CHIPPEWA FALLS — A pandemic rages on, but the show must go on.
The Chippewa Falls High School annual spring musical will be opening as planned this weekend despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing the showrunners/performers having to adapt and overcome the situation.
The show, titled “The Show Will Go On: A Celebration of the Over 50 Years of the Chi-Hi Musical,” has been pre-taped and available to view on-demand starting at 7 p.m. Friday and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available for $10 each at cfhs.anywhereseat.com.
Musical director Nate Plummer said the decision to put on the musical for its 50th anniversary performance came from a desire to make 2021 a better year for the community. The annual spring Broadway style musical has only been missed once in its 50 year history at Chi-Hi.
“We know how important the tradition of the Chi-Hi musical is,” Plummer said. “It isn’t something we were willing to give up just because of COVID-19. We had conversations questioning whether we should even do a show, but we came to the conclusion that it was so important to the community and the students that not doing one when the community needed it most was the wrong decision.”
The performance of “The Show Will Go On” incorporates over 50 years of Chi-Hi musicals in a “Made for TV Movie” style show featuring songs from “Hello, Dolly,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cinderella,” “Grease,” “Guys and Dolls” and many others. The performance begins with the show creators in a Google Meet session discussion about whether the show should go on or not, before erupting into a cavalcade of song and dance fit for any viewer.
Plummer said the decision to put on a variety show performance devoid of many traditional plot elements came through trying to put together a normally focused show, but finding it didn’t fit the virtual format well.
“Since it has been an unusual year, we decided to do an unusual show,” Plummer said. “We wanted to capture a show which would tell the history of the Chi-Hi musical and end up feeling like you’re watching a reunion special on television. It’s a way of celebrating the musical the musical and keeping the tradition alive.”
The shows stars a cast of high schoolers and guest appearances from alumni, faculty and community members alike.
“The Show Will Go On,” also had to overcome COVID-19 restrictions during the rehearsal and recording process. All of the songs/solos were recorded separately and edited together during post production, many virtual rehearsals were held and none of the actors/performers were within six feet of each other during the performance of the production to keep each other safe from the spread of coronavirus.
While many time tested events took 2020 off, and are now taking 2021 off, the Chi-Hi musical is back again and ready to entertain the community in the comfort of their own homes.