The Show Must Go On

RMHS Theater and Choir Program’s take on performances during Quarantine

Though the curtains have been drawn on many extracurricular activities, the RMHS Fine Arts department refuses to take its final bow. From choir performances to the spring musical, directors are determined to continue practicing the arts, even from behind a computer screen. Directors Stephanie Svarz and Caitlyn Walsh, of the theater and choir programs, shared their perspectives on this impromptu break.

The choir program specifically has kicked off quarantine with a bang, with their rendition of West Side Story’s “Somewhere”. It was originally destined to be their spring choir concert, but that was quickly cancelled with the stay-at-home order. In spite of this unfortunate situation, Walsh and senior performer Grace Anderson took the concert into their own hands, editing together a collage of each choir member singing the song in harmony. To their own amazement, the video quickly went viral on Twitter. This sudden fame resulted in many appearances on popular news channels such as WGN as well as Access Hollywood, accompanied by live interviews of Anderson. 

“We of course did not expect that performance to go viral,” Walsh explained. “It was all very exciting and gave us more hope and confidence to continue singing and performing together virtually!”

Keeping the artistic spirit alive, Svarz has been hard at work instituting a handful of new programs to give students an outlet for creativity. Among these projects were the wildly popular Virtual Talent Show and InstaShow, two opportunities for virtual artistic expression. 

“Human beings are naturally curious and creative, and I feel that art is inherent to our existence,” Svarz insisted. “Although the circumstances around us are abnormal and difficult, I believe that we, the artists and creators, have stepped up to make our experience hopeful and positive!”

Among the many upset and confused theater enthusiasts is senior Will Brice, who expresses his regret for the countless cancellations, and his gratitude to his directors for providing chances for theatrical expression: “I can’t imagine life without [the fine arts]. They give people a place in this world and amazing groups of people that they can call lifelong friends.” 

And, perhaps the most highly anticipated of all, the Spring Musical. The Rolling Meadows production of “Shrek: The Musical” has been dramatically knocked off its axis, having transitioned from a timely schedule of after-school practices to a series of uncertain Schoology updates, Zoom calls and Remind texts. Nevertheless, Svarz and Walsh encourage the students and staff to remember that the musical has not entirely been cancelled.

Unfortunately, Shrek the Musical and our Acting Showcases have needed to be rethought – I don’t want to say that they have been interrupted – perhaps rethought.” Svarz assured. “We will still be able to do both of these programs, but they will look different than they originally were supposed to.”

The students and staff of the RMHS Fine Arts department wish to spread joy and entertainment in these tough times. Says Walsh, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”