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Tickets on sale for SLHS musical ‘Oklahoma!’

Despite not being able to perform in person this year or have full in-person rehearsals, the Saranac Lake High School is still putting on its annual spring musical March 19 and 20. Of course, this year will be much different — the show has no visuals, just prerecorded dialogue and musical numbers. Director Bonnie Brewer called it a “audio theatrical experience.”

This year’s show, which was picked before the pandemic even struck last March, is “Oklahoma!” and features about 40 high school students.

Brewer and Drew Benware, the show’s musical director, met with groups of students over Zoom to practice dialogue and rehearse the show. Benware was able to meet with the students one-on-one in his classroom at the high school to rehearse and record the musical numbers.

“This year we are recording each singer’s voice on a separate track, and then Joey Izzo is mixing each of the tracks together to make it sound like the ensemble is all together singing,” Benware said. Izzo, of Lake Placid, has experience mixing for the high school, as he also mixed the school’s Winter Concert that came out last week, and he was musical director of last year’s SLHS musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Traditionally, there would be an in-person orchestra at each performance to play the accompaniment to the show. However, this year the school purchased a recording of the Broadway accompaniment to the show instead.

“I think the students were just happy to be able to do something this year and have some normalcy,” Benware said. “Last year, we were shut down the night before our final performance, which was actually the last day we had a normal school day.”

“Rehearsals were very interesting this year,” Brewer said. Zoom calls would drop mid-scene, or someone’s internet would crash, or the videoconference delay would make her think someone had forgotten to say a line. Students socially distanced to record dialogue in the band wing of the high school, but they wanted to make sure it sounded as natural as possible for the recording. Brewer said she emphasized to students that they only had their voices to use to portray the mood of the scene.

“We wanted to have a full recording of the show with visuals, but the rules kept changing so it just wasn’t in the cards,” Brewer said.

Forrest Monroe, a senior at the high school, said that even though the process was quicker than normal and simpler for the students, he knew that the people behind the production were working just as hard as any other year.

“Any event or activity that resembles any normality in our lives is immensely appreciated by the students,” he said.

To purchase tickets, there is a link on the school’s website, slcs.org. each student in the show has access to the link to send out. Tickets will cost $25, with the assumption that most families or people listening will be on the same device. Normally tickets would cost $10, and that money would be used to fund the club’s budget, but with there being no in-person show this year, the school needed to find a way to fund the club for next year.

Tickets can be purchased for either show: Friday, March 19 or Saturday, March 20. Whichever day you buy the link for, you will have 24 hours to listen.

“Even though we only had two weeks to rehearse and there was no memorization involved, it was the best we could with the situation” Brewer said. “I’m just so glad we got to do something.”

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