Those in the theatre industry know that the words and mindset “the show must go on” can save a performance. For the cast of the 2020 spring musical, the saying has become a symbol of hope, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the globe. Children of Eden was scheduled to open in March, and the cast was looking forward to beginning their tech week rehearsals when it was announced the school would be closing. On Friday, March 13, the cast and production team shared an emotional final rehearsal together after being informed that the show would be postponed until further notice.
Despite the setbacks, the production team is confident that Children of Eden will take to the Stockbridge stage eventually. With everything still up in the air, producer Matt Cahoon was only able to share this: “I can tell you that the directors and advisers met on Wednesday to develop a series of contingency plans for the musical. Unfortunately, I really can’t share those with you until I have had a chance to present them to Dr. Powers. I am scheduled to meet with him next Thursday. To be fair, however, I can’t even guarantee that we will have any answers after I meet with Dr. Powers. Things are just so up in the air and right now we are taking our cues from the CDC and the Governor. I can tell you that in every conversation I have had with the administration, I have heard time and again that there is a sincere desire to make the show happen if at all possible.”
Meanwhile, the cast remains in high spirits. Director Laura Iwaskiewicz held virtual storytime sessions through the cast Google Classroom page, along with Zoom meetings for the cast to catch up with each other. Senior cast member Adam Furgal, who plays Adam in the show, hosted a Netflix party in order to bring the cast together again. Choreographer Darcie Champagne continues to send supportive messages to the Classroom feed. Many of the young actors continue to rehearse their lines, songs, and choreography from home, as they all hold on to the hope that this show is not over for them yet.
According to its members, the cast of Children of Eden is a close-knit and supportive group, which has become an asset in these hard times. Sophomore Samantha Brackesy shared her experience as a newcomer to the production.
“At the first rehearsal, I already felt so welcomed and accepted by the entire cast and crew. Throughout the rehearsal process, we all grew so close and I made dozens of new friends, all while doing something I love. Now, I miss school like everyone else, but what I really miss is rehearsal. I miss everyone smiling and laughing and singing and dancing. I miss the passion and the spirit and the joy that was felt in the chorus room by everyone before we were told to stay home,” said Brackesy.
The uncertainty surrounding the production has been especially hard for the senior members of the cast. Many of them have been participating in school performances since freshman year or had been cast in a leading role for the first time. For some, Children of Eden would be the final time they take to the stage before pursuing other careers in college.
“I may not speak for all the seniors, but I do speak for a majority that we all miss the show and miss the cast very much,” said Korbin Rasmus (Abel). “We all want this show to go on, and personally I think of the show every single day and think of all the great memories that I made with so many amazing friends. So if this show is still planning to go on, I know that it will be the best I’ve ever been in.”.
Before the stay at home order, Children of Eden’s crew was able to load most of the show’s set into the Stockbridge Theatre, where it awaits the day its cast can return to the stage. In the meantime, the Pinkerton Players’ social media accounts are currently hosting a virtual showcase where members can share their talents with the world during quarantine. During these difficult times, the cast would like to remind everyone that though “we cannot know what will occur, just make the journey worth the taking. For every moment of our lives, is the beginning.” (Children of Eden, “In the Beginning”)