All Together Now! showcases new theatre talent


   Lights come up on the dusty stage floor, awaiting the ensemble of eager students ready to perform onstage again after a devastating hiatus brought on by COVID.  But this year’s production, while reminiscent of years prior, puts a new spin on the standard musical format. 

   The show, All Together Now!, stands out from productions in previous years, because it doesn’t have a storyline or theme. Instead, it’s a musical review: a collection of scenes composed of classic musical theater songs. Each scene is crafted to be stand-alone, instead of trying to be one connected story. It includes numbers from famous musicals such as Rent, Newsies, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Mamma Mia! and more. 

   “What’s unique is the fact that it’s a compilation of many different musicals, rather than having a specific plot,” said Kaja Pusara, a sophomore in the cast. 

   Usually, a play takes about 8-12 weeks to produce, while a musical is a 12-16 week production process. Unique again, this show is being put together in only 9 weeks.

   “It’s a challenge, but these last two years have been a challenge, and we’ve tried to navigate that,” said Mrs. Melissa Wolf, acting teacher, and director of the show. “We’re doing what we can with what we got.”

    All Together Now! was put together by Music Theatre International, a theatrical licensing agency, as an opportunity for local theaters to perform live again. Typically, theaters have to pay for the licensing, in order to perform a show. Since a lot of theaters struggled during the pandemic, without shows to earn revenue, Music Theatre International arranged for the show to be free-of-charge to use, as a sort of fundraiser for those drama departments. All around the world, almost 2,500 local theatres will be performing this show over November 12-15, 2021 (MTI Shows). 

  “It’s celebrating the rebirth of live theater back onto our stages,” said Mrs. Wolf.

   While all 2,500 productions of the show contain the same music, show-to-show might look a tad different. For example, Guilford’s production of the musical is altering the content of the show, by adding acting scenes. 

   “I also wanted to try to feature students who might not have had the most confidence in their musical abilities,” said Mrs. Wolf, “so we also added a comedic script about audience behavior.” This added script allows students to show off their acting abilities that may not have been shown off in the musical numbers. 

   “I think they’re interesting,” said Isabel Domyslawski, a senior in the production. “It’s like really funny interactions between all characters.” 

   With the short production time and different show format, Mrs. Wolf worried about the cast’s unity and sense of ensemble. 

   “With a show that has a through-line, a beginning, a middle, and an end, I think that sometimes the cast bonds over that storyline more, because they’re all having that same experience,” said Mrs. Wolf. But the sense of community within the theater department still holds strong, despite the circumstances. 

   “I didn’t realize how close I would get with my costars, and how much of that happy, family vibe we give off when performing,” said Pusara. “Audience members should look forward to the unity we bring on the stage.”

   “It tries to include everyone, and tries to show that unity is a good thing,” said Domyslawski. 

   The show will be performed on November 12, at 7 PM, and November 13, at 2 PM and 7 PM.

   “Audience members should look forward to a lighthearted piece of theater that they can go and see our Guilford students be able to showcase their talents, and leave with a smile on their face,” said Mrs. Wolf.