A WPHS Original: How to Write a Hit Musical

Strenuous months of hard work and dedication finally paid off when lights lit up the stage on April 30th, for the premiere of How to Write a Hit Musical— the first original show written by the director, Ms. Fanelli, herself.

Alaina Pagulayan, School News Editor

Dating all the way back to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, nerves had already been high and confusing for all students as they got used to the new environment of distance learning provided for them by the pandemic. In addition, students were anxious to find out if activities for socializing, making friends, and even building college resumes would even be a reality. Sports seasons were pushed back, club meetings and events cancelled, and fundraising was 10 times more difficult, so in terms of the Spring Musical, things were not looking too good.

Despite all the confusion and hopelessness, teachers, parents and students were relentless in appealing to the school board for a chance to make one of the most popular events at WHPS happen. 

Thus, beginning in December, WPHS students found out that their beloved show was a possibility, of course staying within the COVID guidelines. Weeks were spent preparing videos for auditions and waiting for cast lists and schedules to come out. Once rehearsals started, it was clear that things would not be the same as previous years.

Due to COVID regulations, actors could not sing their songs, nor could they interact with each other except when on stage. Instead they would lip-sync to a recording of their voices and stay six feet apart as much as possible, affecting the way an actor would portray their character on stage and with others around them. Directing was definitely more difficult this way, as was finding a way to place everyone on stage while staying at a safe distance. 

Cast and crew struggled, especially during tech week. Finding a place for rehearsal in the schedule was hard enough, but with tech week occurring amid sports seasons, the cast and crew were forced to put in extremely long hours. 

With the lights being positioned only one day before opening night in the gym instead of the original plan to be outside, or even in the theatre, stress was at an all time high.

There were countless complications in preparation for the show, including members of the cast being quarantined, problems with wardrobe and lights and sound as well as the music. But despite all of those problems, the show managed to go off without a hitch. 

Opening night was packed with excitement and nerves. After the success of the first show, everyone was much more confident in their performances. Closing night was especially sentimental because it was live streamed for at-home audiences in the community and also because it was dedicated to the graduating seniors. After a challenging senior year, they were grateful to be able to perform in one last show. It was a bittersweet moment, but their final bow was one of the greatest and they definitely deserved the recognition for all of their hard work.

Congratulations and a big thank you to the cast, the crew, Ms. Fanelli, Mr. Warren and Mr. Limey for pulling off an amazing show in the midst of one of a global pandemic. This year’s musical will go down in history!