Pell City spotlight’s performance of “High School Musical” at Pell City’s CEPA center brought excitement to a live audience following an extended period of time only performing live-streamed events due to COVID restrictions.

Spotlight performed the play in front of multiple live audiences throughout the week, with elementary schools making a trip to see the play during the week, and the community getting to see the play during the weekend.

Previously, during the heart of the pandemic, multiple plays were live-streamed, including their annual Spotlight Awards Show that highlights their accomplishments for the year. The only people in attendance for most of these events were the people relevant to the performance, CEPA members and family.

After months of live-streamed plays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the performers, the audience and the directors were all in good spirits to see a live play once again.

“We are glad people came back out. We weren’t sure if they would,” Spotlight coordinator Shelby Maddox said. “Performing in front of a live audience definitely amps you up as an actor. It kind of felt like a little bit of normalcy.”

Each play had a maximum capacity of 200 people, with Maddox describing the crowd for multiple performances as close to a “full house” as the loosened restrictions will allow.

The audience, excited to be back in the stands, was described as very involved throughout each of the plays, engaging and laughing with the performers.

“It was definitely a hit,” CEPA executive director Jeff Thompson said.

For the performers, Maddox said they were all happy to be back in front of the audience, and that they fed off the audience’s energy. This in turn energized the actors.

“They will be eager to perform for the rest of this year and for years to come,” Maddox said.

The play highlights the possibility of greater things to come for CEPA and the community as COVID-19 restrictions continue to become less daunting. More performances are to continue for CEPA throughout the year. May 14 and 15 will feature a performance of “Camp Rock” by Moody Spotlight.

In addition to Camp Rock, there are other events for the community to look forward to again, such as Spotlight’s Kids Camp on July 12-23. Ages from 6 to 17 are allowed to enter in what is a two-week event that will finish off with a 60-minute play in front of a live audience.

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