MSD theatre program creates first virtual performance with ‘We Will Rock You’

The+MSD+drama+department+created+their+%E2%80%9CWe+Will+Rock+You%E2%80%9D+poster+based+off+of+inspiration+from+the+musical%E2%80%99s+original+promotional+posters.+The+show+was+pre-recorded+and+then+streamed+live+for+those+with+tickets+to+watch.+Graphic+courtesy+of+MSD+Drama

The MSD drama department created their “We Will Rock You” poster based off of inspiration from the musical’s original promotional posters. The show was pre-recorded and then streamed live for those with tickets to watch. Graphic courtesy of MSD Drama

Ava Jurick

The MSD drama department created their “We Will Rock You” poster based off of inspiration from the musical’s original promotional posters. The show was pre-recorded and then streamed live for those with tickets to watch. Graphic courtesy of MSD Drama

The theatre program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has consistently sold-out shows and performances for the past several years. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s drama show, “We Will Rock You,” was held through a Livestream on BookTix from Saturday, Jan. 29 to Sunday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. With tickets sold for $13 each, the drama department ended the show’s run with approximately 120 tickets sold. In addition, 80 teachers were given complimentary tickets to the show.

“The show takes place years in the future where everything is technology-based,” junior Sarah Wyner said. “It’s the story of how Galileo breaks free from the iPlanet and brings back real music.”

The show is based on the music written by the wide-known British rock band, Queen. There are many references to the band’s music throughout the show, including character names. The central character, Galileo Figaro, came from Queen’s hit song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Throughout the musical, Figaro leads the people, known as Bohemians, from the iron grip of Killer Queen. By the end of the musical, Figaro has brought music back into the people’s lives.

One thing that has remained a constant in this new world of virtual shows was the casting of roles. Any student who was in Theatre Production and wanted to audition for a role in the show was allowed to do so. The auditioning process took place during class time, virtually, since students and teachers could not meet in person. After, there was a read-through of the script, along with dancing and singing callbacks. 

“We Will Rock You” was chosen to be a virtual live experience since Broward County Public Schools currently does not allow any face-to-face performances. With this restriction, the drama students preferred to have an online show rather than nothing at all.

“[The students] filmed individually in [their] own spaces, and they sent all the footage to me,” drama teacher Melody Herzfeld said. “I then worked with an editor to put together the entire show.”

There was a variety of songs, scenes, dances and backdrops within the show. Students used headphones to listen to their prerecorded voices in each scene to make sure everything was on time and correct. 

The choreography was created by senior Cameron Appel. The two leads of “We Will Rock You” were played by senior Logan LaPierre and sophomore Pearl Mass.

In past years, the drama team would rehearse every day after school from 6-10 p.m. both inside the drama room and on the stage. “We Will Rock You” rehearsals were only during class time. The team worked with a film editor to gather all the students’ parts, which were submitted via Google Drive. 

“The majority of the time, drama has been difficult to do through a screen. It is hard to do a show when there is no real interaction, which is what it is all about,” senior Caroline Eaton said.

Other notable changes included Herzfeld taking up the role of director — a role typically filled by a student and actors having the freedom to create their costumes and make-up for their characters. 

“The production process was interesting to learn about, and it ended up working really well,” senior Peri Harris said. “Although putting together a full-length musical virtually poses challenges, we worked together, and we were able to perform to the best of our abilities.”

This story was originally published in the March 2021 Eagle Eye print edition.