One year ago, in mid-March 2020, Parker Players was in the middle of its second week of rehearsals for The Fantasticks. We had a stellar cast, representing adult talent from Barrington, Lake Zurich, Skokie, Zion, Island Lake and Chicago. Sets were designed, costume sketches approved, choreography and blocking taught, lyrics on the cusp of memorization.

 

I emailed the cast and paused our rehearsal process. Perhaps we would pick up in May, perhaps our production could be put off until June.

 

I returned our materials to MTI in September. Our younger cast members moved on to college campuses, our older cast members remained hunkered down.

 

Hunkered down, but not still. What do performing artists do when they can’t perform? We train. We teach and take lessons virtually. We invest in ring lights and iphone stands to record our virtual auditions. We read plays and listen to soundtracks. We experiment with virtual rehearsals and filmed productions.

 

We make do.

 

The truth, though? Nothing replaces the energy of a live performance. The thrill of the moment when anything could happen. The immediate reactions of audience members—whether it be laughter, boredom, joy or even heckling. The camaraderie of a cast, remaining in the moment, helping each other craft the best show possible.

 

What now?

 

Parker Players is committed to bringing live theater back to Barrington. Our musicians, our vocalists, our dancers, our artists are ready.

 

Our artistic team is meeting. We are thinking and planning. It’s time.

 

We are ready. We hope you are too.

'Waiting for the spotlight'

Charcoal drawing by Liza McHugh

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