Senior laments cancellation of spring musical

Carmella Whipple had been cast in lead role in “Hairspray”


Photo submitted

Senior Carmella Whipple, fourth from left, was part of the cast from the fall play, “Radium Girls.”

Ella Bundy , Reporter

Senior Carmella Whipple, who was cast in the lead role of the spring musical, “Hairspray,” along with the rest of the cast and crew, won’t get the chance to show off their talents due to the show’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whipple said, “I’m heartbroken about the musical being canceled. Theater is really special, and the final show of the school year is really important to everyone, especially the seniors.”

Whipple was to have played the lead role, a teenage girl named Tracy Turnblad, who wants to integrate a popular ‘60s era television dance show in Baltimore.  

Technical director Mr. Michael Moffatt said, “I think it’s really sad for our seniors, but really anyone who put in the time either at rehearsal or on crew, all have experienced this loss.”

No plans currently are in motion regarding rescheduling the play, whether that be in the summer or next year. Moffatt said, “Sadly, we cannot really predict what’s happening, so we have no plans to reschedule. Logistically it would be a huge task to coordinate everyone’s summer schedule, but we don’t even know if we will have access to the theater facilities and if we will be allowed to hold large gatherings.”

COVID-19 is highly contagious, meaning that the school shutdown until May is strictly necessary to stop the spread of this disease. Activities such as clubs meetings, athletic contests, a formal graduation ceremony, or in this case, musicals, all have been canceled.

Whipple said, “‘The show must go on’ is the most iconic phrase about live performance, and we were all clinging to it hoping we would somehow be able to make this show happen. Unfortunately, with school canceled for the rest of the semester, the chance it will happen live is small.

“When you work so hard for something, you never expect it to be gone in the blink of an eye. I know the seniors are especially heartbroken, as this was our last time on the Cathedral stage.”

Moffatt said, “We couldn’t replace the seniors who are leaving. It would be best if we just put ‘Hairspray’ to rest and move on to another show next year and hope for a better tomorrow.”

Whipple has taken part in “The Little Mermaid,” “Mary Poppins” and “Seussical: The Musical.” She was assistant director for last year’s fall play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She served as the assistant director and stage manager of the most recent fall play, “Radium Girls.” “Hairspray” would have been her first time in a lead role.

Whipple said, “There is a magic to theater that’s unexplainable. I love bringing stories to other people. I love to lose myself on the stage. Being onstage in front of an audience is like being in another world. I always think about how it’s someone’s first show or their first experience with live theater. I want to make someone in the audience feel connected with the story I’m trying to tell, feel like they matter, feel like they could be on a stage, too.”

Moffatt said that between 115 to 200 students had taken part in this year’s musical when it was canceled. This group included the actors, construction and costume crews as well as the lighting, paint and props crews.

The musical is set in the 1960s and is about accepting others for who they are, as well as accepting yourself.

Moffatt said, “Theater is an important art form. It brings us all a better understanding of other people and ourselves. When this social distancing is over, support live theater by going to a play or musical.”