DANBURY – Annual spring musicals are part of the Immaculate High School tradition. Due to Covid-19, the 2020 musical was unfortunately unable to go on, but director Matthew Farina was determined to make the 2021 show a reality. The planning process for this year’s production has been different than most years, as a virtual show was inevitable. When exploring possibilities for shows, Farina wanted an option that would come across screens as well as it would on a stage. “I wanted to weave the virtual production into the storyline of the show,” he said. This goal of having the storyline of the show make sense virtually eliminated traditional options such as Oklahoma, which takes place in a time where Zoom and virtual watching would be foreign concepts. Thus, Immaculate’s rendering of WE WILL ROCK YOU was born.
WE WILL ROCK YOU is told through the songs of the British rock band Queen and is set in the distant future where live music and free thought have been banned. A group of rock rebels, called Bohemians, fight against the globally corporate world to restore freedom and the rebirth of rock and roll.
The next challenge to tackle was how to produce this show in a way that would be interesting to the audience watching through a screen. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and safety protocols, having the whole cast together and live streaming the show from the school auditorium was out of the question. That is where the movie musical idea came to be. By filming one scene at a time, students are able to work in smaller groups and maintain social distance to keep each other safe. Scouting and filming at different locations around Immaculate and the Danbury community keep the show fresh and interesting to watch.
Farina says the new way of producing the show has allowed not only himself and producer Kathleen Czel to think outside the box, but the students as well. “It may never be like this again,” Farina said in regards to the movie musical format, and explained that they are taking advantage of the opportunity to be “creatively brave” and use different technology and computer effects to enhance the viewing experience.
WE WILL ROCK YOU will be livestreamed Friday, May 21 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, May 22 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, May 23 at 2:00 pm. Information regarding accessing the livestream, a full cast list and more can be found at www.immaculatehs.org/rock.