Though COVID-19 took away their chance to perform during the school year, Apollo High School’s Blue House Players will finally show off their musical — “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” — for limited audiences this weekend.
All actors will wear face masks and social distancing will be enforced for the performers and audience but, regardless of the changes, the show will go on.
The musical has been in the making for months. Auditions were held in November, and the 15-person ensemble was putting the show together by December. All that momentum hit a speed bump when COVID-19 struck.
After severe weather caused the group’s March 12 show to be postponed, AHS Theatre Director April Berry said she was nervous that COVID-19 would cause another cancellation.
“We assured the kids it would be OK but, of course, I was very nervous that week because things were shutting down,” Berry said. “The next day, on Friday the 13th, we had to shut it down.”
The nine actors and six tech crew members were disappointed, Berry said. For five of them, it was their senior year and final high school performance.
A performance of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was rescheduled for early April, but it was again postponed due to the pandemic. At that point, Berry and her students made it their mission to put on the performance before the end of summer.
With most of the five seniors heading off to college in the fall, the group knew they’d have to make the play happen by late July or early August.
Donning masks during rehearsals, changing the choreography to maintain social distancing, and putting props in spaced-out storage bins — rather than having the tech crew run them to actors onstage — became the new version of the musical.
Berry said she got nervous again this week in hearing Gov. Andy Beshear would be establishing new restrictions, but said she was relieved that they wouldn’t affect the musical.
“The kids are ready,” she said. “We brought in the parents on July 18. That way, at least the parents would get to see the students’ hard work over months and months. The kids are really excited to be able to come back. They’re not only amazing performers, but they have such a big heart for this show. I could’ve said, ‘We have to do the whole thing backwards,’ and they would’ve done it.”
The AHS auditorium seats 410 people, but only 50 people will be allowed to attend the Friday and Sunday shows, Berry said. The custodial crew will do a deep cleaning on Saturday between performances.
Tickets will not be sold at the door, but a box will be made available for anyone wanting to donate to the AHS Blue House Players.
The musical will be performed at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Those seeking tickets should email Berry at April.email@example.com.