The Curtains (Try) to Open in a Post-COVID World

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Dallas Myers, musical director, during rehearsal.

Elena Scott, Editor

“The show must go on” was not the case for the theater department this week. The first Olympia High School musical since 2019, Curtains, came to a crashing halt after multiple members of the cast and crew tested positive for COVID-19. The show announced its cancellation on the day of its much anticipated opening night. “Have hope. Be kind to each other,” says the OHS Theatre Arts Instagram in the cancellation announcement. The director has rescheduled the original seven showtimes to three, with dates later this month. 

For senior members of the cast, this would be their first time on stage for a musical since 2019. For all underclassmen members, this would be their first OHS musical yet. “It’s very bittersweet… especially with COVID, we missed a whole year so [we didn’t have] as many shows,” says Bridget Murphy, Senior Thespian at OHS. The cast and crew have been preparing for Curtains for over two months, and have been waiting for the opportunity to perform a musical for two years. “It does feel like we’ve been building towards it,” says the Director of Curtains and Drama Teacher, Dallas Myers. “Not doing [a musical] last year felt really bad. I felt like I let a lot of kids down. So this year, I came in with the mindset that we’re doing the musical come hell or high water,” says Myers, before the decision to postpone. Unfortunately, hell and high water have both come to challenge the opening of this show. 

These seniors were Myers’ first freshman, and have had the opportunity to work closely with him the last four years. Even during the pandemic, Drama Club and the Theater Department continued to have regular, well attended, zoom meetings. “I think this is a great send off for them,” says Myers in regards to the seniors leaving. “I know them. I know them as people. It is always a little bit bittersweet,” he adds. 

The theater department is one of OHS’ largest activities, and has even seen new members since returning to in-person school. “I wanted a show that fit a theme of being better together,” says Myers on his choice to perform Curtains this year. The process of selecting a Spring musical begins almost a year in advance, and this year, was not finalized until a few weeks before auditions. For Myers, choosing a musical is more about content and theme rather than just name recognition. Although, he did acknowledge that ticket sales were not as high as when they performed Mamma Mia, a much more popular musical, in 2019. 

Members of the Curtains cast and crew are not the only ones to have faced COVID outbreaks within extracurriculars at OHS. Many sports such as the Boys and Girls Basketball also faced high COVID cases, and even cancellations in some cases. 

As members of the Olympia High School community try to emerge on the other end of the pandemic, and return the school to normalcy, they continue to face challenges from the virus. The Theater Department is not letting this postponement deter their spirits, and urges everyone to pack the house for the rescheduled shows. “The cast and crew are hungry to put this show back on the stage for you. Don’t you think they deserve some sold out houses when they come back?” says the OHS Theatre Arts Instagram page. As always, all we can do is keep moving forward.