Parkview Magnet’s theatre students film movie musical in place of traditional stage performance

Parkview teachers and students stage and perform Fame Jr., the classic 1980’s story of teens experiencing the highs and lows of four years in high school.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In the Spring of 2020, after nearly three months of student rehearsal, Parkview was forced to cancel their Spring Musical production of 9 to 5 the Musical with nearly three weeks until opening night due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cancellation was a huge blow to the hopes and dreams of 100 actors, technicians, and orchestra members who had been working so diligently towards the sacred Parkview tradition.

Virtual plays made up the bulk of Parkview’s work as they worked to navigate the technical challenges of telling stories through Zoom while COVID-19 numbers soared across the state and country. 

As the Spring 2021 semester began, much was still unknown about what would be possible, but the need to produce a Spring Musical was an ever-pressing concern. 

Could they produce a musical safely? How would the audience safely view the production if they created one? What about masks, choreography, vocal performance, set construction?

The answer came in two words: Movie Musical.

Rather than attempting to do a traditional stage musical performance, Parkview teachers and students would stage and perform Fame Jr., the classic 1980’s story of teens experiencing the highs and lows of four years at “The High School for the Performing Arts.”

The whole of Parkview’s building would become the set. 

Parkview’s new Cinema Arts teacher Trace Thurman would guide in the process of filming, and students would have the opportunity to create something physically together after so much time apart. 

For the last three months, Parkview students have danced down hallways and on top of picnic tables, with the requirement of masks, and learned about the ins and outs of performing for the camera. 

Likewise, technical students have learned how to light scenes, handle cameras, and record audio.

Limitation breeds creativity and for the students at Parkview Arts / Science Magnet High School, that creativity has resulted in a movie musical production of Fame Jr.

The show will stream digitally from April 23-25 and you can find more information here.