We All Need A Good Show Tune In The Age Of Coronavirus

Mar 18, 2020

The coronavirus has upended daily life, shutting down most large events and public spaces, including the theater.

Broadway singer Laura Benanti, who's known for her Tony-award winning role in the 2008 revival of "Gypsy," recently tweeted about the impact the closures would have on high school students, many of whom had planned to perform upcoming musicals.

"As I know for so many of us, I know for me, my high school musical was like a life saver,” she said on Twitter.

Benanti asked people to share videos of themselves singing songs that aren’t getting the chance to be heard by an audience. Thousands responded – with performances from “The Phantom of the Opera" to "The Wiz."

Nathan Diaz, a senior at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, tweeted his thespian troupe’s performance of “What A Game” from the musical “Ragtime.” It’s a classic Broadway group number about playing baseball – experienced at a time when Major League Baseball and other sports leagues are suspending play in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Diaz’s troupe won the Critic’s Choice award at a local festival. That meant they were supposed to go on to perform the piece at the state competition, which was ultimately canceled.

“It was jarring, certainly for all of us,” he said. “It’s difficult to go through this whole process and have an idea of what your senior year would be and it gets drastically changed.”

Diaz, 18, said there’s a silver lining, though.

“Artists do not get a lot of rest as, as anyone in the business really knows,” he said. “Because of this hiatus, we’re looking forward to the rest, the rehabilitation and the kind of recentering of our person before we go back into our art that we so love.”

For many of us, we’ll be recentering from home — maybe listening to our favorite songs, including show tunes.

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