A Parliament of Owls: Last Shows for 2021 Weston Drama Workshop
Did you know a group of owls is called a “parliament”? In the case of the Weston Owl, a Parliament is a guest post on this page. Since the Owl has migrated to the west coast temporarily, the following post has been guest-written by the Weston Drama Workshop intern, Emily Holzman.
Over the last year and a half, live theatre has been forced to come to a halt, but this summer, Weston Drama Workshop has been proud to be a part of its return. Since 1962—with the exception of Summer 2020—this nonprofit youth summer theatre organization has produced an annual season for the community. WDW is currently producing a total of eight productions at Regis College’s Fine Arts Center, consisting of talented participants ranging from 5th graders to college graduates.
Disney’s Descendants: The Musical, based on the popular Disney Channel Original Movie, is the first of the two “Morning Show” musicals for performers entering sixth through tenth grade. Directed by Aidan O’Hara, the show follows the children of classic Disney heroes and villains as they attend Auradon Prep school and attempt to navigate high school with their parents’ reputations looming over them, some wicked and some good. Skylar Brunk, a Weston resident playing the role of the Fairy Godmother, says she is “so excited to be doing live theatre again after almost two years.” While her character is well known from Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother takes a new role in this show as the headmistress of Auradon Prep. In particular, Skylar is excited for audiences to see the big ensemble numbers within the show, including “Rotten to the Core” and “So Many Ways to be Wicked,” and explained that these numbers have “a lot of energy” and were “really fun to stage”.
O’Hara also directed the “Morning Show” program’s second production: Disney’s The Lion King Jr., in which the familiar music, lyrics, and characters from the animated film are brought to life onstage. Finally, the third production for this younger subset of performers is Beware The Jabberwock, a play by Ron Nicol and directed Callie Llewellyn as part of the “Afternoon Show” program. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky”, this play follows sisters Emma and Lucy as they attempt to find their way out of the Tulgey Wood, encountering fantastical creatures along the way.
In WDW’s “Night Show” program, participants ranging from the ninth grade to age 23 are split between five productions, the first of which is Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, directed by Nick Oberstein. This semi-autobiographical musical moves backwards in time, following the highs and lows of the lives of a jaded composer and his two estranged friends, from present day to their youth. Another beloved story from the screen joins the lineup with The SpongeBob Musical, based on the Nickelodeon series and directed by Chris Brindley. The show features songs from music legends such as Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, David Bowie, and many more. The third and final musical is Big Fish, directed by Skylar Grossman; originally a novel by Daniel Wallace, and then a film by Tim Burton, this show follows a storytelling traveling salesman, and his son, who wants to know the truth about his father’s larger-than-life tales before his own child is born.
Director Stephanie Manning brings the first “Night Show” play, The Jungle Book, into a unique setting, with performances taking place under the stars in a completely outdoor production. In a play adapted by Craig Higginson from the original book by Rudyard Kipling, the story follows Mowgli, who was raised by creatures of the jungle. However, “resentment and envy” from other creatures of the jungle threaten the life he is used to living, asking questions surrounding the true meaning behind what it means to be a family.
WDW’s eighth and final production for the summer, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, is directed by Tristan Burke. Nominated for Best Play at the Tony Awards in 2002, Metamorphoses brings Ovid’s Greek myths to the stage. While Weston resident Alex Muzila is credited as “5th Man”, the reality is that he plays many characters throughout the show, much like his ten other castmates. The cast forms a true ensemble, switching between characters at the drop of a dime. Alex attributes the success of constantly switching characters to director Burke, who “makes it very easy to work hard and reach your full potential, without stressing anybody out.” The most exciting part of this play, according to Alex, is the onstage pool. Serving as a focal point of the production, the pool of water has bonded the cast from day one. “We’re all going to be dripping wet, and it’s a little bit of a spectacle.”
Ticket information for all eight productions is available at https://www.westondramaworkshop.org/online-tickets-home/. The schedule of the remaining performances is as follows:
Disney’s Descendants: The Musical: Thursday, July 29th at 10:30am; Saturday, July 31st at 10:30am.
Disney’s The Lion King, Jr.: Saturday, July 31st at 1:00pm.
Beware the Jabberwock: Thursday, July 29th at 5:00pm (waitlist-only).
The SpongeBob Musical: Saturday, July 31st at 8pm.
Merrily We Roll Along: Thursday, July 29th at 8pm.
Big Fish: Friday, July 30th at 8pm.
Metamorphoses (all performances waitlist-only): Wednesday, July 28 at 9pm; Friday, July 30 at 7:30pm; Saturday, July 31 at 7:30pm.
The Jungle Book: Thursday, July 29th at 8:30pm; Friday, July 30th at 8:30pm.