MERIDEN — After offering virtual old-time radio shows to viewers, the Castle Craig Players wanted to find another way to do what they love, which is making music.
So, after some brainstorming, Melanie Del Sole, co-founder and president of Castle Craig, and Ian Galligan, vice president, came up with the idea of a virtual concert on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on YouTube.
“We did four virtual readings of 1950s radio productions,” Galligan said. “… But we wanted to find another way to do what we do that wasn’t just old radio. We had this thought because we’re often down on ourselves and we’re like ‘the only thing that makes us happy is music.’”
The virtual concert — “A Light in the Dark” — will feature performances by alumni of the community theater group.
“We ended up with 16 or 18 people,” Del Sole said. “We’ve been incredibly touched by how willing people are to do this.”
Performers will sing on the stage at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse, Castle Craig’s home. Each will be allotted a specific performance time to allow for social distancing and other health and safety measures.
“I think it’s really going to bring it to a different level because it’s all going to be professionally recorded audio and video,” Galligan said. “It’s not going to be like the Zoom stuff ...
“We put a lot of thought into what kind of music to pick because while our main genre is musical theater, we wanted to have a nice balance of Broadway music with also more popular music,” Galligan added.
The Connecticut Office of the Arts, which supports the arts community, has given over 350 grants in the last four months. Castle Craig received $2,000 through the CARES Act.
“The Connecticut Office of the Arts works to ensure that the arts community in the state thrive no matter the circumstances,” said Elizabeth Shapiro, the organizations’s director of arts, preservations and museums. “... our arts organizations are hurting. We have looked into ways of supporting them pivot what they do and how they do it so they can serve their audiences in new and exciting ways.”
“A Light in the Dark” is a song from the musical “Next to Normal” — the show Castle Craig was performing when they had to close the doors because of the pandemic.
The concert, Del Sole and Galligan hope, will bring inspiration to viewers.
“Some of the music is really inspirational and some of it is just fun and lighthearted,” Del Sole said. “I think, for ourselves, this is what we loved to do and we hope that it kind of just gives some people something positive and different to listen to.”
Viewers can get a link to the performance on castlecraig.org a day or two before the performance. Castle Craig will be taking donations, but the concert is free to watch.
“We will always take donations,” Del Sole said. “I mean that’s always in our minds, just because of the situation we are in, but it’s not the biggest driving force for why we are doing what we are doing.”