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Senior Stage Connections

Senior Stage Connections
Rudy Brandl

Theater productions are typically judged by the execution of their performances. The recent W+H Upper School musical Mean Girls absolutely nailed it with solid acting, outstanding vocals, excellent orchestral music and lively, entertaining dances. Months of hard work produced a fabulous show that impressed audiences throughout a memorable weekend run.

There have been many wonderful musicals and plays staged at W+H over the years but there was something special about this one that goes beyond the stage and control room. More than half of the senior class was involved in this production, including 27 who gathered for a massive group photo with roses after Sunday’s finale and two others from the Scenic Production and Design Class who provided artistic support. As the curtain closed on Sunday afternoon’s performance, it marked the final performing arts collaboration for a proud and dedicated group of seniors, including seven lifers who have attended W+H for at least 12 years.

The connections in the Class of 2024 run deep, and not only among the students. Many parents of these students have been friends for more than a decade. They’ve been watching their kids sing, perform and make speeches since Lower School. During this school year, several have attended senior speeches for students who are not their own children. These folks are connected. Although beaming with pride, many expressed nostalgic sadness watching their children collaborate on the Berry Performing Arts Center stage for the last time. 

Although I never performed in a W+H theatrical production in my scholastic days many years ago, I always enjoyed the plays and musicals. I continue to be amazed and impressed at how thespians are able to remember all of their lines and all the little details that make a scene work. My interest in the school musicals was elevated when my wife, alumna Macada McMullen Brandl ’87, was the choreographer in the 1990s and then again for a brief stint about a decade ago. Being married to a key production team member also taught me how much time and dedication is required from so many people to execute a musical. The term “team effort” is somewhat overused, but in this case it applies.

And what a team we had this year! Senior leadership was evident on the stage and behind the scenes – 12 crew members, two musicians, two artists and 13 performers. One of my lingering recollections from the final day of many W+H productions continues to be the combined exhale of “we did it” with the sad realization for the seniors and their parents that “it’s over.” That feeling was particularly evident this year as more than half of the senior class and its lifer population bid a fond farewell to the W+H stage.