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.”
Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots. 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. pic.twitter.com/BVYR4t3dJE— Laura Benanti (@LauraBenanti) March 13, 2020
Here are a few of the standout performances.
Khadija Sankoh, junior, Union High School
I attend Union High School and we are doing Once On This Island. As of now our show is postponed but we don’t know how long. This is a little snipbit of Waiting For Life pic.twitter.com/isdwSj17ho— Khadija Sankoh (@khadija_sankoh) March 13, 2020
Jamie Naragon, teacher and drama club adviser, Maumee High School
Here’s one of the last vocal rehearsals my students had before we had to indefinitely postpone our performance of Footloose, originally slated to open a week from tonight. pic.twitter.com/owjke6fw1X— Jamie (Mitchell) Naragon (@mashjaja) March 14, 2020
Gina Shaw, mother to Annika Bergstrom-Shaw, eighth grade, Glenfield Middle School
My daughter is playing Hope in her middle school production of Urinetown, which has either been postponed or cancelled...we’re not sure. She just ran through part of “I See a River” for you...hope you like it! Thank you for this!!! pic.twitter.com/8YZSpZrfjH— Gina Shaw (@writergina) March 13, 2020
Isabelle Perez, senior in high school
Los Angeles, CA
hi! I’m a senior and I was tevye an all-girls production of fiddler! our show got cancelled the day of our open dress rehearsal yesterday :( luckily we got to perform it for the first and last time yesterday so it was the worst best show for us haha pic.twitter.com/H9Rbk5DB8U— issa is staying home (@isbeele) March 14, 2020
Campbell Coker, junior, Rochester High School
thank you I was supposed to be belle in my school’s musical this weekend and my heart is sad pic.twitter.com/LpSMzeF7vx— campbell (@_campcoke) March 13, 2020
Leia Millan, junior, and Zachary Anglemyer, sophomore, Pocono Mountain East High School
We were scheduled to do The Fantasticks and had to postpone our show. Thank you for #SunshineSongs as a beacon of light to share a part of my dream of being a leading lady. This was a teaser performance we did to get people excited for the show. Never thought it could be our last pic.twitter.com/FnvEP4kWmN— Leia Moolan (@Leia39769823) March 16, 2020
Brendon Bowser, freshman, McQueen High School
we were doing into the woods!! heres à clip of me singing giants in the sky! (i’m awkward i know) pic.twitter.com/X86SJIcGdx— brendon! • #1 TOM NOOK STAN (@lifeiwantu) March 14, 2020
Jennifer Mariselli, mother to Maraia Mariselli, eighth grade, Orange County School of the Arts
Santa Ana, CA
My daughter had some upcoming shows with her band that are postponed. They’re bummed but will get over it. She’s so sad her arts school closed-I’ve never seen a kid more excited to go to school. pic.twitter.com/bASd3iehYF— jj (@jjmariselli) March 14, 2020
Nathan Diaz, senior, Dr. Phillips High School
Dr. Phillips High School School (Troupe 4276) brought this large group to our District festival in Orlando, FL. It won Critic’s Choice and we were set to perform it at the opening ceremonies this week at State. We’re so proud of it and would mean the world if you saw it! pic.twitter.com/YR7cH1r2lW— Nathan Diaz (@nathanddiaz) March 14, 2020
Kelsey Euler, acting coach, Broadway Kids Studio
Our Production of Footloose was just postponed. These kids have worked very hard! pic.twitter.com/FXtpaISMOh— Kels (@kle1101) March 14, 2020
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.
Looking for more stories about the coronavirus? Try these.
- We have live blogs going with up-to-the-minute news in Chicago, Detroit, Tennessee, and New York City.
- We’ve collected tips for easing the burden of school closures on students with disabilities, tips for talking to children about the coronavirus, and answers to your questions about parks and playdates.
- New research illustrates some of what’s at stake when schools close: leaving health care workers without child care.
- School districts that close but continue to offer instruction remotely must make that instruction accessible to students with disabilities, the federal education department made clear last week. That’s going to be a real challenge, and some state officials and disability rights advocates are encouraging schools to fully close and make up the time later.
- States might also be able to scrap their required annual spring tests for closed schools. Those changes could have ripple effects, with rules that require states to identify their lowest-performing schools also being put on pause.