In March of 2020, we had just begun rehearsals for a Disney production. We weren't sure when we would be able to meet in person, so we began rehearsals on Zoom. After a month, a quick pivot was in order. There was no clear date of when people could gather. Broadway was temporarily closed and school productions were being cancelled all over the country. We got real creative and changed our show to something we could do on Zoom. We created a show called Monologues and Musical Performances, giving the 23 kids in the cast a chance to each have their own starring role in which they got to sing and act. The cast performed the show live on Zoom in front of a large audience of friends and family in June of 2020.
This was the beginning of our Virtual Musical Theater Program. We discovered programs that were designed to be rehearsed and performed on line and our first show was "The Show Must Go on Line", a show about a cancelled show that had to be performed on line. Life imitated art in this very realistic and magical performance. We also created a Virtual Cabaret. We even scheduled one in-person rehersal, 6 feet apart all wearing masks, so the kids could all connect. In the meantime, the director of our program, Miriam Risko even earned a certificate from The Broadway Teaching Group in Teaching Theatre Online.
The fall of 2020 promised to be bright as we begin rehearsals for "The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley". This show was also designed to be rehearsed and performed on line but we offered several opportunities for the cast to come together in-person, following all saftely protocols, to rehearse. There was also another Cabaret opportunity, a few more virtual shows and a series of musical theater and theater classes (hybrid style) for kids of all ages. Our winter production was "Super Happy Awesome News", a show about two rival siblings who each wanted to create a Super Happy News Show. We even had Lisa Salvadorini from News !2 pop in to teach the kids about their on camera presence. Our Spring 2021 show is "Could You Hug A Cactus" which is a hybrid show.
We are looking forward to the re-opening of Broadway and when we can come back to our full musical theater program in-person. We are excited that in the meantime we can still offer these meaningful theatrical experiences for kids and offer ways for them to keep building their skills and their repetoire and to keep singing. We are also excited to incorporate all these new virtual things we learned over the last year. Although we are beginning to bring back our in-person program, we will continue to offer virtual musical theater opportunities and we also plan to use the virtual platform for some of our rehearsal needs. All our shows also offer the participants an oppotunity to come together in-person for outdoor rehearsals.
Mike Risko Music offers some in-person musical theater opportunties as a part of our hybrid plan. We follow strict safety protocols including temperature checks, hand sanitzer stations and social distancing circles which keeps the participants 6 feet apart. Masks are required at all times and in warmer months, we are offering these programs outdoors in our outdoor education area which is a designated as part of our property. We also have areas on the sides of our building and we have tents to help protect from sun and rain. We also have a large open area inside where we offer these programs. We are excited to be able to give our students safe opportunities to connect in person.
We have implemented very strong safety protocols, including installing the MERV-13 filters in our HVAC system so you can be assured that any in-person programming is done with the utmost care for our customers and staff's well being. You can read about these protocols here.
Flat Stanley and the ensemble.
Scenes in the museum from Flat Stanley.
Curbside rehearsal from Flat Stanley.
Welcome Virtual Cast and Crew!
We are really excited to start rehearsals. Once you have registered, you will begin receiving emails from us with important details about the rehearsal process. Please make note of the following important things:
Make sure you and your child are on our email list for updates, Read emails carefully and hold onto them for reference.
When you receive your script, print it out and put it in a binder. Do not share the script with anyone. Always have it with you at rehearsal.
Have your child choose their top three roles. This does not guarantee the role, but it gives the kids a chance to weigh in about what parts they want. The will be able to share that information at rehearsal with the director.
Make sure to answer all the questions in the feedback form so we have all your information.
Create a distraction-free log-in area for rehearsals. Make sure you have a good device to log-in from and that your wi-fi is strong in that area. The area should be well lit and the device should be at a good angle. The background should be a wall or an area that is clear from personal belongings.
Make sure that your child logs into the rehearsal right when it starts and not any earlier. Make sure they log out at the end of the rehearsal by leaving the meeting.
Remind your child that during rehearsal, they should not use the chat box or share their screen unless instructed to do so. They are also not allowed to take pictures or video of rehearsal. Do not use any of the Zoom style backgrounds.
When your child logs into the rehearsal, they should change their screen name to their first name only to make it easier for us to know who is talking. Remind them to leave their camera on at all times unless instructed otherwise.
Have them practice muting and unmuting their mic so they know how to do this in rehearsal.
Finally, make sure they have everything they need with them for rehearsal including a bottle of water and a pencil. Once we begin using costumes or props, they should have those with them too.
If you have trouble logging in, please call the music school at 914-762-8757. You will receive log-in info the night before each rehearsal. There is always a new link for rehearsal so do not log-in using an old link.
If you have any questions, let us know! This should help you get prepared for rehearsals. Thank you for taking the time to read this important information.