All-School Musical Cancelled Amid COVID-19 Setbacks


Photo by Gail Comiskey

This year’s all-school musical was recently cancelled amid multple setbacks related to COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues following the emergence of the Omicron variant, another causality was the cancellation of Patchogue-Medford’s all school Musical. The High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast, set to take the stage February 10th, was cancelled due to ‘COVID-19 related setbacks’ 

“We have been unable to rehearse at a consistent level,” writes Dr. Rusielewicz on Student Square this past Tuesday. “To perform to a PMHS All School Musical standard, we need a solid 3-4 weeks of rehearsal with everyone in the cast and pit orchestra present; give or take a student here or there. That has not happened yet. With the inability to rehearse to the level we require, we have reached a point when there is no way we can make our February performance dates”.

Dr. Rusielewicz continues with the even greater issue of possibly rescheduling such a production: 

“Our All School Musical is strategically scheduled during this time for many reasons such as:  

  1. February falls in between the Winter and Spring Sports Seasons  
  1. March/April PMHS hosts SCMEA, String Night, Jazz Night, Choral Night, POPS Night, in addition to many outside organizations that have already booked our high school for evening events. 

      3.May/June is unavailable due to AP exams, Induction Nights, Recognition Nights, & End-of-year concerts district-wide and Moving Up Ceremonies by elementary and middle schools.” 

Therefore, the school was left with no other choice but to make the painstaking call to pull the plug on the production. 

Although this choice to cancel was made with good reasoning, the cast, crew, and pit cannot help but feel disappointed withing these circumstances. 

Junior Elliot Richards, casted as Gaston, the buff brute who pines over Belle, explain how he, “feel(s) frustrated (…) we had such a great cast and it’s such a shame that the seniors aren’t able to have a real musical to go off on” 

Seniors especially feel the most upset over this news. I asked Nicole Pottgen, a talented senior who was cast as Belle. Nicole has been performing in these All-School productions since her freshman year “This was a devastating outcome” she explains, “It is definitely difficult to process the fact I won’t be able to have the senior show that I have been looking forward to for years” Although she is heartbroken about the situation, Pottgen maintains a positive mindset,”I am optimstic for the rest of the year and I am most of all hoping everyone stay(s) safe and healthy”.

With all that being said, there is some hope for these performers as Dr. R writes “With that said, we want to offer something in lieu of not having an All-School Musical. We are thinking of a cabaret musical night where students can show off their talent for their peers, families, and guests. This will not require an extensive rehearsal schedule and we can fit it in between other events already previously scheduled later in the year. This is assuming there is a substantial drop in quarantines and cases. To discuss this further, we will hold a meeting for all interested students on Monday, January 24, 2022 at 2:30pm in the high school auditorium”. 

With that, as we learn to live in these unprecedented times, we learn to adapt; and with a community as strong as we are, we will find a way to do so.