Viral #SunshineSongs Hashtag Allows Young Theater Students To Celebrate Canceled Performances
Abby Wright is among the thousands of students disappointed when her school’s spring musical was canceled due to concerns about possible spread of coronavirus. Then, the junior at Southeast Whitfield High School in Dalton saw Broadway singer and actress Laura Benanti post on Twitter for students in the same situation.
“This may seem silly, but I know that a lot of high schools were going to have their musicals, and those musicals got canceled,” Benanti said in a video she uploaded to Twitter March 13. “So, if you would like to sing a song that you are not going to get to sing now, and tag me, I want to see you. I want to hear it.”
Benanti encouraged people to post videos of themselves using the hashtag #SunshineSongs. Her tweet went viral, and she received hundreds of responses with videos of young people singing…including one of Wright playing the role of Judy in her school’s production of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, posted by her father.
“It was amazing to see the response from other people online and feel the support from the other theater people,” Wright shared.
In addition to messages of support from other Twitter users, Wright got responses from both Benanti as well as from Stephanie J. Block, who played Judy in the original production of 9 to 5.
“That was crazy to me, because Judy’s been my dream role for almost two years now,” Wright said. “And I’ve looked up to her [Block] for a while […] it was one of the best experiences ever, just to have them like the video, and to know that they saw it.”
Wright shared that she’s always been one of the people advocating for social distancing and taking all measures necessary to ensure the safety of the people in her community.
“Unfortunately, some of the measures that we had to take canceled our show. But, if it saved lives in the long run, that’s all that matters to me.”
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