American students banish virus blues with SunshineSongs
March 15, 2020 05:35 PM
American students are belting out show tunes on social media to make up for high school musical performances that were called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Schools have closed across the United States while cultural institutions such as Broadway have been shuttered in a bid to slow the spread of the contagion.
Actress Laura Benanti sparked the Twitter trend after imploring her followers to "find some bright spots" in the public health crisis.
"If you were meant to perform in your High School musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing," the Broadway performer tweeted.
Hundreds of students responded to the #SunshineSongs call over the next hours with clips from rehearsals or home renditions of musical numbers from "Phantom of the Opera", "Les Miserables" and other popular theater plays.
"Our senior class designed and built EVERYTHING and have been preparing for this for a year," tweeted one woman, whose opening night performance of "The Jungle Book" was canceled.
"Thank you for the chance to share this."
The craze caught the eye of Broadway composer and "Hamilton" playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.
"Thank you, @LauraBenanti, thank you kids, I'm watching too," he wrote.
A similar trend has taken hold in Italy, with isolated apartment-dwellers taking to their windows and singing in unison, following a series of decrees that have drastically limited movement to contain the virus.
On Friday evening in several districts of Rome, music and singing could be heard coming from people's homes, including renditions of the national anthem, with videos of the performances racking up thousands of views online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly across the US in recent days, with nearly 3,000 cases and 57 confirmed deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
President Donald Trump was on Saturday cleared of the illness by his physician after meeting with several members of a Brazilian delegation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida who have since tested positive for the virus.