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San Marcos puts on in-person theater production

San Marcos Theatre
Blake DeVine / NC3
The San Marcos High School Theatre Department will present a live, in-person production of the musical Mamma Mia.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Singing and sweating in the sun.

This is what it takes to pull off a performance in the pandemic at San Marcos High School.

For the first time in over a year, theater students will step on the stage for an in-person production of “Mamma Mia" the musical.

“Our cast, crew and directors have put so much time and energy to make this show happen,” San Marcos senior McKenna Gemberling said.

“When you’re practicing for a good four hours a day, you can sometimes get sunburned,” San Marcos senior Andrew Miller added. “That can make you tired.”

To pull off this performance, San Marcos theater director Shannon Saleh has pushed past many obstacles.

Now, her cast is having a blast.

“They’re back to feeling human again,” she said. “They’re interacting, establishing eye contact and working as a team. 

All those things that we do as humans. That we’ve forgot how to do for an entire year.”

The last time these thespians put on a performance was in the fall of 2019. 

Now, they’ll perform outdoors in front of a live audience.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the outdoor Greek Theatre will be limited to 30% capacity. 

Everyday, the cast must rollout lighting and audio equipment along with eighteen set pieces. 

“These are super heavy units that our kids have to push out,” Saleh said. “They all have to be put on blocks before any rehearsal or show.”

Previously, the cast prerecorded all songs in order to lip sync. 

Yet with restrictions rolling back, the students are allowed to belt out show tunes while wearing masks.

“We have worked so hard throughout this pandemic,” Miller said. “It has turned out so much better than I could have ever hoped.”

“This is going to be a show that I’ll cherish for a long time,” Gemberling concluded. “It’s such a fun way to go out with a bang for my senior year.”

Performances will take place on campus at 7:30 p.m. May 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15.

Tickets for the show are on sale and available at

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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