ELGIN — The Elgin Opera House circumvented the obstacles because the pandemic to film its production of “High School Musical Jr.” — and the show is now live for ticket holders.
The remaining showtimes are Thursday and Friday, April 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 2 at 4:30 p.m. To watch the film online, purchase a ticket for a specific date and time. You have to log in at the time on your ticket — the show cannot be paused or watched later.
The Elgin Opera House also is offering “watch party” public screenings for the April 29-May 1 showings for up to 100 people on a first come, first served basis. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Bring your tickets and show them at the door.
The concession stand will be open. Masks and distancing will be required per state law.
Terry Hale, the executive artistic director at the Elgin Opera House, said he expected about a dozen people when he held auditions in December.
“I put out a little audition call and we were blown away. We’ve got actors from four different counties,” he said. “Everyone was desperate for an opportunity to get together again.”
The cast numbers 70, and all were divided into cohorts of 10 actors in keeping with the restrictions in place on group gatherings. Hale and his team had to be creative.
“It was a puzzle,” he said. “We had to go through the entire script, every song, and break it up into seven pieces.”
The final production replicates a live theater experience as much as possible. The licensing company Music Theater International stipulated the production had to seem as “live” as possible with the entire show recorded in the theater space.
“We recorded everything as individuals or very small distanced groups,” Hale said. “The entire cast has never been together in one room.”
Those recordings were mixed to sound like one cohesive group performance.