The show will go on despite pandemic challenges

First major JC theater production in over a year will be performed in May

Aeowynn Ayres, Assistant Entertainment Editor

In late May, John Carroll will be performing the production, ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.’

This musical is about six tweens who are all competing for the same thing: to win the county spelling bee. These children spell strange words, hoping not to hear the ding of the bell that symbolizes a mistake.
According to Director Larry Hensley, this production was chosen due to the fact that actors and actresses would still be able to comply with COVID safety rules while performing.
Mr. Hensley said, “We wanted to provide theater to our students and the community as soon as we could safely do so. We had cast a musical review for December, but we went into full-time distance learning the day after it was cast. Those performers have been invited to participate in a performance coordinated by a Senior Project this spring.”
Sophomore Gracious Ndungu will be playing the youngest competitor in the Bee, Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere.
Due to the pandemic, rehearsals are different to accommodate COVID safety rules. Gracious said, “Depending on the day, rehearsal can look different. If practice is virtual, Mrs. Julie Parrish runs song parts with us, so we are ready when we need to sing in-person together. When we have in-person blocking rehearsal, Mr. Larry Hensley helps us prepare numbers and gives us tips on things we should work on before the performances. Both aspects are important to putting on a successful show.”
There have been some obvious challenges that come from pulling off a production during the pandemic such as social distancing on stage and not sharing mics, but there also have been some unusual challenges. The cast is not allowed to use the dressing rooms, and there will be no backstage crew. There will also be no intermission.
Gracious said the most challenging thing for her is the virtual singing. “I think the John Carroll theater department has been handling the pandemic with stride. However, something I miss is in-person vocal rehearsals. The majority of singing practices are virtual; I miss getting to learn songs with everyone throughout the production process.”
Tickets will be purchased at the auditorium. Seats are restricted to follow social distancing rules, similar to how they are set up during school days. Audience members will be required to keep their masks on for the duration of the show. The show will be performed May 21 and May 22 at 7:00 pm and also May 22 and May 23 at 2:00 pm.