Sock ‘n’ Buskin’s Working: Working on Stage During a Pandemic

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Caroline Michailoff, Editorial Director, Junior

Sock ‘n’ Buskin continued with the tradition of a spring musical this year with the showing of the Working. This year’s musical was certainly unlike any other. They had to film different clips, almost like a movie, due to the pandemic. Normally, the school would put on a live performance where an audience would come and watch in the school auditorium. This year, it was live streamed where people could purchase tickets and watch the musical be live streamed at home. The show was live streamed from April 29 to May 2.

“Mr. Schleifer and I knew we wanted to do SOME musicals because we were disappointed that we were unable to do How to Succeed at Business Without Really Trying last year. The cast worked remotely and sang their parts into their devices, sent the file to me on google classroom and then finally it was mixed with our virtual orchestra tracks,” said Mr. Beck, a codirecter of the musical. “It was challenging to schedule shooting and put the pieces together.  Also, the weather did not help. We wanted to do a lot of outside shots but we had 2 weeks of rain/wind.”

The show, a six-time Tony Award nominated musical, celebrated the joys, frustrations and heartache felt by many who feel that their contributions go unrecognized. The show debuted on Broadway in 1977 and since has been revived to reflect the changing landscape of American jobs and workers. The musical throws a spotlight on teachers, nurses, construction workers, police officers, waitresses, factory workers, phone receptionists, firefighters, and more.

“We pulled off the play with great difficulty. We had to look at the schedules of 40 different people to figure out who was available to not only rehearse but also film,” said Mr. Schiefer, co-director of the musical. “This year, once everyone created their art on camera, I had to spend anywhere from 24 to 36 hours editing what they had done into 3 minutes of film.” 

The cast filmed each scene in different local places around Pelham and inside and outside the school. They had to pre record the audio for every scene and then filmed the actual visual afterwards. The visual and audio had to be edited to line up with one another so that the words being said would match the actions being performed by the actors. 

“This year definitely brought its challenges for the spring musical, but the whole cast embraced the opportunities that we did have and definitely put our all into the show,” said Malia Mclellan, junior, who was in the production. “I am so grateful to have performed my last show with our amazing seniors, and although we were rarey together during the rehearsal and filming process, we all came together to watch the final product.”