“The show must go on” might be the best cliché describing Abilene High School’s fall musical “Disney Descendants.”
Plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cast and crew have gone through two 14-day quarantines and the postponement of the performance.
If all goes well, “Disney Descendants” will be performed to a limited audience Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The performance can also be viewed by Pay Per View.
“That threat (quarantine) is always there. As far as the virus is concerned, every single day is pretty unknown for everybody,” said Director Dannette Whiteley. “If someone else gets sick and tests positive, we have to quarantine those kids because they are in close proximity of one another.”
The students and directors wear masks during rehearsals.
“We can’t always maintain that six foot distance,” she said.
Disney shows are always entertaining, Whiteley said in selecting “Disney Descendants”.
“I thought it would be fun for families to come with their little ones to watch and enjoy,” she said. “The younger kids are really familiar with Descendants and that movie. Just bring a little brightness to the community when so much stuff has been taken away.”
Whiteley said because AHS was headed to a questionable school year with a lot of unknowns, “Disney Descendants” was partly selected because it wasn’t as long as a normal 2-1/2 hour show.
“At first I wasn’t sure they were going to allow us to do a musical,” she said. “I felt it would work well with the situation we would be in and that we might have to go remote at some point in time. It would allow us to get stuff learned quickly because it is a little bit shorter show.
“There are familiar characters from “Beauty and the Beast”, “Sleeping Beauty” and their opposite evils like Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella de Vil and it’s basically about their children,” Whiteley said. “Good and evil join forces.”
The plot has soon-to-be King Ben (Talon Penry), son of Beauty (Aidyn Waldrop) and the Beast (Mason Cook), living in Auradon, a place where the fairytale heroes live. He decides to allow four Villain Kids from the Isle of The Lost, a run down place where fairytale villains were banished, to come to Auradon. They are Mal (Naomi Dannefer), daughter of Maleficent (Allison Liby), Carlos (Lewis Trotter), son of Cruella De’Vil (Dighton Tokoi), Jay (Jacobi Robinson), son of Jafar (Teagan Decker) and Evie (Maren Meneley), daughter of the Evil Queen (Dighton Tokoi).
“They join forces and learn to live together basically and accept one another,” Whiteley said.
One of the members of the cast and crew tested positive for COVID-19, causing the delay in the original performance.
“Because we are around each other for a couple hours every night, we had to quarantine just to be safe,” Whiteley said. “We had to postpone the show.”
Rehearsals continued through Zoom but that proved to be a challenge.
“We basically ran the show with people in their houses. That was challenging because, when they are doing ensembles, singing and duets, they had to mute their sound and just hear themselves because there is such a delay in that format.”
She said that at the start of the show, the cast had to learn the choreography at the beginning through Zoom because of a two-week quarantine in September.
“We spent almost as many weeks in quarantine as we did together in person as far as rehearsal,” Whiteley said.
Because the audience is limited to 25 percent capacity, only 200 people will be allowed to view the live performances through social distancing between families. Because of the limit, the musical will be shown five times instead of the usual three.
Audience members must wear masks and family units will maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from other family units.
The administration has approved for the performers to be unmasked while on stage, much like it did with athletics. When they are off stage they must mask up. Audience members will be masked, socially distanced in family groups and over 20 feet from the stage as seating will not start until the third row.
In person tickets are being sold online through Ticket Spicket www.ticketspicket.com. One can download a free app on a mobile device, set up an account and purchase tickets. Tickets can also be purchased on a computer at the same site and then print the tickets for scanning. Tickets are $8 per person.
Abilene High School’s 5 Star Studios is also filming the production and it can be purchased through Pay Per View for $10 www.showtix4u.com/events and viewed at the 7 p.m. Saturday performance or 3 p.m. Sunday show.
There will be a Thursday performance for the Abilene Middle School students, limited to the eighth grade class this year.
Assistant directors are Amy McClure, the music director, and Melissa Ford, the choreographer. Sheree Glanzer is assisting with the music and Darren Whiteley is the sound technician.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.