The Show Must Go On – Westlake Preparatory Academy Middle School Musical Performed Through Remote Technology

Never underestimate the determination and resolve of a group of Middle School students.

When COVID-19 caused schools across the world to close their doors and transition to distance learning, so many traditional activities were cancelled. There would be no Spring programs, or proms, or baseball games, or award banquets. Safety took precedent over any social gathering.

The Middle School musical at Westlake Preparatory Academy in Richmond would not be deterred, however. The students and teachers decided, in true fashion, that this year’s show, The Wizard of Oz,  must go on.

As soon as distance learning began, the musical rehearsals commenced via Zoom. The singing, the acting, the choreography were all diligently learned and rehearsed.

The first task to be completed was the musical element. Students huddled in their bedrooms, or their closets – anywhere to get the best recording. Group songs and solos were recorded by each cast member and the finished project was uploaded so Westlake’s art teacher (and professional vocalist), Angie Goeke, could compile and edit each musical number.

When it was time to film, the school provided all the students with green screens. Under the direction of Westlake’s Theater Teacher, Courtney Johnson, students and parents adorned individual costumes and used their Westlake laptops to film their scenes. Students then uploaded every line of every scene to Mrs. Johnson, who then edited and sent to Riley Berry to prepare the finished product of The Wizard of Oz.

Much to the delight of parents, staff, and students, the completed version of Westlake Prep’s musical, The Wizard of Oz, was presented on Monday, June 15 at 7pm.

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Julie Berry

Lower School Music and MS Band Westlake Preparatory Lutheran Academy