STERLING — The old adage “the show must go on” has never been more applicable than to the Sterling College Theatre production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel. After four postponements due to COVID, the classic show will be available to stream online this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 30 and 31. The show will be offered through the website Broadway On Demand.
Carousel was recorded during its two performances Jan. 15 and 16. Because the size of the audience was limited to 90 due to Rice County Health Department regulations, the show was only publicized to the Sterling College campus and to families of the 40-member cast and crew.
“We know there were many who would have attended the show and hated that we could not have a larger audience,” comments director Sasha Hildebrand. “But we were honestly just so thankful to get to do the show at all.”
The show was cast over a year ago and was originally intended to be staged in April of last year. After COVID hit and the campus was closed, that could not happen. So the show was moved to November and then to the first week of January due to cast members being quarantined. “We were ready in November and had a full dress rehearsal minus a couple actors before Thanksgiving. We didn’t have another run-through until almost two months later,” Hildebrand said.
The cast and crew had rehearsed using masks the entire time until the first performance when the masks came off. “We were so fortunate that every single student involved in the show – cast and crew – were able to participate in the two performances. No one had to miss due to quarantining or being COVID positive,” Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand staged the show in-the-round in Upper Wilson on a newly constructed round stage which was designed by theatre faculty member Stephen English. The music director for the show was faculty member Marisa Callan who also accompanied on keyboard. Costumes were designed by senior theatre student Tiffany Adams and lights were by junior theatre student Matt Eilts.
“Doing a 30-person cast musical in-the-round and during COVID proved a tremendous challenge but I’m proud to say we succeeded,” Hildebrand said. “We took comfort knowing that the show would be seen by more than our limited in-person audience through the online offering.” Carousel marks Sterling College Theatre’s first venture into offering a show online. “We are thrilled to be able to share this show with family, friends, and Sterling College alumni,” she said.
Filming an in-the-round production also proved challenging. Both live performances were recorded with four cameras. Sterling College Marketing Assistant Micah Black oversaw the filming and editing process. “We were very lucky to have Micah who also has a theater background,” Hildebrand said. “He literally spent hours and hours editing the four different camera feeds down to one total film. We are quite pleased with the way the recording has turned out. Of course, nothing beats ‘live’ theatre but this is definitely the next best thing!”
The beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical includes such classics as “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and the inspirational “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The in-the-round presentation heightened the emotion, intimacy and urgency of the show.
The online stream of Sterling College Theatre’s Carousel will only be available for 48 hours from midnight Friday night through midnight Sunday night. With one virtual ticket purchased the show may be viewed any number of times by any number of people within that time frame.
To purchase the stream event go towww.sterling.edu/carousel-online-musical and follow the instructions and link to Broadway On Demand. The virtual ticket to Carousel is $12.94. The total running time of the show including opening comments from the directors is two hours and 45 minutes.