Bridging Past And Present: School Debuts Musical About Spanish Flu Pandemic


DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A teacher at Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth is bringing together past and present in a new musical her students will perform on Saturday.

Spring Musical Director Melissa Murphy was inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic and wrote her own play titled "1918," based on the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic and World War I.

Murphy's drama students have been rehearsing the play over the past few months while wearing masks and staying socially distanced -- much like the time period the play is set in.

It tells the story of five women who run a vaudeville hall in Boston -- and how the pandemic and war changes their lives.

"In 1918 a lot of places like theaters and churches were shut down -- similar to what happened to us," Murphy said. "They convert the space into a field hospital...so the second act follows what happens to their vaudeville hall as a field hospital, and as they are nursing their fellow citizens back to health."

One of the stars of the play is 18-year-old Aidan Morley, who plays the male lead. He said he has always been backstage and this will be his first time performing in front of a live audience.

"I was a little hesitant at first, but I'm not one for letting opportunity pass by me," he said.

Murphy added that being able to perform for an in-person audience is what her students need after over a year of learning through the Covid-19 pandemic.

"That first time they perform and they hear that applause, it's just going to be a recharge of their soul," she said.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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Written by Rachel Armany

(Photo: Courtesy of Bishop Stang High School In Dartmouth)


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