the major vision of the show,” Woelfel said. 

Woelfel focuses on her favorite pieces of this show including the incredible music, set, and atmosphere of the show. 

“The bright colors, and the 70s style of the show is my favorite part,” Woelfel said. “All of the songs are so nostalgic for me because I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock.” 

Enjoy watching the FHC Spotlight players performing “Schoolhouse Rock Live” April 30 and May 1.