A year after their annual spring musical was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students in Fremont High School’s musical program are ready to get back on stage.
With a 10-person cast and pre-recorded music in lieu of a live orchestra, the program is only weeks away from debuting its rendition of “The Addams Family” at 7:30 p.m., March 11-13.
The performance will take place in person at the Nell McPherson Theatre, as well as virtually. Tickets for the performance cost $12 and can be booked by visiting https://fremont.booktix.com.
Alex Bigsby, a senior at FHS playing Lucas Beineke in the upcoming production, said the 10 cast members have been rehearsing for the performance since early February, with the rest of the ensemble joining the group two weeks ago.
With cast and crew working diligently on the performance since the start of the semester, Bigsby said they are all ready to finally step onto the stage for the first time in more than a year.
“I think we’re all pretty anxious to kind of just get this under our belt and make sure that we’ve got everything going and that we’re confident with what we’re doing,” he said. “I think we’re super excited to be able to perform soon.”
For Holly Robinson, a senior at FHS playing Morticia Adams in the production, and Bigsby, this is the first time either will have the opportunity to perform in a FHS musical.
Both were involved in last year’s production of “Mary Poppins,” but never got the opportunity to perform after the performance was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Honestly, it was difficult last year knowing that we were that close to a performance,” Robinson said. “We had a whole show ready and then it was taken away from us, so to be given that opportunity this time means the world, especially to me as a senior.”
Leading up to last year’s performance, Bigsby said he was filled with nerves. Now, he’s just ready to finally get a chance to perform.
“I think I’m more excited than I am nervous,” he said. “I’m just ready to go out there and have a good time with all my friends and classmates and just perform the best we can.”
COVID-19 has also played a role on this production, according to Bigsby. The musical features a smaller cast and will not have any live orchestra or band in the pit.
In lieu of live music, FHS Vocal Music Director Mark Harman has opted for pre-recorded instrumentals. Bigsby said that decision allowed for the cast and ensemble to more quickly acclimate to the music and “get ahead of the game.”
“We’re able to just add music and get away from scripts and just put everything together as fast as we possibly could before the ensemble joined us and I think that’s really put us ahead of the game for the performance,” he said.
Robinson said having the music available virtually has allowed her to practice at home with the same material that will ultimately be included in the final performance.
“I can use that track that I have online and practice at home, so I can prepare on my own time and be even more ready for when rehearsal comes,” she said. “So with COVID making everything a lot more virtual, it makes it easier for us in this specific circumstance.”
Both Bigsby and Robinson are ready to see the Fremont community enjoy a live performance from FHS for the first time in more than a year.
“I think I’m visualizing trying to perform in front of a crowd of people,” Bigsby said. “We didn’t get that opportunity last year as juniors, so this year is definitely going to have a different feel.”
Robinson said she’s excited for the audience to see the costumes and experience the abnormal characters the musical brings to life.
“Something that excites me is the costumes and really being able to embody your character,” she said. “And audience reaction always feels good, like if they laugh at a line because we don’t always have that in rehearsal because we don’t have an audience.”
For Camden McKenzie, a senior at FHS and ensemble member and dancer for the production, the performance will also provide an outlet for the community.
“I just think the community of Fremont needs something like this,” he said. “I know a whole bunch of people that came in the past and I just think us putting this on this year is a great opportunity to get Fremont rolling again.”
Even with a year of performances taken away from them, the senior cast members at FHS agreed the experience of being involved in the school’s music program has been a positive one.
“We’re all here to just make music and I think that’s something that even COVID hasn’t really been able to take away from us,” Bigsby said.