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Write Now: ‘Sister Act’ To Be Performed Virtually At RCS

From left, Eve Adams, Alexis Sevenish, Sara Smith, Alexis Shellenbarger, Riley Henry, and Gracyn Rowland are nuns in “Sister Act” at Randolph Central School.

Starting about a year ago, COVID-19 was the reason everything was canceled, put on hiatus or delayed.

The arts community, local and national, took he hardest hit. Musical theater productions, ballet shows, concerts, movies, and TV shows virtually crawled to a standstill during the pandemic, but now there may be a light flickering at the end of the tunnel. Concert tours are starting to be booked for the fall as well as more movies being made without production being sequestered as a group in one location. With the vaccine rollout, the pandemic guidelines are slowly being loosened.

And that means area high schools can begin to produce spring musicals — virtually of course. According to Randolph Central School Drama Club Productions Director Andrew Garvey, “Sister Act” will be produced online.

“We made the decision to do Sister Act online only as a precaution. Last year we had to cancel our show on opening night due to the spread of COVID-19, and this year we didn’t want to put anybody at risk,” Garvey said.

Garvey added that students are wearing masks at all times, unless they are alone on stage. “They also maintain 6 ft of social distance where possible, and they are required to sanitize their hands before touching props or other actors. Even though this has been challenging, the kids are all very excited to be able to perform.”

Kipp Reynolds of Kranky Plate Productions, 215 Spring St., Jamestown, is handling all the video recording and post production work, such as editing and final sound mixing, Garvey noted.

The show is being streamed through the website ShowTix4U.com. The direct link to the production is www.showtix4u.com/event-details/45907. Tickets are $10 per streaming device, so, Garvey said, a family could buy a ticket for $10 and all sit around the same computer, laptop, tablet, etc. and watch the show. There are also options to make an additional donation to the club should anybody feel so inclined.

“There will be no stream lag time because this show will be entirely pre-recorded, edited together, and then released. So when people watch it, it will be like watching something on Netflix,” Garvey said.

The director also noted that another reason he want to live stream the production was the manner in which the show was canceled in 2020. “We were informed we had to cancel our show on opening day, only about four hours before curtain. We had invested thousands of dollars into our show, and we ended up not selling any tickets to recoup that loss, which was devastating for a club that relies on ticket sales to keep us afloat. We literally could not afford to let that happen this year too, so the decision was made to go online to mitigate the risk of cancelling,” he said.

Since the show is pre-recorded, the audience gets to decide when the curtain rises. The show will be available through the streaming website from Friday, March 5 at 7 p.m. to Saturday, March 6 at 11:45 p.m. “So people are welcome to watch it at any time during that window,” he said.

The director said since the show will be released in a video on demand format, there shouldn’t be any need for refunds due to codes not working. “Once a ticket is purchased, an e-mail will be sent to the address provided which will contain the code and step by step directions with how to view the show,” he said.

There will be one camera used, but they recorded certain scenes multiple times to allow for closeups or moving camera shots as needed.

A full sound production was also built in for the show where the cast’s microphones will go into a mixer, and the mixer will send it directly into the camera along with a very quiet version of the performance tracks for the show. “In post-production, we will then add the actual music on top of that and mix it as needed,” he said.

One unique feature that patrons will take away from the show, he said, will be the performances of the cast members. “It didn’t matter what hoops we had to jump through or what restrictions had to be put in place, the students were full speed ahead since day one. I think their excitement to finally bring this show to life will shine through in their performances,” he said.

So this show probably will set the stage for future performances as theater companies and schools can figure out the best way to get their shows seen by the public.

In either a pre-recorded format or a live performance, that is somewhat like a TV network’s pay-per-view service, the arts community will make a strong comeback.

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