Gilson Writes Original Musical for This ‘Original’ Year


Kylie Calloway, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Many individuals have questions about the upcoming musical and what it will consist be like during this pandemic year. It will definitely be interesting, and beyond any doubt it will be fun. 

“This play consists of many amazing actors. Due to the pandemic we could only have 19 cast members and 10 pit orchestra crew members,” said Mrs. Andrea Gilson, English teacher and musical director.

Gilson herself wrote the script for the musical called “The Show’s Online,” which features modern and classical songs. The musical will be filmed and available for viewing around the end of March.

Gilson explained the plot behind her creation: “The musical cast finds out via zoom that their musical is being cut due to budgetary issues.  They decide to fight the system and sneak into school to film some of their musical online.  The musical details the struggles the characters face and shares their stories.”

Students auditioned for roles via Flipgrid, but Gilson has become a pro with virtual role playing because she has had to teach Public Performance virtually.  All of the numbers will be performed on stage with the actors masked and socially distanced.  A backdrop, set pieces and lighting will bring the story to life as it is videotaped.

  “The musical largely reflects what students are dealing with currently: unrequited love, the sadness over leaving high school, changes and going to college.  All of the songs are modern songs you will recognize from various eras,” said the director.  

Copyright issues have been a major, expensive concern. Gilson explained the challenge she and her co-director, Mrs. Christine Salerno, have encountered.

“We have had to purchase copyrights for the songs we want to use.  Pricing was daunting, and Mrs. Salerno and I had to look for songs from selected publishers.  All of the lyrics reflect the tone, plotline and conflicts the characters are facing.  Mrs. Salerno also wrote an original song entitled ‘Sit Back, Relax,’ and we are also using Antonio /Sabra’s beautiful song entitled, ‘Life’s Too Loud,’” she said.

So what prompted this idea for the musical?

“I have to give credit to my sister, Katie Erdman.  We were talking on the phone, and she came up with the premise.  It was originally going to be about Covid, but we changed it to a lighter subject matter.  All of the characters and their stories were something I simply imagined and many of their names are after people I know.  Many of the songs I wanted to do such as ‘Edge of Great,’ ‘This is Me’ and ‘Can’t Hide This Feeling’ motivated the storylines,” explained Gilson.  

Members of the cast: Kate Treankler, Joey Bonadonna, Charlie Rickards, Sonja Gapinski, Emily Hoeppner, Addie Weiss, Jacob Massart, Matthew Schumacher, Emilie Chamberlain, Libby Rickards, Molly Kukiela, Alex Brabant, Skylar Schultz, Lizzie Parish, Abby Elfner, Briana Fitzgerald,  Toluwanimi Adejumo, Tara Janas  and Joseph Sule II.