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The show will go on for some high school musicals; Emmaus, Parkland, Northwestern jump into the streaming

While the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, and WFMZ-TV plan another televised and online tribute for the Freddy Awards for 2021, several Lehigh Valley high school theater departments are working to produce spring musicals.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic closed down most high school musicals in 2020. Continued restrictions to contain the pandemic have hindered high school productions and cancelled Freddy Awards evaluations for 2021.

In spite of these setbacks, several schools are working to make the spring musical season come back to life.

In order to follow CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID social distancing and safety protocol, the shows are expected to be performed outdoors or available for online viewing.

Northwestern Lehigh High School’s production of “Mary Poppins” will be live-streamed April 9 and 10, says Director Bill Mutimer.

Emmaus High School will be producing “Tuck Everlasting” and streaming it in early June. according to Director Jill Kuebler.

Parkland High School’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” online show runs tentatively May 21-23, says Director Francis Anonia.

Northampton Area High School screened a revue of segments from previous seasons productions on March 12 and 13.

Other local schools with musical productions in the works include Freedom, Whitehall, Salisbury, and the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts.

The “Freddy Awards: A Television Special Celebrating the High School Musical Class of 2020” premiered May 21 on 69-WFMZ, a long-time partner with the State Theatre for the telecast.

This year’s virtual tribute event is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 27.

“The restrictions of the pandemic will prevent our evaluative process once again, so it will be another creative year,” said Shelley Brown, Executive Producer of the awards program and President and CEO of the State Theatre, in a Jan. 12 press release.

“Thanks to our partnership with WFMZ, we will still produce a television special that will celebrate the high school students’ work, but we will be unable to evaluate any high school shows in our traditional fashion,” Brown said.

“The bright spot in all of this is the fact that WFMZ is committed to another broadcast in which we can celebrate the kids. We will work together to make this as special as we can,” said Brown.

“And it is very important to us that our college scholarship opportunities continue. Our program is a top priority to the theater, but we need to adapt this year’s changing landscape,” Brown said.

Named after the historic theater venue’s “Fred the Ghost,” the Freddy Awards were created to recognize and reward outstanding achievement in local high school musical theater. J. “Fred” Osterstock had managed the company that owned the theater from 1936 until his death in 1957.

Information: https://statetheatre.org/

PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIER Freddy Awards logo is displayed in the State Theatre box office during the 2018 awards event.