FSC’s first licensed musical post-pandemic, The Drowsy Chaperone, is being choreographed by senior Musical Theater student Jonah Hager.
Hager is a Musical Theater and Dance double major who has made a home onstage in Buckner Theater. He was seen last year in both mainstage musicals in prominent dance roles and now, after a decade of performing, has a seat on the other side of the table.
“It [The Drowsy Chaperone] has been a great experience filled with wonderful people supporting me,” Hager said, “It’s a special moment being able to create your art on a larger, more public scale.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” features many musical numbers that call for a strong dance presence which presented a new challenge for Hager.
“The biggest problem was with social distancing and having everyone on the stage all at once,” Hager said. “I opened up communication between the actors and myself. We are all learning from the strange and novel issues emerging during the pandemic, so it was important to me that the cast were able to voice their concerns.”
Sophomore Madalyn Macko spoke highly of working with Hager.
“Jonah has been outstanding to work with,” Macko said. “He is very specific and detailed, but has maintained such a positive and reassuring attitude throughout all of the rehearsals.”
The overwhelming theme of the 2020-2021 school year has been adaptation. With new health guidelines in place, all of the FSC community has had to adjust. This includes the Theater Department, who have found new ways to keep their students engaged during the pandemic. Last semester, the Theater Department put on a re-adapted version of “A Christmas Carol,” largely put together by the department’s staff. “The Drowsy Chaperone”will be their first licensed musical.
Putting on a musical post-pandemic presents a few added challenges. The department has taken this into consideration; they have separated music rehearsals into thirty minute blocks. After thirty minutes, the cast switches location in order to let the aerosols fall.
“The biggest challenge with safety has been mostly mask related,” Macko said, “Quick inhalation for big dances or long notes is made harder, but it is improving our breath control overall, so it isn’t all bad.”
The Theater Department has continued to require their cast and crew to wear masks and worked to keep their show as socially distant as possible. Live Streaming will also continue to serve as the department’s way to showcase their performances. “The Drowsy Chaperone” will be streaming at 7:30 p.m on March 6 and 13, and at 2:30 p.m. on March 7 and 14.