The point is that life backstage is richer than the audience can imagine. It is where friendships are formed, bonds are made, and where magic truly happens.
The orchestra in the Municipal Auditorium begins and teenaged girls clad in saddlebacks and poodle skirts sweep down the aisleways from the back of the room. Taking the stage, they begin to croon, “We love you, Conrad, Oh yes we do,” in a collective voice that is equal parts doleful and dedicated to their rock n’ roll heartthrob and Elvis Presley doppelganger, Conrad Birdie.
From beginning to end, the Brookwood all-school musical is a delight for audiences, as it has been for years. Masterfully led by Connie Clineman, the show is of the highest production caliber. I challenge you, reader, to identify a better school production anywhere in the country.
Conveying the magnificence of the production is not the point of this blog, though. I’d like to talk about the show that goes on behind the curtain.
Imagine: ninety or so cast members ranging in age from four years to however old Phil Danner is… a room full of kids in costume cheering on their peers from a monitor in an all but secluded dressing room.
Imagine: Lauren Ryan, Catherine Mulford, Natalie Tyler, Avery Kirkham and a gaggle of other kids bouncing backstage after their scene set to “The Telephone Hour,” lipsynching along to the song that follows.
Imagine: David Grooms giving Sims Wetherbee a grandfatherly pat on the back as the show wears on late into the evening….
Did you know that Levin Jarrett and Parker Watt perform a secret handshake before appearing onstage together? (Well, I guess it is no longer a secret).
Did you know that Jameson Filston is actually more frenetic and hilarious while waiting in the wings than he is on stage? Or that Stuart Allen always wears his signature smile, even while costumed in biker gear?
Did you know that Elise McPherson can sing every word to every song from the entire show? (You probably did know that).
Did you know that the boundaries of age, grade level, and faculty status are set aside for no-holds-barred games of Go Fish between cues?
The point is that life backstage is richer than the audience can imagine. It is where friendships are formed, bonds are made, and where magic truly happens. It is also, as it happened with our production in several instances, a place where familial bonds were strengthened as parents waited to perform alongside their children— my family not excluded.
I was thankful to have played my part in the magic this year, both on and off the stage.