NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – For students at Neenah High School, performing on stage is more than putting on a costume and reciting lines. It’s a chance to feel normal again.
“It’s been a really, really tough year for everyone,” says junior Sean Price.
The school is putting on a production of the musical Sister Act, which was inspired by the 1992 film of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg. The show follows Deloris Van Cartier, who has just witnessed her gangster boyfriend Curtis Jackson and his goons murder someone. Deloris runs to a police station and tells the police chief what happened. He suggests she stay in a witness protection program, sending her to a convent.
Janae Owens, a junior who is playing Van Cartier, the lively nightclub singer turned nun at The Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith.
“I’m so grateful and happy that we can do this, because theater is so important to me and not only that but the people in theater are even more important to me,” says Owens.
Students are putting in long hours preparing for the musical, which will be live-streamed. Price spends about 13 hours a day at school, including classes and rehearsal, but he says it’s worth it to be performing.
“So many places wish they could do something like this, so having this opportunity and having everyone be so supportive of it no matter the situation, has been really awesome,” says Price.
The school is choosing to follow CDC guidelines due to the size of the cast and crew. The directors encouraged students to try a new acting concept this year. Students will look directly at the audience instead of their fellow cast member in a scene. Each actor is given their own cube they can use to store props and costumes as part of their “performance space.”
“We wanted to make sure we staged it in a way that if one person were to contract COVID, it wouldn’t infect everyone. We’ve been really strict about distancing, masking. They have dealt with so much change and they’ve pivoted so nicely that we just wanted to give them an outlet to be creative,” says the musical’s director Kathleen McCurdy.
The show will be live-streamed, with a limited in-person audience. Sister Act will be available to stream Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17 at 7 pm. For more information on Neenah High School’s production, click here.