Wheaton actress aims to raise spirits with 'My Favorite Things' parody
A little more than two weeks ago, as cultural institutions shut their doors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the projects theater artist Cory Goodrich had booked vanished in a single day.
"Months of work collapsed in 24 hours," said the Wheaton resident. "My community was decimated."
Drury Lane Theatre canceled the remaining performances of its hit revival of "An American in Paris" in which Goodrich appeared. Then Porchlight Music Theatre canceled the Chicago-area premiere of the musical "Freaky Friday," in which Goodrich was to play a mom who switches bodies with her teenage daughter. Also postponed were a couple of benefits in which the singer/actress/songwriter was scheduled to perform.
The two-time, Joseph Jefferson Award-winner knew what she had to do: "We have to make art," she said referring to herself and other theater artists whose work has been silenced by the outbreak.
Goodrich -- currently "social distancing" with her husband and two daughters -- woke up about 10 days ago and began writing lyrics for the parody set to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's song from "The Sound of Music." By 6 p.m. that same day, the song was written and the video -- filmed and edited by her husband -- was online. In it, Goodrich's Maria von Trapp (a role she played in Drury Lane's 1995 revival of the musical) encourages hand-washing, social avoidance and other curve-flattening precautions.
"Working from home as you self-quarantine, these are the ways to beat COVID-19 ... When the bars close, you're not exposed, get off my last nerve ... Put six feet between you and savor these things and do social distancing," she sings, concluding with a glorious high note.
The hand sanitizer lyrics came to her first and everything flowed from that, said Goodrich, a songwriter whose multiple recordings include solo CDs, children's records and several volumes of holiday music to benefit Season of Concern, which provides emergency financial assistance to theater artists in need.
"We are all in this same boat together," she said of the outbreak.
"The only thing we can do is hold each other up."
As for the theater community that Goodrich describes as the world's best, "it's full of caring people and we'll continue to lift each other up."
With projects postponed or canceled, seasons suspended and survival uncertain for some theater companies, she encourages theater artists to find ways to create and perform.
"Take matters into your own hands. Put together your own show. Keep moving forward," said Goodrich, who insists that a creative surge will accompany the reopening of theaters, venues and cultural institutions.
"When it's done," she said, "there is always something beautiful."