Ridgeland High students to showcase first stage play since 2020

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RIDGELAND, Miss. (WJTV) – As the world slowly and cautiously inches towards normalcy, live performances are starting to pick up.

The main stage curtain at Ridgeland High School has been closed for more than a year, but now that’s going to change. Although it may look a little different, students are going to be able to put on their very first show since 2020.

Nearly 50 high school students will soon take the musical theatre stage again. After COVID-19 cancelled all school activities last year, many students lost the chance to make some lasting memories. When auditions were announced for “Once On This Island,” cast members were excited to be under the bright lights once again.

“I was like, ‘Why not? Why not get one last go?’ You know COVID happened recently, so we didn’t really get to do what we usually get to do. So I was like this is a great opportunity to feel like normal again,” said 12th grade cast member Matthew Finney.

“To be able to do this now, it’s awesome. It’s a great experience. It’s fun. It’s like I’m finally getting the high school experience that I wanted,” said 11th grade ensemble cast member Gabrielle Funches.

While some students joined rehearsals on Zoom, many have now joined in-person for tech week, feeling much like the family it once did.

“We have all grown closer together since we spent some time apart in quarantine. We’re back together to perform this, and we know this is our last moment to get it right, just outshine and do our thing,” said 12th grade cast member Shaundrea Carroll.

Carroll said the excitement of opening night hasn’t hit her quite yet, but she knows everyone’s hard work will pay off.

“I think once I’m back stage in my costume and everything and the audience is out here, it probably will. But you know, when we enter that wing over there in the back, we just know that we’re going to do our best and live that moment the best we can cause it is our last show together.”

“Once On This Island” will be performed at Ridgeland High School from Friday, April 30, to Sunday, May 2.

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