- As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, there have been school closures across the country.
- 33 states have announced statewide shutdowns of public schools so far, and some, like Texas, predict classes could be discontinued through the academic year.
- In response to the news that so many school musicals would be cancelled, Broadway actress Laura Benanti posted on Twitter, encouraging students to post videos of the songs they would have performed.
- Benanti’s hashtag #SunshineSongs has received a huge response from students who still want to share their hard work with audiences.
- Here is everything we know about coronavirus so far.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Though high school student musical performances might be cancelled this semester, they will still be getting an audience thanks to Broadway actress and singer Laura Benanti.
Last week, amid growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus, Benanti put out a call for students whose shows have been affected by school closures to share the performances with her instead.
Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots. If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!! Sending all my love and black market toilet paper. ???? pic.twitter.com/BVYR4t3dJE
— Laura Benanti (@LauraBenanti) March 13, 2020
“Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots,” Benanti posted on Twitter on March 13. “If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!! Sending all my love and black market toilet paper.”
Through her now-viral hashtag, #SunshineSongs, students have been able to bring their performances to a wide audience.
This is my daughter singing a song from her canceled musical. She’d been working toward her senior year musical lead for six years 🙁
— Andrea Phillips (@andrhia) March 14, 2020
In New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all schools will close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Andrea Philips posted a video of her daughter singing “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid.”
The cast of Mamma Mia pouring their hearts and souls into Waterloo one last time after finding out their last few weeks of production had to be canceled. Our spring musical is postponed until further notice but please show them some love! @LauraBenanti #SunshineSongs pic.twitter.com/F2kPP3G09D
— BHStage (@BHStage) March 14, 2020
A group of students from Brunswick High School in Maryland also shared a video of their performance. In the video, they sang “Waterloo” from “Mamma Mia” for a final time after finding out their performance would be cancelled. Maryland is one of the 33 states that have announced state-wide closures.
— Donna Mahady DiCosta (@DiCostaDonna) March 14, 2020
Another group of students, from Donovan Catholic High School in Toms River, New Jersey, shared their final performance of “There’s a Sunny Side to Every Situation” from the musical “42nd Street.”
#SunshineSongs Our production of Newsies was only given one chance to perform. I gave it my all as Crutchie. I'm never going to forget that night and Crutchie is always going to be a part of me. pic.twitter.com/cyJ8UKQBvF
— Julia (@Kirbtastic16) March 15, 2020
Twitter user @Kirbtastic16 shared this video of himself singing as Crutchie from the musical “Newsies.” His school’s production was cut short due to the coronavirus.
— Rhi Sheffie (@SheffieRhi) March 15, 2020
Rhi Sheffie, from Los Angeles, California, shared this video of himself and another student performing in “Fiddler on the Roof” for the show that he says, “never was.” Los Angeles schools were shut down on Friday amid coronavirus concerns.
Another proud mother shared a video of her son in “Legally Blonde,” after the school’s run was cut short.
— Mary B (@MaryMathewsB) March 14, 2020
Of the overwhelming response to her request, Benanti told Good Morning America, “It’s turned into quite a thing…. I’m just really excited that these kids have such an amazing platform. … They have gone from extreme disappointment to feeling like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt are watching them perform, and now, all of America.”
Check out many more videos of young performers by searching #SunshineSongs on Twitter.
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