The Show Must Go On! - Third Term Musical Theatre

Friday, June 04, 2021 - By: Tommy M, Privett ‘23

Live theatre, especially that of the musical type, is something that is cemented in Brentwood’s legacy. To those who watch from the comfort of the house, it seems that the only purpose of the program is to put work into our extravagant March performance, year in and year out. While that is a large part of our program - which we were very lucky to carry on throughout this pandemic year - the roots of the program lie much deeper. To the surprise of many, after our final performance we do not simply pack up and mosey around; we continue to work from “Nine to Five”.

Yes, in the third term at Brentwood, musical theatre students continue to work on their craft through many activities and assignments - but with a little less applause. These endeavours of entertainment consisted of personal and group sandbox activities in which students work to improve their skills in the performing arts, while also searching for shows to pursue in future years. For the hard-working actors and actresses of Brentwood Musical Theatre, the third term is “Our Time”.

The personal sandbox project consisted of both writing and performing. Students were tasked with finding three possible musicals that Brentwood could perform next year. Furthermore, each student was to write a persuasive essay on why each musical they chose is the perfect Brentwood musical (the perfect Brentwood musical is one that supports a large cast of talented individuals and that allows the actors we have to shine).

After essays were submitted, students were then asked to pick one piece from their musical of choice, and choreograph and perform it for the rest of the program, alone or in pairs. These performances were marvelous, with star performances from Oscar L, Ellis ‘23 and Nate R, Ellis ‘22 as they equistly portrayed Higgins and Pickering from My Fair Lady with astonishing poise and properness. They really showed the rest of the group “How to Succeed”.

After each student had the time to play in their own sandbox, it was time for all of us to take a trip into the world of Mrs Widenmaier. For the second half of the term, time was spent working on group numbers from two different musicals that Brentwood may perform in the years to come. These sessions consisted of both singing and dancing, as a number would be learned vocally with the help of both Mr Newns and Ms Bryant, and then perfectly choreographed by Ms Staples. The shows varied as we went from anthropomorphizing the dutty English tunes of My Fair Lady, to mirroring the great Bob Fosse through a multitude of numbers from Chicago. Ty D, Whittall ‘23 shared that the best part about this third term was “the experimentation with a variety of musicals, which allowed us to inspect the certain style and choreography of each production”. The rate at which choreography was picked up by this group was “Extraordinary”.

As Florence T, Hope ‘24 perfectly stated, “The pandemic setbacks of this year’s show did not diminish the spirit of our team for a second, and that attitude was carried into the operations of the third term.” This attitude superbly exemplifies our company's attitude towards pandemic learning during this phase of the year. We carried through with our mitigation strategies of both cohort distancing and the required need for PPE in all indoor spaces. Even though this group worked diligently through the tribulations of COVID-19, every member of the company can’t wait until our situation is “Back to Before”.

So, as we move forward into the end of another year in our program, this year’s entire company would like to give a huge thank you to Mrs Widenmaier, Mr Newns, Ms Bryant, Ms Staples and Ms Smith for an absolutely amazing year of Musical Theatre and for a third term that tremendously capped it all off. As we move into the summer months, every theatre student at Brentwood will be counting “One More Day” until we are back home, in the coveted wings of the T. Gil Bunch Center for The Performing Arts.

Tommy M, Privett ‘23

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