Theater During a Pandemic

Eastern Theater’s spring musical, Seussical: The Musical, will be opening on Thursday, May 20th, and running through Saturday, May 22nd, with a performance each night at 6:30 P.M on the football field.



In the show, Ethan Kauffman (left) and Nick Vitale (right) play The Cat in the Hat and Horton respectively.

   “To be, or not to be?” An actor calls from the stage. 

   The year is 1609, and the man stands in the Globe Theater, speaking to the audience on the ground and in the balconies in front of him. There are no spotlights to shine on his face, no microphones to amplify his voice, and no speakers to underscore him with music. 

   Nevertheless, he entertains the crowd.

   During the four centuries since, our technology has vastly improved. 

   We’ve designed grand indoor theaters with perfect acoustics to redirect sound. We’ve designed seating arrangements to ensure each audience member can see the stage, and lighting to illuminate the performers. Vinyl floors have been placed to ease the weight on dancers, and wings have been built to conceal them before they go onstage. 

   We have greatly improved all aspects of theater in order to put on incredible performances, and yet, Eastern’s Spring Musical will be performed without the use of any of them.

   This year, due to the pandemic, Eastern Theater will be putting on Seussical: The Musical as an outdoor performance on the football field. 

   While this will be quite the challenge, the director, Dr. Molotsky, as well as the cast, cannot wait to perform. 

   Unlike indoor performances, the outdoor theater presents itself with a unique set of obstacles and opportunities. 

   “Figuring out how to do a lot of the logistical things: sound and lighting, has been difficult,” Molotsky said.

   With changes to the set nearly impossible, he had to come up with a stationary set to last the entire show. He chose to take inspiration from the Seuss books themselves, along with the pageantry arts.

   Molotsky said, “marching band, color guard, and the drum and bugle corps have experience performing outside, so we’re following their example.”

   In its final form, the set is a bright and colorful version of a Dr. Seuss’ book that has come to life. The set is only magnified as the actors fill the stage.

   The performance is filled with full-cast musical numbers, catchy songs, fun dances, all accompanied by a heartwarming story. 

   Ethan Kauffman plays The Cat in the Hat, the narrator of the story, and takes the audience on an adventure following a young boy and his imagination. Jojo (Shara Harding) is a wild young boy from the town of “Whoville”, a town smaller than a speck of dust. Like in “Horton Hears a Who,” Horton the Elephant (Nick Vitale) makes friends with the young Jojo.

   Their wholesome relationship is put to the test as they encounter Sour Kangaroo (Melanie Irvin), who is worried that Horton is disturbing the peace in her jungle. 

   This exciting and fun-filled show is a must-see for anyone who’s been missing theater during the pandemic. Seussical: The Musical will be opening on Thursday, May 20th, and running through Saturday, May 22nd, with a performance each night at 6:30 P.M on the football field. 

   “I think I can speak for myself and the students in the show by saying that one of the things I look forward to most is being able to do theater in front of a live audience,” Molotsky said.

   Despite the challenges, this show has proved that no matter what, the show must go on.