On February 21, at precisely 7:23 pm, Malden High School Principal Christopher Mastrangelo posted his nightly check-in email. In this email, he stated, among other things, that the Class of 2022 is planning to move forward with its plans for Junior Varieties. Mastrangelo noted that the show will not be held in March like it usually is and will, most likely, look very different, but as they say in show business, “the show must go on!”
For those who do not know, Junior Varieties is a talent show hosted by the junior class of Malden High School that is open to anyone willing to show off their skills and talents. The show usually consists of vocal performances, comedy acts, instrumental performances, dance performances, and other skits.
After 80 years Junior Varieties has become a valued tradition at Malden High School. It is now one of the oldest running high school shows in the country. Click here to watch the 2020 Junior Varieties held on March 6th and 7th, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a normal year, Junior Varieties is packed with students, family members and teachers alike. However, this year, due to circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be much different. A maximum of 250 people is allowed in the auditorium, which is a little over a fourth of the auditorium’s maximum capacity (950). Family and friends will be able to sit together, but groups will be placed six feet apart. For those unable to attend in person, there is a possibility the show may also be live-streamed. The team working on the show has not come to a final decision at this time.
Daniel Jurkowski, the advisor for the Class of 2022, explained that masks must be worn at all times by all audience members. However, if there is a large enough distance between the stage and the audience (20-25 feet), performers will be allowed to remove their masks.
Earlier this year, an email was sent to all members of Malden High School explaining how to audition to perform at the show. People who have not performed in the past were required to send in a short video of their performance. Hosts, Jason Ong and Whitney Jean Baptiste, were also required to audition for their position. However, host Tivian Nguyen, and one of two JV Coordinators, did not need to try out because, “[that is] how funny [she is].” A backstage crew of 18 people including a sound and lighting technician will also be present at the show as well as 12 people managing the front lobby.
To stay safe, there will be a shortened intermission featuring karaoke and the selling of limited concessions. The bathrooms will be open to those who need it. Please note that only two people are allowed in the bathroom at a time. Guests who do not follow the COVID-19 safety precautions will be asked to leave.
To best prepare for the show, performers and other necessary members conduct rehearsals two or three times a week. Performer and associate advisor Micaela Henry said, “rehearsals have been going well so far, all of the acts and hosts are just working on improving their act” adding that “[she enjoys] going because [she gets] to see great talent and make new relationships.”
The 81st Annual Junior Varieties, “Mystery at the MET,” will be held on May 14th at 7:00 PM and May 15th at 5:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased through MySchoolBucks at this link. They are $12 for students and $15 for adults.