Folks, this is such a cool thing, and one that I couldn’t cover very well until now because I was swamped with The PopCult Gift Guide, so I am just going to borrow liberally from the Facebook Event Page for this important info…
The Contemporary Youth Arts Company has performed “Mary: A Rock Opera” beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving for the past 23 years. Because of COVID-19, they are unable to mount the usual production in 2020, but CYAC is keeping the tradition alive with a film adaptation that was shot earlier this month at the Elk City Playhouse under strict COVID-19 Protocols.
Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde’s rock opera MARY follows the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, during the final 9 months before the birth of Christ.
The cast features Afton Myers as Mary, Susannah Atkins as Gabriel, Grace Javins as Elizabeth, Christian McCormick as Joseph, Nik Tidquist as Zechariah, and Daniel Calwell as Herod.
Dan Kehde is the Playwright and Director, Mark Scarpelli is the Composer and Musical Director, Austin Susman is the Director of Photography and Editor, Penny Kehde is the Assistant Director and costume designer, Erin McGrath Susman is the Assistant Director of Photography, and sound is mixed and mastered by Daniel Cioffi.
To keep the cast and crew safe during these difficult times, all rehearsals and taping took place on a closed set. All cast and crew wore face coverings at all times on set with the exception of when actors were actively performing on camera during tapings.
The film will be released free of charge on CYAC’s YouTube page at 7PM on Friday, November 27th. In lieu of a ticket purchase, viewers are asked to send donations to the Elk City Renewal Association, the organization that sponsors the Elk City Playhouse and made this film possible.
Donations may be made at https://elkcityrenewal.org/ or via check to Elk City Renewal Association, 303 West Washington Street, Charleston WV 25302.
This is a great solution to the COVID crisis. Theatre has been devestated, and in the spirit of “the show must go on,” technology is the only way salvage what we can of the theatrical experience. Austin Susman has done an incredible job with the trailer you see at the head of this post, and it’ll be wild to see what he does with the full show.
A Charleston tradition, Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde’s rock opera, MARY, usually opens the day after Thanksgiving, and opening night is usually a reunion for previous cast members. This will be a bittersweet experience, but it’s also a testament to the power of this work that it just had to find a way to happen.
Scarpelli and Kehde’s rock opera MARY follows the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, during the final 9 months before the birth of Christ. A driving score and vibrant young talent brings the story to life on the stage. Usually accompanied by a large orchestra and chorus, MARY has become a seasonal tradition in the greater Kanawha Valley. This year, maybe more than ever, we need for a tradition like this to continue.
Normally, I make MARY a pick in The PopCult Gift Guide. This year, it’s online for free (but make a donation–don’t be a freeloader, people), so it didn’t make the list, but you can see it tonight.