Sock ‘n’ Buskin — “How to Succeed” in the Age of the COVID-19

Governor Cuomo’s 5/1 Closure of NYS school Buildings for Remainder of School Year Puts an End to School Musical

Lucy Edmunds, Junior, Photography Editor

Hoping to build on the success of both last spring’s musical MAMMA MIA and this past fall’s comedy ALMOST MAINE,  PMHS’ Sock ‘N’ Buskin was in rehearsal for the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying when everything was put on hold due to the pandemic.  The group was just two weeks away from opening night when things came to a grinding halt. With the school year up in the air, the group hoped that the show might still go on if we can discover How To Succeed in Business in the Age of the Coronavirus.

Based off of a book of the same title by Shepherd Mead, Dr. Jacob Weinstock and Willie Gilbert’s production was the winner of  eight Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for best drama. Broadway versions of this  ‘rags to riches’ story have starred celebrities such as Daniel Radcliffe and Nick Jonas. The PMHS production was to be performed the weekend of March 28.

Although not Harry Potter or a Jonas Brother, senior Jack Finegan was cast as main character, J. Pierrepont Finch, with other lead roles being held by seniors Meredith Heller, Arthur O’Sullivan, Charlie Pedorella, and Emma McNulty, along with sophomores, Oliver Tam, Natalie Pursel, Austin Kelly, and freshman Bella Rosado. The cast has continued to rehearse virtually, meeting through Google Meet to run lines, rehearse songs, and review dances.

Teachers, Mr. Neil Schleifer and Mr. Thomas Beck have helmed the Sock ‘n’ Buskin program for many years. Each production takes hard work and dedication, but this time the directors were faced with something they never could have anticipated.

Mr. Schleifer said, “It’s always challenging to mount a show. Pelham students are pulled in many directions. Senior talent show and olympics fall in the midst of our rehearsal process so we always have to be flexible. We’ve had students break an arm or an ankle at the last minute. The pandemic, though, has by far been our greatest challenge. Luckily, we are blessed with a very talented cast who work very hard.” 

With all this being said, the current coronavirus pandemic has, as many of you know, led to closure of schools nationwide with PMHS being one of them. As a sign of their perseverance, Sock’n’Buskin continued to hold rehearsals over Google Meet, with over forty students taking part, hoping to be able to put on a show if schools reopened.

UPDATE: On Friday, May 1 Governor Cuomo announced that school buildings across New York State would remained closed for the remainder of the school year, effectively dashing the hopes of Sock ‘n’ Buskin members that the musical might still be performed. The group still plans to do a “virtual” performance of the Young Playwrights Festival. Information on this is forthcoming.