Zionsville Community High School musical features unique format


Zionsville Community High School Choral and Musical Theater Director Sam Chenoweth took a unique approach to the fall musical amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Chenoweth, the director, and Isaac Spillman, the technical director, found new ways to keep the cast safe for the “Songs of the New World” production.

There are 11 vocalists and eight dancers in the show, plus a crew of 21. The show is being taped and, the recording will be available for digital download at 7 p.m. Nov. 20.

“We rehearsed in very small groups based on each song, constructed sound booths students could sing in without masks, then recorded a cast album in a recording studio we built on stage with a professional band,” Chenoweth said.

The visual portion of the show was then filmed along with the track, so the vocalists can remove their masks since they are lip syncing, he said.

“We took some inspiration from filmmaking and some from what a professional album would sound like and merged those together to do this in the safest way possible,” Chenoweth said. “It’s obviously not a massive show with a large cast like ‘Newsies’ or ‘Les Mis,’ but we’ve been able to create a new and different experience for our students that we are really excited about. We are confident that people are going to be really impressed with the final product.”

Chenoweth said the show is tough to stage at the high school level in any format.

“But I’ve never seen another high school try to tackle a project like this one,” he said. “It’s really unique.”

For ticket information for the recording, visit zionsvillepac.org. There also are options at the link to purchase CDs and a behind-the-scenes video.