Like so many events this year, the Ladysmith Secondary School, (LSS) musical production of Newsies was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Newsies (2011), a musical written by Harvey Fierstein, is set in the world of the 1899 Newsboys Strike in New York.
Each year, LSS puts on a musical production. Work on the production typically spans the length of the school year, but really gets underway in January.
Recent LSS graduate, Aedan Geiger said that the cast had just finished learning the music for the production when the COVID-19 pandemic started taking hold.
The cast was meant to begin learning choreography and stage work. LSS teachers Bill Taylor and Rod Alsop, who support the production every year, made it clear to the students that even a week of missed classes could be devastating to the production.
“I remember everyone that found out about that broke down,” Geiger said. “Most of us were teary-eyed. There was a lot of disappointment.”
After a month of lock down and at-home schooling, Taylor prompted the students to think about a way that they could salvage the show, and create some joy for the community. That led to the creation of a six-and-a-half minute video showcasing the LSS talent.
LSS student, Logan Steel was recruited by Taylor to film and edit the video.
The video opens with a drone shot that looks down on an iconic Ladysmith alley. Steel said they wanted to make use of his drone to give the video a professional look.
“We wanted to intrigue people and show them it’s not just a regular video shot by kids for fun. We tried to make it as good as possible,” Steel said.
Steel has been filming and editing videos for a few years now, and posts regularly on his YouTube channel. He said that he would happily film a video for next year’s musical production as well, however that may play out with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I felt really good to make something that meant a lot to people,” Steel said.
LSS student, Michaela Segreto took a leading role in organizing the cast for the video. Segreto set up groups of students and times to film to ensure that social distancing took place. She also made sure that hand sanitizer was provided to the students.
“I would sit down for sometimes two to three hours looking at the schedule trying to figure it all out,” she said.
Segreto kept the cast up to date through a show specific Instagram page. The cast would come to pick up costumes made by show costumer designer Heather Priestly from Segreto’s porch.
The video has garnered roughly 1,200 views. Normally, LSS would put on six shows that accommodate 150 to 200 patrons per performance. For family, friends, cast, crew, and the community as a whole, the video has made a positive impact – something Segreto said was important to her and everyone involved.
“It was important to me to do this because I know how supportive and loving this cast is. They’re such an amazing group of people from the director, to the cast, to the crew, they’re just incredible and it was so much fun working with them. We wanted to create something to commemorate the memory of the show because it really meant a lot to a lot of people.”