Did you hear the news? Cho-Op films musical

Performing ‘Newsies’ scene by scene was difficult, but members persevered



Cast of ‘Newsies’ during filming of the show. Newsies streams March 20-21. Tokens are available through the Performing Arts Website

Lights! Camera! Action! Except, there is no live action. Due to Covid-19, New Trier’s production, “Newsies,” along with previous performances like “Lagniappe,” has had to shift from a live performance to a video show this year. 

With current Covid-19 guidelines, only 50 people are allowed in a room at once. This means that “Newsies” has to film, edit and stream their performance instead of putting on a live production. 

“Newsies” was specifically chosen for the Choir Opera musical because it is a production that legally allows filming. Some musicals are only allowed to be performed as a live performance, but “Newsies” is allowed to be both streamed and performed live.

Our days can get long yet we are all so passionate about what we do that we make sure we are checking in on one another to see how everyone is doing”

— Ethan Hoffman

In a typical year, the cast and crew would rehearse and perform the production straight through. However, music and theatre department chair David Ladd said that filming the show from beginning to end takes more time than if they filmed every location one at a time. 

Filming each scene separately, though, brings its own set of challenges. 

“When you are in the flow of the show, there is sort of that emotional buildup that happens all the way through the show, but you don’t get that when you have to do the finale just like out of nowhere” Ladd said.

With so many people involved in the musical, including stage crew, actors, an orchestra and members responsible for filming, there are many pieces of the puzzle that have to come together to create what would have been a straight forward performance.

The orchestra recorded each individual song separately, with several separate recording sessions each day focusing on the same songs. 

“Recordings can be more difficult than a live performance because if you mess up, you have to redo it until you get it right. It can be frustrating waiting for everything to line up correctly,” said senior Leo Buckman, who plays double bass and electric bass.

According to Buckman, it was also challenging to record because they were unable to hear how each piece fit together as they were recording. 

“We only could listen to ourselves and a piano playing the song with a click track through headphones,” Buckman explained.

While this is just one puzzle piece, senior Katie Klaskin, who acted in the musical, also found filming to be more challenging than a live performance. 

“It’s definitely an adjustment as an actor, since you have to think of camera angles, not having a live audience, and all of the technicalities that come with filming a musical. Remembering what our characters do and do not know in each scene becomes much more difficult when not filming chronologically,” she said.

Production started in December and has been going smoothly since then, the actors said. Everyone on set is required to wear masks and social distance. 

Junior Ethan Hoffman is the stage manager and works with all departments in order to make sure all aspects of the production run smoothly. While filming has its challenges, it also allows him and the cast to be more flexible so they can change things last minute if necessary. 

“Our days can get long yet we are all so passionate about what we do that we make sure we are checking in on one another to see how everyone is doing.” Hoffman said. 

“Newsies” will be streamed on March 20 and 21 for $5 per token and can be bought here. One token allows the performance to be streamed on one device only. More devices mean purchasing more tokens.