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COVID-19 precautions in place before ACPS benefit musical

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

It’s the opening week of “Urinetown” at Monticello High School. It’s also the first time a musical has been performed there since 2019. Though the prep has been crazy, students say it’s all worth it for the cause it’s benefiting.

“The whole dynamic is definitely different between students. I think that this year especially, the cast is more unified than ever,” senior Maddy Witaconis said.

The cast may be close but that doesn’t mean they are physically close. Two weeks ago Western Albemarle High School’s last musical performance was canceled due to a spike in cast COVID-19 cases. More than 30 students tested positive.

“We’re being really careful and then the county is providing us with some tests that we can take right before the Thursday benefit and right before the Saturday night show,” drama teacher Madeline Michel said.

“You definitely have to learn to project more and enunciate and articulate your words better because it can get really muffled,” Witaconis said.

The lead up to the play has been different, too. Their technical prep week was canceled when a lead cast member had COVID last week.

“It’s been a little bit scary, a little bit chaotic. But we’ve just remained really hopeful and just tried to keep as safe as possible,” student director Beaumont Sherman said.

Students and Michel say all the craziness is worth it. Thursday’s show is a benefit performance.

“We are giving a scholarship in the name of Gwen Tupelo who died tragically in an accident last summer and Gwen was really important part of our world here,” Michel said.

So far the cast has raised about $4,000. Michel wants to double that. The scholarship recipient will be someone who embodies traits similar to Tupelo.

“It’s our first show without her,” Witaconis said. “I’m just gonna hope to at least even live up to the amount of energy and passion and love that she brought.”

The first performance is Thursday at 7:30 p.m., you can donate at Monticello High School. The recipient of the scholarship fund will be awarded in June

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