Bromfield’s Dual Musical Production


Beau Rehm

Bromfield middle-schoolers Lily Finch, Bianca Bazarnic, Avery Lohin (front), Elena Frohn, Nolan Ward, Grace Li, Clementine Roy, Jane Besse, Thalia Ruark, and Jackie Beauchamin (back) perform James and The Giant Peach.

This year, there wasn’t just one fall play, but two! The Bromfield Drama Society put on wonderful performances on November 19th, 20th, and 21st for an audience full of teachers, family, and friends. Students in grades 6 through 8 were a part of James and the Giant Peach, while 9th through 12th-grade students performed The Drowsy Chaperone.

The decision for what shows will happen in the upcoming year is always made at the end of the previous school year. Mr. Michael Poe, a teacher at The Bromfield School and a supervisor of the Drama Program, states that the criteria for what performance the school chooses to put on depend on three main things: “Is it appropriate for our students/school? Does it have the general casting needs of our school? And does it give us something new?” 

In this case, James and the Giant Peach was a more family-friendly option that many of the younger students are already familiar with. On the other hand, The Drowsy Chaperone provided a more comedic and performative form of entertainment. Its 1920s theme added to the musical’s drama and excitement, and it was also a choice that had flexibility for the cast. It’s a musical that can have anyone in any role; no matter their gender, race, height, etc, the characters accommodate the actor – which made it all the more fun for the actors to put on. The Drama Society wishes they could put on a more elaborate performance such as West Side Story or Rent, but they are limited because shows such as those don’t have the right roles for Bromfield students.

Putting on a performance takes a lot of work; Mr. Poe shares that “There’s a lot that goes into a show that people don’t even think about.” Everyone is working on it from the moment they all get together to the moment the curtain rises. There are always obstacles to work through, but in the end, there is a piece of work that people can be proud of. One interesting challenge for the middle school play was that all the actors had to learn British accents. The director also says, “The biggest thing we faced was just we had never done two shows back-to-back before.”

Having two school shows with separate groups of people working together is a lot to oversee. And something the producers of the musicals had to greatly consider was equity. Figuring out when the middle-schoolers and the high-schoolers were on stage and making sure one production didn’t see preference over the other are just a couple of factors that had to be taken into consideration during the production of these shows. James and The Giant Peach was about 30 minutes shorter than The Drowsy Chaperone, although the middle schoolers rehearsed more than the high schoolers did, because many of them were less experienced. The older group also got to put on a production showing off their skill and familiarity with acting. As a group, they had less guidance than those in the middle school play. They got to make more choices, work independently as well as collaboratively, and more so considered Mr. Poe and Mr. Milne as “supervisors” instead of “directors.” 

Together, Mr. Poe and Mr. Andrew Milne have been running Bromfield’s singing and acting program for three years. Mr. Poe focuses on bringing emotion from the characters to the audience. He organizes the actors, tells them where to stand, how to act, and what improvements need to be made so the performance can be as great as possible. Mr. Milne’s role is similar, but he focuses more on the musical aspect, given his experience as Bromfield’s choral instructor. He works on notes, pitch, and communication through song: “At the end of the day, music is all about something more than what dialogue can do for you,” Mr. Poe explains. And intense moments of need or want reveal emotion differently than shouting.

With hard work from the school community, the amazing group of performers is able to make memorable events possible. To transform ideas into art, they have a group of over 35 students who help with things like set design, lights, sound, costumes, hairstyles, and makeup. For these 2022 fall shows, Bromfield brought in an outside choreographer to help make the performances more fun and dramatic. Mr. Craig Robins, the school’s band teacher/conductor, also plays a prominent role in advertising the performances, which makes them possible overall. He handles things such as marketing, ticket sales, photography, lobby display, newspaper articles, and general background jobs that play a significant role in helping with the shows.

To those wondering if the drama society will continue to have two plays in the fall each year, Mr. Poe’s answer is “Most likely.” He wants to maintain the all-school musical for springtime but would love for middle schoolers to continue having the opportunity to learn and grow in a production of their own.

The cast and crew of The Drowsy Chaperone: (back:) Atticus Maglothin, Luke Bala, Savannah Senykoff, Ien Ruark, Adelle Besse, Claire, Hardisty, Henry Wacek, Ewan Ward, D Caroom, (middle:) Lana Ostaszewski, Lauren Stoller,Audrey Slavin, Oakley Charland, Isabella Geraldez, Isobel Keane, Mr. Mike Poe, (front:) Del Howland, Michele Buni, Isabel Pierce, Conall Muñoz, Will Stoddard, Liam Keane, Faith Andersland, Charlotte Brown, Mathias Holzmann.