A Closed Curtain Symbolizes New Chapters

Seniors take a final bow during the Theatre Senior Showcase

Dancing+to+Lady+Gaga%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%98Born+This+Way%2C%E2%80%99+members+of+the+cast+strike+their+final+poses+with+a+rainbow+background+behind+them.

Lexi Critchett

Dancing to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way,’ members of the cast strike their final poses with a rainbow background behind them.

Bridget Frawley, Writer

Theatre productions typically consist of weeks of preparation and rehearsal. Hours are dedicated to blocking pieces and mastering transitions between numbers. But after only two rehearsals, the theatre seniors put on a final show as an ode to their graduating class.

Fighting over a remote control, theatre seniors Dillon Cavanagh and Mia Allmacher perform in a small group number. Photo by Lexi Critchett.

On Wednesday, May 27, the theatre students of the class of 2021 produced a final production to display their work. A senior showcase is an annual tradition for the department, although last year, COVID-19 shut down the operation.

“I wanted to be involved in senior showcase because this was our last opportunity to perform together and our last chance to perform whatever we want, especially since I won’t be pursuing theatre college,” theatre senior Michael Alfele said. “I’ve been blessed to have this experience here and I’m going to miss everyone so much, but at the same time, I’m excited for my future endeavors.”

As the directors, theatre seniors Jacob Israel and Rachel Robinson were responsible for introducing and opening the show. Photo by Lexi Critchett.

Theatre seniors Rachel Robinson and Jacob Israel directed the production, featuring a combination of theatrical aspects including acting, musical and dance numbers, stage management, and even a stand-up comedy piece. Theatre seniors Leah Sloan and Jason Roblero collaborated on an acting piece. Due to Roblero being virtual, they had to find other ways to rehearse for the show.

“We went on FaceTime, read through the script, but we didn’t get to block it until two days before the show. It was a challenge, but we got through it,” theatre senior Leah Sloan said. “We have good directors and they’re responsible [and] efficient with their rehearsal process. Our class always [gets] messy and then it comes together at the end.”

Theatre seniors Mayah Bernstein, Alena Serrano, Heather Cruise, Emma Troast, and Lucy Oxer pose together at the end of their parody to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” Photo by Lexi Critchett.

Due to ‘The World Goes Round’ production that closed on May 23, Robinson and Israel had little time to rehearse and plan the show. They used Google Classroom to organize rehearsal information. For most of the numbers, students had been working on them throughout their time in the department, so rehearsals were mainly dedicated to running through the pieces and establishing transitions. 

“I have wanted to work on a show at Dreyfoos as a director since I got here, but since I always want to perform and audition for shows, I’ve never gotten the opportunity,” Robinson said. “Senior showcase felt like the perfect opportunity for me to direct, perform, and be a leader for my class.Directing [the] showcase [was] hectic—it always [is] when you are trying to lead a group of your own peers—but everyone has been on their best behavior and trying to make my life easier.”

To represent the stage management component of theatre, students on the technical track created a parody to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” During the number, performers sang as they carried black boxes and rolled a wheelbarrow to the front of the stage, acting both as a number and a transition into the next piece. 

“It was hectic and we threw together a number because I’m a technical theatre major, so I do construction and set design, but every year the people in tech do their own performance,” Troast said. “It was stressful, but we wanted to do something to wrap up our senior year.”

Pictures of the theatre troupe from the past few years flash on the curtain during intermission, giving seniors a chance to reminisce on their experiences, including last year’s ‘Crazy For You’ show. Photo by Lexi Critchett.

In between the first and second act, pictures and videos of memories shared among the senior class were projected on the curtain as performers put on costumes and set the stage for the second act. This showcase reminded seniors of their favorite moments in the department.

“The best memories are the ones in crunch time before a show, in the middle of tech week when we stay, sometimes till 11 o’clock at night, painting the set, having fun and listening to music and spending time together,” Troast said. “Even though it’s always stressful trying to get the show’s done, the stressful times and the late nights are always my fondest memories.”

“‘Much Ado About Nothing’ was amazing. The cast got along so well and I got married in the show so I got to put on a wedding dress, but it was cool to do Shakespeare because I’ve never been in a Shakespeare show before.” Sloan said, recounting productions from various years. “[For] Radium Girls, we had an understudy show and my friend Eliza and I were the understudies for the two leads. We found out about the understudy show a couple weeks before the show, so we scrambled to get our act together. We had nightmares about this understudy show, but it went amazing. We killed it. My adrenaline was so high the entire time.”

As the curtain fell and applause filled the auditorium, one by one, the seniors ran to the front of the stage, wearing merchandise of the colleges they committed to. Everyone lined up along the stage, standing hand in hand and trading smiles and hugs. The audience rose to their feet, watching as the performers took a final bow.

“We put so much work into the department and I know I’ve spent over 1,000 hours after school working on shows and dedicating so much time,” Troast said. “It’s sad to have this be my last show, but it’s also a great last time for all of us to reflect on everything that we’ve done and be together and remember the great memories.”

The theatre seniors pose together for a final time at the end of the show, dressed in their college merchandise. Photo by Lexi Critchett.