Showbiz stops for no one, not even viruses

An interview with Ms. Long about the procedures for Willy Wonka Jr.


Zachary Breder, Writer

Ms. Long teaches the musical theater class at Cartersville high school. Last year, this class was working on a production of the show Willy Wonka Jr. Due to the coronavirus, the show has been moved to this year. With all the uncertainty of how the show will go, some concreate information is needed. Here it is:


When you found out that the show had to be switched to this year, with all its uncertainty, how did you feel?

Well, honestly, when I found out that we had to cancel the show we didn’t know […]  if we were going to be able to do it this year or not. So, there was a lot of uncertainty and disappointment for my seniors. Because they took such a leading role with directing and choreographing and all of the leadership that goes on to producing a show […]. So, I was discouraged for them but a little bit hopeful that in the fall we could pull it together

When do you see the show happening?

So right now, we have it planned for December 5th and that’s a Saturday. So, we’ll have two performances, a matinee, and then an evening performance

How did you feel about recasting the show? What decisions did you have to make when recasting the show?

Well, honestly it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Because we have lots of pieces from last year and then we have new people […] and I had to really think about where they would best fit. And we’re so lucky because we have such talented students that we were able to find good students to fit [in roles] where we’ll be able to put on a show of good quality. But it was not easy.

Since the show is now delayed, what needs to be done with the props, costumes, and sets of the show?

We are digging through everything we left in boxes in March. And I am so blessed because I have two tech classes, both classes do different things. My tech 1 class, they’re picking up where we left off on props. It isn’t a lot but it’s neat because they’re just learning about what a prop is. And now they’re actually making props for Willy Wonka. And then my advanced class is finishing the sets

What do the original actors need to do to get back to the skill level they were at last year?

Focus. Only because they’re so excited to be together again in class. Because it really is a favorite class of mine. Theirs is at the end of the day, we get to sing and dance, we haven’t been together since March. And now, we’re together and we’re trying to remember the choreography from March, and lines from March, and the vocals from March. So, when we concentrate, they do such a great job and they’re able to help the newbie cast members. And this week in particular was really productive with choreography because everybody really pitched in […] so that we could remember and make some progress.

How are the new actors doing now that they have been placed into a preprepared show?

They’re great. They are amazing. They are hanging in there […]. They’re in there with kids who have a lot of experience in musicals and for some of them, this is their very first musical. And they’re working so hard, I’m very proud of them.

How will the performance look in regards to Covid 19? Will the actors need to take any precautions during the show?

Yeah, well, I went to The Grand Theater’s performance of Newsies over the summer. Partly because some of my students were in it and I was excited to see them, and also to do some research as to what kind of precautions did they set forth. And what they had was all of the performers wore shields on stage. And they did try to space them out a little bit […]. They weren’t six feet apart the whole time, but they were mindful of their spacing. And then as an audience member, my husband and I sat together, but there were six chairs in between us and the next family.

How will the audience and seating look in regards to Covid 19?

Yeah, so we’ll have less people, and we’ll just spread them out. We have such an amazing auditorium; I mean we have 800 seats. You know, even if we get 200 people, we’ll be able to spread everybody out and we’ll be fine.

Is there a possibility of the show being livestreamed or recorded so that people can watch from home?

There is a possibility, but we have to get the rights to do that […]. MTI has been great, that’s the company that we purchase our rights and our scripts from. And they have been working with everyone. But I just have to go back now and see if that’s something we want to do. And if so, how much will it cost. So maybe, yeah.