ALIYA HALL/THE CHRONICLE From left: Vocal director Jeanette Engel, Matthew Michaels, Siena Staunau-Reicher, Wilder Teague, Jordan Andreasen, Stefan Schroffner Jr., Wyatt Tubbs, director Karen Olson and Riley Giben pose around the dog house on Oct. 4

“The show must go on” has never been more apt as a group of local high school students from Eugene and Springfield came together for a socially distanced performance at the Fifth Street Market on Oct. 4.

The group, called The Nonstop Players, is made up of students Matthew Michaels, Siena Staunau-Reicher, Wilder Teague, Jordan Andreasen, Stefan Schroffner Jr., Wyatt Tubbs, and Riley Giben. Directed by Karen Olson and Vocal Director Jeanette Engel, their mission is to bring “happiness and normalcy” back to the community, according to Schroffner and the show was completely free. 

The Nonstop Players formed back in March when Olson hosted a virtual choir. They decided to do a production to fight the summer boredom that came with the pandemic. Michaels said it was a nice option because the show he was in was canceled this year.

Originally they weren’t planning on performing outside of friends and family, but the more they worked on it a plan with Fifth Street had started to form. “We just did it as a project to keep our sanity,” Olson explained. 

Schroffner said that he was happy they were able to put this show together because “I love these people.” 

ALIYA HALL/THE CHRONICLE From left: Wilder Teague, Stefan Schroffner Jr., Siena Staunau-Reicher, Matthew Michaels, Wyatt Tubbs, Jordan Andreasen and Riley Giben perform at the Fifth Street Market in Eugene.

Olson said that they’re all musical theatre nerds and they were happy to do the project together because the group is “so darn talented.”

“It was mainly about bringing some joy and happiness, first off for ourselves, but also we have so much fun and anyone who sees them loves it,” she said. “It puts smiles on faces and we were all about doing that during wildfire season.”

The group did have to postpone their showing in September to October due to the smoke from the wildfires. With two of the group members living in a level-one evacuation zone they were on hiatus for three weeks. 

“We’ve been concerned about our community and that’s why we’re here,” Olson said. “Everybody has just gone through so much with political unrest, racial unrest, COVID and wildfires. That why this has been so important to everyone. “ 

She added that the group she’s working with are just “very kind people, sweet people.”

“It’s lovely for me to gather them together and do the show,” she said. “They bring happiness to me.”

Going forward, the group will be traveling to the Santiam Beachie Creek Fire community in a few weeks “to bring some smiles to that devastated community area,” she added. Olson taught in Mill City for three years.

Although the troupe had to deal with five trains interrupting their performance, it added to the comedic effect and proved that the group really was “nonstop.”

“Even when the world turns upside down,” Tubbs said, “there’s still a good side to it.”