The Show Must Go On
Pomfret's theater troupe is staging its annual winter musical — from home.
Each year, students and faculty collaborate on a winter musical that combines theater, dance, music, and design. But this year, with Hard Auditorium gone dark, the show is being produced virtually. The titanic undertaking — complete with sets, props, and costumes — is a fitting tribute to our need for connection in a physically distanced time. “After all," says Theater Director Chip Lamb, "the show must go on!”
More than twenty budding thespians, scattered across the country and the world, are tackling this stay-at-home play. Of course, producing a musical from home has been a formidable challenge for students and faculty. "The process is typically difficult; theater is, by its very nature a labor-intensive endeavor," says Lamb.
The troupe decided early on that it did not want to try to produce a traditional musical virtually. The task would be too daunting and the results would be, most likely, disappointing. After some thinking, they decided on a collection of great moments from musical theater; favorite songs and dances with lasting resonance. And one of the first songs that was mentioned was “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent.
"I was a little surprised by the suggestion," says Lamb. "Seasons of Love was sung by the Griff Tones fifteen years ago. And even then, the show was already a decade old. Could it be true that our current students still look to this song as an expression of themselves?"
In a word: Yes.
Composer Jonathan Larson asks the pointed question in the lyrics of the song, “How do you measure a year in the life?” This is not simply a question based on the context of the play. It is a universal question that we all ask ourselves. How do we measure our lives, especially knowing that our lives are brief? In numbers? Sunrises and midnights? Laughter and strife? Or in friendship? Or...love?
"I strongly believe that our students are drawn to these questions because they are a challenge to each and every one of us," says Lamb. "These words ask us to put it on the line. What do we value most? Where do we find meaning? In our short lives, what is most important to us?"
During a recent rehearsal, the power of these words was undeniable. In a pandemic, in the dead of winter, in a world of hardship, uncertainty, division, and loss, how do you measure your life?
These students have an answer.
The winter musical will be livestreamed on Tuesday, March 2 at 10:05 a.m. In addition to Rent, this year's show will combine scenes from several different well-known productions, including Wicked, Waitress, Once on This Island, and Dear Evan Hansen. To watch the YouTube Premiere, visit www.pomfret.org/live.