“Mamma Mia” cast members. (Photo courtesy of Francie Hansen)
The coronavirus may have canceled the 63rd annual spring musical at Woodrow Wilson High School, but the show must go on.
With the help of Dallas-based production company Charlie Uniform Tango, “Mamma Mia” cast members kept the musical tradition alive by virtually collaborating to create a tribute video with numbers from the show.
“For a community so vested in its neighborhood schools and the kids who go there, no one was willing to let this year go down as an asterisk in Woodrow’s musical history,” said Tina Meazell, a Woodrow parent and volunteer in charge of publicity. “This has made it more of an exclamation point.”
The eight-minute video starts with the senior leads singing “I Have a Dream” before they are joined by other cast members in singing “Mamma Mia.” The video ends with students, siblings, parents and even their pets cutting loose to “Dancing Queen.”
“Our goal in making [this video] was to get across to the audience that this is still a really fun thing,” Director John Beaird said. “I watched this video through two times, and I had a smile on my face the whole time. I love watching my kids. They’ve done a good job here.”
When the musical was canceled in early April, Beaird and his team began looking for other creative alternatives. Meazell knew several employees at Charlie Uniform Tango, owned by Lakewood neighbor Lola Lott. The Lott family has long been involved in the musical and was eager to use its resources to help.
Students were given instrumental versions of songs, which they listened to in headphones as they sang. Professional producers, video engineers and audio engineers at Charlie Uniform Tango then synced the clips together to create the video.
“I know it’s devastating for these students,” Lott said. “They had been performing in elementary school and middle school and working to be one of the stars of the program. I’m glad we were able to shine a light onto some of these kids.”
Watch the video on Vimeo or on Facebook. Also be on the lookout for recorded senior speeches that will be posted online to continue the tradition of “Circle Up,” where seniors tell teachers, cast members and volunteers what it has meant to be part of the program.
Credits for the Woodrow Wilson Performing Arts Department:
The Cast of Mamma Mia
The Woodrow Choir
Theatre Booster Club
Credits for Charlie Uniform Tango:
Alex Campos- Editor
Catherine Thomas – VFX Artist
Nick Patronella – Audio Engineer
Chris Walker – Audio Engineer
Marlee Cutbirth – Producer