April 14, 2020 at 3:15pm
Dane Lisser

Millikin cast performs finale from "Some Enchanted Evening"

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed everyone in a "new normal," as much of the U.S. is in quarantine due to the coronavirus.

As states began banning large gatherings, theatres across the country – from local communities to Broadway – canceled their performances and closed their doors. But thanks to today's technology and streaming services, artists and performers continue to provide quality content online for audiences at home.

Since March 23, Millikin University has been delivering its courses online for the remaining weeks of the spring 2020 semester. Additionally, all Millikin Fine Arts events including School of Theatre & Dance performances were canceled. Among those performances was "Some Enchanted Evening," which was scheduled to run April 2-5 at Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

To be directed by Kevin Long, professor of musical theatre at Millikin, "Some Enchanted Evening" was to showcase the wit and wisdom of Oscar Hammerstein's lyrics, buoyantly soaring above the unique melodies of Richard Rodgers. The show was to capture the moments from musicals that were created by the famous duo, including "Oklahoma!" "South Pacific," "Carousel" and the "Sound of Music."

But as the saying goes, "the show must go on."

Recently, the cast of "Some Enchanted Evening" wanted to share their collective work with each other and share the gift of song with audiences during this difficult time. Many of the Millikin students saw groups of people lifting up others in song on social media. What transpired was a virtual performance of the finale from "Some Enchanted Evening."

"The idea of making the video was explored in a virtual cast meeting where the faculty offered the students a chance to make a recording," said Long.

Music Director Beth Creighton, Choreographer Emily Long and Kevin Long tossed around some songs from the show that might be usable for the students. They chose the finale since it had the most people singing as opposed to individual solos.   

An accompaniment track was sent to the students who recorded their parts in remote locations and submitted those recordings via email to Emily Long. She combined each individual file into the completed video which was posted on YouTube April 7.

"It was also a way to continue their vision for the show – to take the show out into the community to share with new audiences in new performance spaces," said Long.

Long says the cast had been in rehearsals for about a month when Millikin University made the decision to go to distance learning.

"I had hoped that the project would help bring a sense of closure to this collaboration," said Long. "The physical distancing did not deter the students from still coming together to share their talents with an even broader audience than we had envisioned."