MISHICOT, Wis. (WFRV) – High School theater looks a little different this year, but that isn’t stopping students from putting in the work and having fun.
This season, due to COVID-19, the Fox Cities PAC is putting on the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program with virtual workshops for students and directors across Northeast Wisconsin.
As part of the program, students have submitted a Behind the Curtain video about their production and department.
Mishicot High School and the student production team is presenting The Hallburgh Files: Case 220 on November 20 – 22.
This is what students had to say about their experience.
The Hallburgh Files: Case 220: This virtual vignette musical begins early one morning when a group of individuals is visited by Detective Hallburgh for questioning. Someone has stolen a diamond necklace worth $30,000 from Harris and Martin Jewelers. Whodunnit? Will the Detective be able to crack the case? This outwardly unconnected group of strangers is more connected than one might think!
What should the audience know about the production?
Mrs. Tracy Bauer, director, in collaboration with the Student Production Team, came together to write this musical. It was written to be performed and filmed from student homes and edited together! There was a great turnout at virtual auditions, so this year, the high school has a double cast which means lead roles for twice as many students! Through this process, students learned about film, film psychology, film production, and they have acquired enough confidence to not only perform, but to also run their own tech. equipment, which included setting up their own green screens, and doing their own hair and makeup! The music and lyrics were created by Mrs. Deanna Barkhaus, vocal director, and Mr. Shawn Postell, professional musician. Choreography is by alum, Riley Seib, and the ensemble is our very own High School Concert Choir! Mrs. Heidi Griffey, Mrs. Carrie Sand, and Mrs. Lori Rose have also been instrumental to the show’s success by providing expertise in costumes, hair and makeup, and scenic art.
Why did you select this musical? What goals do you hope to accomplish with this particular show?
We wanted to create something that we could perform together regardless of the circumstances. We wanted to give students an activity that would not be canceled–something they would be able to look forward to, work on, and produce together even from a distance, while working on performance skills. We wanted to teach the students that in times like these, it helps to focus on what we can do. We chose a mystery because we are surrounded by unknowns–our world feels a bit mysterious, but we can turn that into a positive, and that’s what this musical represents! We also wanted to provide an opportunity for our viewers to escape from the seriousness of life with a quirky and fun production.
Are there any unique production elements in your show?
The songs are super catchy! Our characters had to learn how to act by themselves since they filmed alone (with the exception of our brother/sister pairs who also play brother/sister roles–it was the only way we could have two people in a scene together without masks).
This is the most unique show to date in Mishicot High School. We are making history! It is not a lesser form of performing arts, it is just different. We are hoping that everyone who watches the show is able to see how confident, independent, and resilient our students have become.
How do you engage your school and/or your community in your productions?
We have over a third of the high school involved in this show. We had student-led groups for tech this year that assisted with pre-production and post-production from costume assistance to prop making. Although we were not able to run as many community events as we would normally this year, our students involved their families in the filming process–turning their parents and siblings into mini production teams at home!
What are the benefits of students participating in high school theater and educational programs like Center Stage?
The performing arts programs in high schools provide transformative experiences for actively involved participants and for the viewing participants. Students generate a love of performance, music, and acting while creating confidence, work ethic, teamwork (even if it is virtual via Zoom rehearsals), and problem-solving. This continues to foster big dreams in a small town.
Educational programs like the Center Stage program create lifelong memories and friendships for our students, all while they learn from industry professionals. This year, they’ve also been able to witness how others have been adapting and staying engaged with the arts even when conventional stages are closed.
The skills and information they’ve gathered through Center Stage workshops help them to be successful, well-rounded performers, and the feedback they receive from the adjudicators encourages continued growth. Not only do they work on individual skills, but they also become part of a larger community where they are set up for success when participating in the arts after high school We continue to feel honored to be a part of the program.
Even though the show is virtual, you can still watch it online any of the days you’d like. Just name your price for tickets starting at $5.