TUSCALOOSA, Ala. 2/25/21 - Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre kicks off its 35th year with the premiere of a new virtual musical The Show Must Go Online!
The show will premiere March 6 at 6 p.m. CST on TCT’s website. The performance is being provided free of charge in honor of TCT’s founders and history as a community organization open to all.
“This is our gift to Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties in recognition of all the support we have received over these many years from volunteers, patrons, sponsors and donors, civic and religious leaders, foundations, fellow non-profit and arts organizations, parents, schools and educators, enthusiastic audiences and countless others,” Board President Marianne David said. “Our community created TCT and we are proud to remain a strong provider of art education and entertainment for Tuscaloosa.”
TCT will celebrate its anniversary with multiple activities announced throughout the year to honor its founders and the numerous casts and crews over 35 years.
As part of the celebration, TCT dedicates this first show of 2021 to Shelley Jones and Dee Ward whose vision brought together the necessary forces and funding to create TCT in 1986. The original group of parents, educators, and theatre professionals identified a need for the youth of Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties to educate and expose children to all aspects of stage performing and to have opportunities to perform. Today, TCT offers onstage and offstage opportunities for hundreds of children each year, and houses audiences of thousands of children and families annually.
Although COVID-19 led to the cancellation of TCT’s previously scheduled live performances for the 2020-21 season, the theatre has continued to engage young thespians and audiences with alternative performances and plans to return to the stage with a live production in the fall.
The Show Must Go Online! was written in response to the coronavirus pandemic to allow young performers the chance to continue performing from a safe distance. It was written exclusively for Zoom by Jessica Penzias with lyrics by Dave Hudson and music by Denver Casado. Rehearsing and recording were done online and directed by TCT’s Artistic Coordinator Drew Baker with Board Vice President Richard Livingston providing music and video editing support. It is presented through special arrangement with Beat by Beat Press (www.beatbybeatpress.com).
While recorded separately, when strung together the videos tell the hilarious story of a group of drama students desperate to keep their annual musical alive and their frazzled drama teacher who is helpless with technology but committed to helping her students realize their dream. In creating the show, the writers considered what kids and drama teachers have been experiencing during the pandemic and worked those themes into each scene – including the antics and technical mayhem that comes with performing a musical online. The result is a comedic and fun storyline designed to lift spirits when we all need it the most.
“We had so much fun being creative and rehearsing this show,” Baker said. “The storyline is so relevant to what we are all experiencing right now and offers a chance to reflect on how our lives have changed the past year and how to make the best of a challenging situation.”
All schools are invited to view the performance and TCT has created a Teacher’s Packet with guided discussion questions and activities for classes. The run time is approximately 35 minutes and references within the script make it best suited for grades 4 and higher.
Executive Director Stacey Messina said a donation link will be available after viewing for anyone who wishes to make a small gift to TCT with a variation of 3 or 5 such as $3, $5, $35 and so on.
“We hope the community enjoys watching this show as much as we enjoyed making it,” Messina said. “We look forward to sharing more news soon about the exciting activities we have lined up for the rest of our year-long anniversary celebration.”
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