Senior theater students have reason to come to school, stay healthy

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Newsies cast members go through a scene during an evening practice.

The music stops. The dance number is over. Breathing heavily, senior Emily Mowery grabs her water bottle and joins her cast mates, who are waiting for theater director Mrs. Debbie Sutton at the end of rehearsal to give them “the talk”.
“We have the talk almost every day,” Emily said. “Mrs. Sutton says, ‘remember to wear your mask, even whenever you’re out in public and it’s not necessarily required. Wear the mask. It is worth it. Look around. Look to your left. Look to your right. These are all people who are counting on you to stay healthy.’”
Newsies, which is the theater department’s fall show, will open on Nov. 12, after practicing for the show since the start of the summer. Due to COVID-19, they have had to enforce necessary precautions for Newsies to make it on the stage.
“We can’t afford to have anyone get sick because if one of us gets sick, then a bunch of us are going to get sick and we can’t afford to delay the show,” senior Carl Mead said. “We have to wear masks 24/7 and are constantly disinfecting our hands. They are ridiculously dry at this point. It’s just that we have to do so much extra stuff to make this show happen.”
Many Texas high school and university level theater productions have been postponed or canceled because of the virus, and Broadway is estimated to not begin performing again until June 2021. Luckily, Newsies was able to get the green-light from the administration.
“To have a community and a school that is so supportive, it has been absolutely amazing,” senior Clay Jones said. “And as a group, I know the seniors, the juniors, the sophomores, and the freshmen in the show even have been so devoted to doing everything that we can to make this work because we really want to perform.”
The directors and cast encourage each other to continue to apply themselves when they are faced with an irregular school year.
“You’re not just working for yourself. You’re working for everyone else. Newsies has such a family atmosphere, and that makes it so much more meaningful,” Clay said. “It really does give you a reason to be here and a reason to wake up in the morning and get going because you have a family that’s counting on you. Whether you are the main character or third singer from the right, you have a family that’s going to be there for you and is going to be excited to see you and is ready to work just as much as you are.”
With opening day fast approaching and the COVID-19 cases rising, Carl is concerned Newsies won’t make its debut.
“I don’t know about anyone else but I have this little fear in the back of my head that says, ‘what if we get shut down? What if we don’t make it?’” Carl said. “And I’m just scared we’re going to be so close and then it’s not going to happen.”
However, he says he’s reassured by watching the cast perform.