A Musical Marathon

Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - By: Hannah R, Mackenzie ’18; Photo by Luis M, Privett '18

A musical is a butterfly. It metamorphoses from a plan to a work in progress and, finally, to a show. It grows slowly at first, then rapidly, to emerge in full-fledged splendour.

In late September, auditions are held and rehearsals begin. Then, March seems so far off, and musical is not foremost in the cast’s mind.

In January, momentum increases, picking up speed, with “musical theatre sport” for principles and Sunday rehearsals for all.

A week before opening night, the dimension of live music is added. Then costumes. Then makeup.

At last, the time arrives for the butterfly to emerge from its curtain of a cocoon and reveal its magnificence, unearth the product of the immense effort contributed by everyone involved during musical week, which is exciting, exhausting, and the most rewarding part of the process of putting together a show. This year, it’s a timeless classic: Mary Poppins. 

Since the audience was small, Brentwood Family Night, on Monday, February 27th, served as an excellent transition run – a mix between a second dress rehearsal and a performance. The audience of teachers, houseparents, staff, and their families proved perfect for our first run. They were supportive, interactive, and appreciative, giving positive feedback and boosting our confidence in preparation for the “real” shows. When respected people sincerely praise the results of the hard work put into a show, that spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine – the grit required to perform night after night – go down. Every moment of rehearsal time is worth it when the audience enjoys, and hopefully gains from, the show.

Mrs. Widenmaier, director, producer, and inspirer, reminds the cast that, every night, we are “running a marathon” to which every member of the “largest team on campus” must commit 125% of his or her energy in order to put on a Brentwood-quality show that the cast, crew, directors, and school can be proud of.

We leave the gates on Wednesday night, pacing ourselves with one show each night until Friday, March 3rd, and making the final sprint on Saturday, March 4th, when two shows – a matinée and an evening show – will be performed.

This is the final push in the production process, and I would like to extend, on behalf of everyone involved, an enormous amount of gratitude to all the wonderful people who have made this show possible for us: Mrs. Widenmaier (director/producer), Ms. Blake (choreographer), Mr. Newns (musical director), Mr. Armitage (technical director), Ms. Smith (costumes), Ms. Suderman (props), Mr. O’Leary (set design), and many more I am sure have put work towards the show without our knowing it!

Hannah R, Mackenzie ’18 

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