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Coronavirus took these students’ spotlight. Broadway star Laura Benanti became their audience.

Students who had musicals, performances, and plays cancelled because of the coronavirus sent videos to Broadway star Laura Benanti on Instagram and Twitter. They also showed off their performances using the hashtag #SunshineSongs.
Students who had musicals, performances, and plays cancelled because of the coronavirus sent videos to Broadway star Laura Benanti on Instagram and Twitter. They also showed off their performances using the hashtag #SunshineSongs.
Provided videos/Twitter

The coronavirus outbreak is changing life for students daily: shuttered schools, social distancing, changes to SAT and AP tests, and for some, canceled performances.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking people to cancel gatherings of 10 or more people for the next two weeks, or hold events virtually, many students have been left with school musicals, performances, and plays that will never make it to center stage.

So Broadway star Laura Benanti took to social media to be their audience.

“Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots,” the Tony Award-winning singer and actress wrote on Twitter and Instagram. “If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!! Sending all my love and black market toilet paper.”

Here are a few of the standout performances.

Khadija Sankoh, junior, Union High School
Union, NJ

Jamie Naragon, teacher and drama club adviser, Maumee High School
Maumee, OH

Gina Shaw, mother to Annika Bergstrom-Shaw, eighth grade, Glenfield Middle School
Montclair, NJ

Isabelle Perez, senior in high school
Los Angeles, CA

Campbell Coker, junior, Rochester High School
Rochester, IL

Leia Millan, junior, and Zachary Anglemyer, sophomore, Pocono Mountain East High School
Swiftwater, PA

Brendon Bowser, freshman, McQueen High School
Reno, NV

Jennifer Mariselli, mother to Maraia Mariselli, eighth grade, Orange County School of the Arts
Santa Ana, CA

Nathan Diaz, senior, Dr. Phillips High School
Orlando, FL

Kelsey Euler, acting coach, Broadway Kids Studio
Davie, FL

Benanti’s call for performances elicited more than 2,700 responses to her tweet as of Tuesday afternoon, and thousands more responded using the hashtag #SunshineSongs.

The videos from students and parents include plays, musicals, choirs, and many other displays of artistic talent that won’t ever reach the audiences they were intended for.

But, if nothing else, they’ve now basked in the social media spotlight.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

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