By Chris Crymes
Photo by Chris Crymes
Putting a theatrical production together is an arduous task even when the world is in peak conditions. Casting actors, rehearsals, set building, costume design and practically an endless amount of other worries all must be taken care of and ironed out before final tech rehearsals. Add a COVID-19 pandemic to the mix and TJC theatre’s annual spring musical seems out of reach; however, the theatre department has worked to bring students a new musical: “Disenchanted!”
Initially, director Denise Weatherly-Green had chosen “Nevermore,” a mainstage musical centered around Edgar Allen Poe, but then COVID struck. So, Weatherly- Green postponed this large-scale musical production and chose “Disenchanted!” instead.
“So why ‘Disenchanted!’ in its place? Because we have an abundance of talented females (although I have thrown in a tiny bit of cross gender casting), and I adore the concept of this show,” Weatherly-Green said.
She and assistant directors Aidan Wilt and Rylie Patrick are excited to bring this concept of, according to Weatherly-Green, “a lighthearted, jovial romp through the lives of our classic female heroines.” This reimagining also strikes home for Weatherly-Green.
“Having raised my girls on Disney. So, I get a real kick out of the women in this show. They are who I’d want my girls to embody, not the damsels in distress,” Weatherly-Green said.
With this in mind, the production has to be done within COVID-19 safety measures, which, for theatre, this comes with its drawbacks.
“Theatre is probably the most intimate form of art. Because of this, it makes it hard to keep everyone safe,” Wilt said, “We’ve had to stage scenes, solos and whole dance numbers while keeping our performers at least six feet apart.”
These setbacks have come in a litany of forms for the aspiring theatrical team, but they won’t be kept down.
“It’s a struggle for sure, but it also has forced us and the rest of the crew to come up with creative solutions to problems that would never arise in the pre-COVID world,” Patrick said.
But, according to Wilt and Patrick, there is a silver lining surrounding these procedures.
“With our safety measures in place and even the blocking set up, we can have fun and still feel safe. I don’t have to go to rehearsal with a subtle fear in the back of my head that I’ll get sick,” Wilt said.
The COVID precautions are also in place for the audience It’s for this reason that seating for the show is first going to students enrolled in a theatre or theatre appreciation course. If there is seating available after those seats are filled, then other currently enrolled TJC students or faculty can attend. The department also wishes to not widely disclose the show dates for all productions this semester. If interested in attending shows, contact Lara Smith, theatre and performing arts department chair at, email@example.com or 903-510-3242 for show dates and seating availability.
“We hate to turn people away,” Smith said, “but we still would love to have all who can attend!”
The department will also offer hand sanitization stations and social distancing in the lobby alongside the reduced seating in compliance with COVID-19 safety measures. Refreshments will also not be available for COVID safety reasons.