Leonia Limelighters have played a significant role in Leonia High Schools’ history. They are Leonia High School’s drama club and have proven to be very successful with shows like Pippin, Romeo and Juliet, Bye Bye Birdie, and more. Every year they prepare months in advance to create plays and musicals for the community of Leonia.
The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted many local organizations, including the Leonia Limelighters. After months of preparation for their 2020 spring musical of “High School Musical”, the show was canceled.
After the cancellation of the 2020 musical production, the Limelighters were excited to get back to business as usual for the 2021 school year. They were able to present two short plays in the spring of 2021. They presented a comedy called “Paper or Plastic”, and a drama about cyber-bullying called “Exposure”. Neither of these, however, could be considered business as usual because the show could not be held at the high school’s Little Theater due to Covid-19 regulations.
Instead, their play was held at an outdoor stage located at Overpeck Park. This was a challenge for the Limelighters. Props had to be moved from the high school’s theater to the outdoor stage every day that they were there. Jude Ala, the stage manager of the Limelighters, claims that it was a very new experience for everyone. Ala says, “it was like, oh wow, I’ve never done this before”. New guidelines meant that the Limelighers were face-to-face with more challenging tasks. Ala even described it as a very labor-intensive experience.
Emilia Morello, the Junior President of the Limelighters and a leading role in this winter’s play agrees and says, “It was really difficult, but I’m glad we were able to do it. It gave us time to spend together again”. For the plays to come to life at Overpeck Park, the crew was forced to face unfamiliar grounds.
On the opening night of their show, they were challenged by heavy rain, which caused them to have to cancel it. They had planned for three shows in total, but their two other shows didn’t go exactly as planned either. Morello says, “It was so much different from what we had prepared for or expected.” According to her, the crowds were small, and it was difficult for audiences to understand the dialogue with heavy wind, low-quality microphones, and masks on.
This year, the Limelighters expect much better. As of this fall, the team is working on “Midsummer Nights Dream”, a Shakespeare play. Their opening night is scheduled for December 2nd, with three other shows between then and December 4th. The Limelighters are excited to get back into their normal routines, and the community is excited about getting back together through events like this. Whether you are a part of the club or a watcher of their shows, there is a lot of community involvement to be done!