A Killer Party - April 22 - April 24, 2021

William G Enloe High

  Director's Notes  

In the effort to stay positive during the trials that a global pandemic has brought, I have tried to look for the silver linings and, miraculously, I have found a lot of them.  Perhaps the most surprising silver lining that came to be was this production of “A Killer Party” and Enloe High School’s very first movie musical!  


What in the world could we do for a musical this year that would bring as much growth, artistic fulfillment, joy, and fun to our students (and ourselves) while still adhering to the Covid19 safety guidelines?  At the time our decision needed to be made, live audiences were out of the question.  Actors would have to maintain 6 feet apart at all times and wear masks while performing.  The available shows for streaming and recording were very limited and not exciting.  All the options seemed like something that would be...fine.  After the production, we’d be sure to feel like we did the best we could - under the circumstances.  Under the circumstances?!?  That doesn’t sound like Enloe to me.  We wanted to do the best we could regardless of the circumstances!  


Just when we thought we’d have to settle, a silver lining of light (#1) popped into my email inbox from MTI introducing a new musical made for virtual performances and composed by Jason Howland (Little Women: the musical).  When Broadway closed a year ago, Jason Howland wrote this hilarious murder mystery musical and got his out-of-work broadway actor friends (Laura Osnes, Michael James Scott, Jeremy Jordan, etc.) to film it from their own homes.  The music is catchy and the script is hilarious!  But, we’ve never made a movie before and weren’t sure if we could do it!


Silver lining #2:  Enloe High School has a state of the art film and audio studio and INCREDIBLE teachers by the name of Bill Notarnicola and Brian Hedgepeth leading amazingly talented student editors, creators, and audio/filmmakers.  We asked them if they’d be on board and help make this happen and they were excited by the collaboration!


Silver lining #3:  We wanted to expand the cast to allow for more student involvement, so we came up with not only having a vocal ensemble, but a dance ensemble.  We’d make a music video!  The tech theatre students got the opportunity to turn a dance studio into a film studio with lights and hanging cameras.  TV production students were able to film and edit their first music video for one of the numbers in the show choreographed by Rebecca McRae.


Silver lining #4:  Our student vocal ensemble and actors were able to come on campus and record their music in our sound studio with the guidance of Lauren Hallihan, Brian Hedgepeth, and David Wilson.  To leave high school with the experience of working in a professional quality recording studio is incredible for these students!


Silver lining #5:  Joseph Byrd and Bill Notarnicola came up with a way for me (the director) to be behind the camera even when the students were recording from their own home.  They rigged equipment for the students to take home including lights and a tripod with an ipad holder and a phone holder on the top.  I would be sitting in my classroom on google meet on my computer, the actors would log on to google meet with their phone and the phone would be looking at what they were recording on the ipad.  It was a challenge, but it worked!

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