As a precaution following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Otterbein University spring musical, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” has been canceled with no reschedule dates in sight.
This cancellation has left Otterbein theatre and dance students saddened as they will not perform their production that they have worked so hard on. Students are also questioning whether the summer play will be canceled as well.
T.J. Gerckens, the Otterbein Theatre and Dance Department Chair, said the department has not made any concrete decisions about the summer play, but they are following the COVID-19 outbreak closely.
“We will adjust the three-play season as dictated by public health officials, the decisions of the University, and our own passion to protect the health of our students, guests, artists and patrons,” said Gerckens.
Gerckens said that “our student performers were so far into the rehearsal process that they were ready for technical rehearsals and an audience. Our design-tech students had practically finished the set and props, and all but one of the actors had been fit for their costumes.”
This production should be included on students’ resumes since most of the work was done and the actors were audience-ready, according to Gerckens.
Gerckens explained, “they should include this production on their resumes with pride, and asterisk in with a note about the COVID cancellation.” Almost every school in the United States is in the same situation, and the asterisk will be understood by any employer according to Gerckens.
Dean Yurecka, a freshman musical theatre major who was cast as the swing said, “I think a lot of the cast and crew would say the flow was good and it was at a really good place.”
As a freshman, Yurecka took on a huge role as the swing, who has the job of memorizing five tracks. When Yurecka found out that he was cast as the swing for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” he was ecstatic.
“My experience as a swing was very unique because I was hearing from various members of the cast that swings rarely got called on stage, but there were a couple times I was called to step in,” said Yurecka.
Yurecka said, “countless hours have been put in and I feel extremely sorry for our seniors where this is their last show at Otterbein. They have been exuding the best energy and it’s inspiring to me...this is a crazy world we’re living in because there is no musical theater in the world, which is crazy.”
Colin Robertson, a senior musical theatre major said that the cancellation of the show was a bummer because the show and role was a dream of his. He had seen it on Broadway his sophomore year of high school.
Robertson sang one of the songs from “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” for his audition for acceptance into Otterbein’s theatre program. He felt it went full circle when he was cast for the senior lead.
When reflecting on his experience in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and his theater experience coming to a close at Otterbein, Roberston said that “I loved every minute of it...it’s weird to be doing it like this where it’s just done.”
Gerckens stated that it is too early to know if this situation will affect the fall musical in September, but the department is planning to proceed with the production this fall season.