Covid-19 is changing how we live every area of our lives, and that includes the arts. But as the saying goes… the show must go on.
Shreveport Little Theatre produces a large-scale musical every summer with Laura Beeman Nugent serving as director and choreographer and Adam Philley as music director. This year, the show will be “9-to-5 the Musical,” a stage adaptation of the 1980 comedy starring Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda about three office workers who take revenge on their sexist, tyrannical boss. The on-stage version, written by Patricia Resnick with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, is an old storyline but still rings true today.
“Coming back to it now and looking at it with a different pair of eyes, you know, looking at it through the me-too movement, voices are starting to be heard more and more,” said Laura Beeman Nugent. “While it’s a comedy, it still has that truth to it.”
The show is supposed to open in July. First round auditions were scheduled for March 21st but, due to crowd restrictions, are now being submitted by video only. Usually as many as 100 hopefuls show up for face-to-face auditions. They sing a song, and then they are taught choreography for a dance to be performed minutes later for the directors.
“So when someone walks in to a normal face-to-face audition, they come in and I’m usually sitting behind the piano,” said Adam Philley. “They bring some sheet music and a cutting they’ve prepared. So that preparation process is very different from what we’re seeing now. How you work under pressure is something we look for in that audition process as well.”
But this year, all vocal auditions are sent via video link, sung either acapella or with an accompaniment track.
“It allows them to be 100% confident in what they do, because there’s no pressure of someone sitting, staring intently at you while you’re singing,” said Nugent.
Choreography is being taught online, as well, and those auditioning will record themselves doing the dance and send it in. So, while the directors won’t get the opportunity to see how everyone performs under pressure, it is a much easier and less stressful option for those who may want to give it a shot for the first time.
“We are all going to be desperate for that connection and that community when we come out on the other side of this,” said Philley. “This is a great way to give back to your community and be a part of a community theatre that’s been around for a hundred years. Why not do it now?”
The submission deadline for vocal video auditions is Saturday, March 28. The deadline for dance auditions is April 1st. For more information, visit Shreveport Little Theatre on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .