When the pandemic hands you lemons, make lemonade.
That might be the lesson learned by the kids in Michael Krop Senior High School’s performing arts magnet program. The pandemic restrictions prevented the theatre students from staging shows or even rehearsing together in person.
“We couldn’t even compete in thespian competitions this year, and we were state champs last year,” said theatre teacher Jamel Booth, an alumnus of the school. “We had to think of the most creative, corona-free way to not only rehearse and produce the performing arts but to allow an audience to see it as well.”
So as soon as Miami-Dade County Public Schools allowed group rehearsals, Booth decided his class would make a movie, a full-length feature film of musical numbers called “Fun and Fancy Free.” It’s a vehicle to let the students do what they do best since they couldn’t stage their usual productions.
“They hadn’t been able to perform with each other in over a year, to sing with each other in over a year, dance with each other, feed off of each other’s energy, so it was very important for them to be able to do this,” Booth said.
Keep in mind these are musical THEATRE kids so this movie project is almost a silver lining of the pandemic, because now they have experience they would not have gotten any other way.
“I would say more than anything it has expanded my horizons for my ideas of the future because previously I was so in love with the stage,” said Joshua Reaves, a junior in the program.
“Initially I wanted to do film, that’s my aspiration, I want to do film, and this just really powered it now, I see it, I felt it, now it’s full-steam ahead for it,” added Joshua Lyons, a senior who graduated yesterday.
The kids learned all the different aspects of making a film, and this might be the best part: they’re showing it in the school’s north parking lot at the end of County Line Road, which they’re turning into a drive-in movie theatre with two big screens.
Showings are scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at 8:30 p.m., with gates opening at 7 p.m.
Booth is hoping they draw enough of an audience, at $20 per person, to make up for all the fundraising the program has lost during the pandemic.