The Beat

The Beat

Martina Santos 26 (left) hosts Nieves Gomez as an exchange student from Madrid.
Meet Nieves Gomez
May 27, 2024

Carrollton’s Aladdin, better late than never



Committed to, “The show must go on,” drama teacher Mrs. Rodriguez puts on Aladdin the Musical – almost two years in the making.

Auditions for Aladdin the Musical began in November, 2019 with a performance planned for March 26 and 27. However, with the COVID pandemic starting to take hold, on March 15 Carrollton went virtual and Aladdin was cancelled.  

The 2020-2021 school year began virtually, but with CDC recommended safety measures in place, Carrollton returned to in-school learning. Mrs. Rodriguez, the upper school performing arts teacher and director of Aladdin, seeing the opportunity, asked the administration for permission to put on the play while following COVID guidelines. Carrollton agreed, and she jumped at the chance to put on the play. And so rehearsals began.

“The school was very supportive, however, the stipulation was the play had to be performed outdoors. Studies made it clear that singing indoors was not safe which is the reason we were unable to perform in the Convocation Center,” wrote Mrs. Rodriguez. Despite this she was grateful, only 5 seniors from last year needed to be replaced. Mrs. Rodriguez continued, “The real challenge came when we started rehearsals this year and a number of current students dropped out of the show. I went from a cast of 33 to a cast of 21. I had 3 additional students who stepped up and took on the roles of the guards. I also recast some roles, reworked the script, and adjusted the blocking and choreography to make up for the difference.” Losing about 36 percent of her cast, Mrs. Rodriguez remained determined and did not let that dampen her spirit. 

During rehearsals, COVID made setbacks unavoidable. Mrs. Rodriguez wrote, “I was very concerned about the safety of the actors and the adults since we were working in close proximity to each other. The actors also had to sing and dance with masks on, which was not easy on them.” Singers had to practice outside and backstage gatherings were omitted. 

Kayla Novas ‘21, cast as Jafar, wrote, “Of course, we had to distance, but I felt like everything was higher stakes. Everyone was more stressed, especially with a few cast members coming in close contact with COVID.  Because the show was nearly finished when we stopped for quarantine last year, rehearsals this year were to brush off the dust and reblock scenes to be outdoor-adapted. I loved being able to perform in Aladdin, but after COVID, rehearsals lacked the spontaneity, excitement, and escape from stressful reality rehearsal once provided.” 

Mrs. Rodriguez continued, “There were a number of challenges. Where to put the stage and the audience was an issue. The stage was quite large so we ended up having to block one of the walkways which was not ideal. We had some special effects we were planning for some of the scenes that did not work outdoors and had to be scrapped. We also had to deal with sound challenges, and we were unable to use any lighting since rigging up lights was cost prohibitive. Thank God we got lucky with the weather, but that was stressful because that is the one thing we had absolutely no control over. A positive was the play lent itself to an outdoor setting so, in the end, it all turned out well.”

Kennedy James ‘23, an audience member, shared, “I feel like the actors adjusted very well, they met the COVID guidelines by not being close to each other for a long period of time, they wore their masks, and still were able to perform an awesome show, probably one of the best.”

“Giving the students the opportunity to finally perform the show was definitely a source of joy for me. I am proud of the collaborative effort Mrs. Tepavac, Mr. Poore, and I put forth to make it happen. It was truly a monumental undertaking that I could not have done without them. I am also proud of the cast and dancers who stuck by this show and saw it through. I am proud to say we might actually be one of the few schools able to mount a full-scale production in the middle of a pandemic,” concluded Mrs. Rodriguez.

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