Morris School District to close again, March 8; fate of high school play TBD

Topher Bashant ('Ship's Purser') in 'Anything Goes' at Morristown High School, March 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
ABANDON SHIP? Topher Bashant ('Ship's Purser') in 'Anything Goes.' Opening Night hangs in the balance at Morristown High School. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


UPDATE: Adds comments from the Superintendent of Schools.

Citing the severity of Wednesday’s snowstorm, officials of the Morris School District have opted to keep schools closed on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

So what about Opening Night for Anything Goes, the Morristown High School spring musical?

“The Superintendent will decide. He’s being very supportive,” said Vicky Bashant, co-president of the Theatre Parents Association.

Supt. Mackey Pendergrast said he will decide by 1 pm whether Thursday’s show goes on as scheduled at 7 pm.

Whiteout conditions on Wednesday, as a nor'easter dumped tons of wet, heavy snow on Morristown, March 7, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Whiteout conditions on Wednesday, as a nor’easter dumped tons of wet, heavy snow on Morristown, March 7, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

And if Opening Night is cancelled, what is Plan B?

“We’re taking it one step at a time,” Bashant said.

Pendergrast said the storm poses significant obstacles statewide. But on the plus side, he noted, Morristown High School still had power as of Wednesday night. The District will consider options for adding a show if Opening Night cannot go forward.

“This is an amazing group of students with tremendous talent and enthusiasm so we will find a way to make sure the ‘show will go on,'” the Superintendent said.

Cole Porter’s 1934 oceanic romp has hit rough seas in 2018 Morristown.

Cast members of Anything Goes have been unable to rehearse on four of the last five school days because of weather-related closures. Their only full dress rehearsal was cut short on Tuesday night by Gov. Murphy’s State of Emergency declaration preceding Wednesday’s nor’easter.

Victoria Fanning and Hugh Grennan in 'Anything Goes' at Morristown High School, March 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Victoria Fanning and Hugh Grennan in ‘Anything Goes’ at Morristown High School, March 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

When school was closed on Monday, some theater kids teared up, and Victoria Fanning, star of the show and president of the Theatre Student Board, pleaded unsuccessfully for permission to rehearse in the shuttered high school.

The show already had lost two precious weeks to scheduling quirks that pushed the production earlier in March than is customary.

Bashant explained that teacher-parent conferences are next week, and the final weekend of March this year encompasses Good Friday and leads into spring break. So those dates would not have worked.

Nor could preparations for Anything Goes have started any sooner last year, without bumping into the fall drama, Almost, Maine, said Bashant. Her son Topher Bashant, a junior, is a cast member in Anything Goes.

Vicky Bashant expressed confidence that the musical, scheduled to run through Sunday, will triumph over Mother Nature and the calendar.

“It’s going to be amazing,” she said. “They’re a strong group of kids. They’re going to pull it off. Nobody will know anything was cut short.”


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