A Pandemic Performance

Monday, March 01, 2021 - By: Jack NG, Ellis ‘21

A week before the show, the cast and crew of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat received some really disappointing news: this year's show would be put on without Brentwood’s supportive audience.

Additionally, we would be required to wear masks on stage whenever physical distancing was impossible, and all physical interactions needed to be in our cohorts.

This was hard to take for many of us.

There were some tears, lots of emotions, and much complaint that Oscar L had to hide his cherubic visage. For the Musical Lifers, who have spent three or more years on the Brentwood stage, this is not at all what we had imagined our final show would look like. Dreams of the thunderous cheers and applause from a Brentwood crowd fill our heart with immense happiness every evening in the fading days of February. After all, we perform to please an audience, and without their appreciation, feedback, and energy, our job is made infinitely more difficult.

“I was pretty sad that all the hard work and hours we put in wouldn’t be shown to a live audience” said Alice S, Alex ‘21 “But after the show, when we heard there was a massive number of people around the world watching, that was a pretty cool feeling!”

Where did we find our energy, when no one was there to cheer us on? Where did we look for inspiration when we knew there would be no applause on closing night?

I had 63 answers to these questions. 63 wonderful, energetic, exciting, talented, and passionate young actors and dancers whom I have had the pleasure of working with since our blooming in early September. 63 people who have committed their school year to put on a show where I got to run around with a rainbow jacket, and some golden crocs.

We were inspired by Ms Staples whose choreography - and especially patience for us gentlemen - has been crucial to our success. We were inspired by Ms Bryant, who stepped in at the last minute to fill the shoes of Mr Newns. We were inspired by Ms Plough and her team of 13 in Theatre Production who have worked hours setting up our lights, and props, and sets to be show ready. We were inspired by Ms Smith, who hand-crafted costumes for the 50 of us in the show. We were inspired by Mr Newns, who only weeks after heart surgery, was eager to get back to get the show going with us. We were inspired by Mrs Widenmaier who has been preparing for this show since closing night of last year’s Spamalot. No part of this show would have been possible without our creative team. Thank you.

“At the end of the day, being a slave in the musical was the best experience of my life” recalled Nate R, Ellis ‘22 with a big grin. “It was really tough without a crowd’s support right in front of us, but the cast did a really good job of keeping the energy high, and the show rolling!”

To the cast, we seniors and lifers can not thank you enough. There is no group of people we would rather have put five months of work into a show with, and nobody we would rather have share the stage with on closing night. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat , the Pandemic Performance, will certainly be a show to remember for a very long time.

Cast, crew, creative team, thank you for everything.

Jack NG, Ellis ‘21

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