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rehearse for redemption the theatre department brought back alumni to put on their 2020 musical "9 to 5", which was cancelled due to Covid-19 nearly two years ago

by Zelia Lerch | Reporting contributed by Emilie Takahashi

Whether it was moving to different levels of drama classes or flying to colleges across the country, the cast and crew of 9 To 5 were separated throughout quarantine.

However, a reunion concert, featuring select portions of the show, called alumni and current students alike back to the auditorium to finally put on one final performance, and give the graduated alumni their concluding moment in the high school spotlight.

Photo: From left to right, alumni Ava Encinas, Emma Hunt, and Brianna Baker were the leads in 9 to 5. They graduated in 2020, and never got the chance to perform the show in front of a live audience. Photo courtesy of RUHS Theatre

Alumni Joel Pierce, senior Jack Bergman, and junior Jake Lambuth reprise their roles. Photo courtesy of RUHS Theatre

Seeing everyone on stage together was a “completely powerful experience” to alumni Liana Moore. Moore played Margaret as a senior, and currently attends UC Irvine.

“At one point, it felt as though we had never left,” Liana Moore said. “Ms. Staab was in the audience in tears because it was just magical.”

The production was given five hours on August 21 to jog their memories of the harmonies, character personalities, costuming and set pieces to put it all together for a 6:30 p.m. production for family and friends to enjoy. Senior Sydney French, who controlled the sound during the performance, enjoyed the closure after the nearly two-year hiatus.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to come back and finally round out the show, because we just got cut off in 2020 and didn't get to give it its full moment on stage,” French said.

Photo: Senior Sydney French waves at the camera. Photo courtesy of RUHS Theatre

Additionally, actors were grateful to be able to get back into their original costumes and relearn the chosen pieces from the show. According to junior Alyssa Moore, who acted in the ensemble, the break had given them a new perspective on performing for an audience.

“Covid really forces us to not take performing for granted, since we thought we were just gonna have a normal show, and then it turns out that we actually couldn’t. Now, whatever full scale performances we'll get to do in the future, [we] will have a whole new mindset and perspective because we will never take it for granted again,” Alyssa Moore said.

The pandemic has also allowed members of the department, like stage manager and junior Daniela Talleda, to consider theatre from a preventative standpoint and look to the future to make sure that whatever happens, they will be prepared.

“It made me realize that you have to build a safety blanket and override a lot of things that you do because anything can happen now, and you always have to be thinking those two steps ahead,” Talleda said.

The cast and crew stayed connected throughout the lockdown, whether through Zoom drama events or social media. This system kept all members emotionally supported, as they could come together online to watch movies or hang out and chat. The constant communication allowed them to round out the show to their greatest ability.

“I honestly thought that our weaknesses turned into our strengths. I think the ability to come together in just five hours and be able to do this entire show that we haven't done all this time and be able to get right back into it and pull it together. That was our greatest strength: unity,” Alyssa Moore said.

Alumni Brianna Baker and Liana Moore share a hug during rehearsal. Photo courtesy of RUHS Theatre

Credits:

Cover photo by Zelia Lerch Photos courtesy of RUHS Theatre