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Shaelin Leach

Shae Leach '24 recaps the Winter Musical, one of the most unique and performances in Perkiomen theatre history. 

Although COVID-19 has halted present normalcy throughout the community, the Perkiomen Fine and Performing Arts Department was determined to preserve the tradition of the annual winter musical. “The Perks” is a musical produced and composed entirely by Perkiomen School Students, making it one of the most unique and accomplished performances that has been executed. On Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 P.M., this show was broadcasted to members and families of Perkiomen School, received incredible feedback, and was widely received. 

 

 

This musical follows students at ‘Lower Perk’ through an unprecedented theatre season, occurring amidst a natural disaster that causes conventional theatre to come to a complete standstill. However, the show must go on! This musical explores the everyday lives of these students, as well as how they navigate through global, real-life issues on a local level, an example of life imitating art. This show mirrors contemporary, universal circumstances.

According to Ms. Higginbotham, the Director of Music at Perkiomen, there are a lot of great aspects included in the show and numerous features that she had looked forward to sharing! Specifically, she was thrilled to share the numerous, original musical numbers. As “The Perks” is unlike a traditional musical, Ms. Higginbotham had the opportunity to select assorted songs from a variety of origins, not adhering to a singular source. She discovered enjoyment in selecting fitting songs for each individual student and incorporating her own personal twists. Furthermore, Ms. Higginbotham and those involved in the show were thrilled to share their story and allow the Perkiomen community to come together and experience their hard work come to life. As apparent, theatrical productions at Perkiomen were missed greatly among students and faculty due to the impact of COVID-19.

In order to adhere to COVID-19 mitigation measures, all scenes and music were pre-recorded in advance of the release of the show by a film company. Musical numbers had to be recorded in a studio as well, with one actor permitted per day, creating difficulties pertaining to time management, as it was an extremely long process. Additionally, the incorporation of those virtual, as well as the transition to virtual learning throughout the month of November caused numerous challenges. These setbacks caused those involved in the show to constantly adapt, which was the reality of the process. 

However, there were countless positives that ensued from this show. According to Ms. Higginbotham, there was a strong longing for theatre to continue, despite the pandemic, and the students involved proved the need of and the importance of the arts. Ms. Higginbotham said, “Each participant leaned into it really hard, which was not an easy task.” 

Ms. Higginbotham believes that her personal greatest accomplishment was having the opportunity to get to know all of the kids involved in the production beyond the mask, as a new teacher starting during the pandemic. According to Ms. Higginbotham, she has gained a better understanding of who they are as people and has absolutely fallen in love with the Perkiomen School community. 

Her advice to the Perkiomen community: "show up, don’t hold back, be loud, and be vocal!" Make sure to shower the amazing performers with all of your praise, as a great product ensued from the hard work.