Hi-Liners Musical Theatre presents a new musical created out of the (Zoom) box
BURIEN, WASH.: When public health measures around COVID-19 forced the closure of two of its shows – Frozen Jr. and Xanadu – just weeks before their opening nights, Hi-Liners Musical Theatre (HMT) had to rethink how they would keep their stage lights on until it was clear to gather in person.
They quickly moved their classes online and even produced two virtual plays, with students and instructors adapting along the way. Their latest production Emma: A Pop Musical, streaming January 1-3, 2021, is one that has evolved into an online show like no other. Unlike most online shows where musical numbers kept performers in a Zoom-like box, the characters in Emma are seen interacting as if they were filmed in the same room, thanks to the magic of green screen.
“It’s a hybrid between film, music video and live theater,” says Kathleen Edwards, HMT artistic director.
The 14-member cast is comprised of students ages 12-16 from all over South King County, including in Seattle, Burien, Normandy Park, Auburn, Des Moines and SeaTac.
“These kids have certainly been challenged. We would rehearse live via Zoom, but they would film on their own in front of their homemade green screens with lights borrowed from all over the house,” adds Edwards. “But the fun part is they get to watch themselves in the show at the same time as everyone else, which is something you can’t do in live theater.”
Tickets for Emma: A Pop Musical are on sale now and cost $15 per person or $30 for a family. The stream will be available to watch for 24 hours after purchase anytime starting January 1 at 12:01 a.m. through January 3 until midnight. To purchase or stream on Broadway on Demand, go to