LEWISTON — A play about COVID-19? How about two?

“COVID Still Sux,” a sequel to the original musical comedy, “COVID Sux,” will be presented this weekend at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Dinesh Shah attended a rehearsal of the production Friday after seeing a video clip of the show.

Co-writer and co-director Christine Henry shared with Dr. Shah the song “Dr. Nirav Dinesh Shah,” written to the tune of Broadway’s “Hamilton.” After viewing the clip, Shah decided to attend Friday’s rehearsal and meet the cast.

The play consists of various parodied songs from famous Broadway plays, including “Hamilton,” “Annie” and “Les Misérables.”

“Part one (“COVID sux”) was about how we all deal with COVID,” Henry said, “while part two is about how we begin to move forward.”


The play also honors the work of Dr. Shah, as he works to encourage the people of Maine to get vaccinated.

“It’s really gratifying,” said Shah, who explained that he never would have thought that due to his work in the medical field he would be able to watch a show about his dedication to keeping the state of Maine safe from COVID-19.

“What you hear in the last 20 minutes is that it’s as much about the people of Maine who came together and used scientific principles to combat the virus,” he said. “That’s what’s really important, and that’s who I think the show is really about.”

Asked why part of the play followed the work of Shah, Henry said it was a celebration.

“When I was in New York I would call my parents (in Monmouth), and they would tell me not to call at 2:00 because Dr. Shah was on. That became a joke in part one, but with Mark Falconer’s help, we were able to turn songs like ‘Alexander Hamilton’ into ‘Dr. Nirav Dinesh Shah.’ We did this to celebrate what a groundbreaking man of color Dr. Shah really is.”

Co-writer Falconer was the mastermind behind the revamped songs.


“It was incredibly difficult to write the parodies for the play,” he said.

The process of turning songs from hit Broadway musicals like “Hamilton” and “Chicago,” and making something new and fresh that is able to reach the local audience, was challenging, he said.

“Keeping something in the same meter as ‘Hamilton’ was hard enough,” Falconer said, “but also having to tell the story, was probably one of the hardest things I had to do.”

“It’s a real honor for me to represent Shah,” co-director Danny Gay said. “I’m also from India, so it’s a great privilege to be able to represent all of the hard work that he has done.”

Gay spoke about the joint effort between Royal Family Productions and the state of Maine.

“I think we’ve created a great collaboration between local talent up here and the great people from New York; it’s been a great experience to work with everyone,” Gay said.


After the rehearsal, Shah met the cast on stage, and expressed his fascination and enthusiasm for the production. The cast was all smiles.

“I think we’ve tackled a really difficult situation with grace and poise,” Shah said. “Our vaccination rates are some of the highest in the country, and our infection rates are among some of the lowest. That is a testament to what the people of Maine have done to get us where we are today.”

“COVID Still Sux” will be presented at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Gendron Franco Center at 46 Cedar St. in Lewiston.

Tickets are available at royalfamilyproductions.org. Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry.

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