DENMARK, Wis. (WFRV) – It was an uneasy feeling for students and staff at Denmark High School as they entered the beginning of the school year. They normally start planning their school productions a year prior, but COVID-19 overturned their plans.
“For a while, we were not even sure if we were going to be able to do anything, we had no idea. But then in kind of late November, end of December, we started realizing we might be able to do something,” says musical director Lucas Jordan.
This spring, the Denmark High School Theater Department is performing the 70s off-Broadway hit, Godspell. The musical follows a small group of people who help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a variety of techniques.
“Godspell is about a group of individuals who come together. They come together under a teacher, and learn about love and what it is to love in community. They do this through a lot of parables that you would see in the Bible, but it’s more in a secular context. The kids get to actually interpret each teaching in their own way,” says Jen Treu, the musical’s creative director.
Denmark High School is one of the few schools in Northeast Wisconsin that is doing an in-person and virtual show. The cast performed in-person in February for the family of the cast and crew.
“I’m overly grateful, because I didn’t think anything was gonna happen. I thought my senior year was just going to be filled with school and nothing else., so I was super excited when they first announced that they were actually going to put on a show this year,” says senior Joseph Umentum, who plays “Jesus.”
“We kind of went into our senior year just being like “ok, this is it we have to go through the whole year with nothing, basically,” and then to have something to look forward to and to be with our friends, it was very nice and it kind of makes it worth it,” says senior Zoe Shefchik, a cast member of “Godspell.”
As students and staff navigated a world of firsts this year, from wearing masks to filming a production to stream online, they say they became like family during the process.
“The nice thing about this show is that there’s an underlying message of like a community coming together, and I think that’s what we kinda learned through this pandemic, we needed to come together. And I think this show is a really good reflection of that,” says senior Garrison Anderson, who plays “Judas” and “John the Baptist.”