Tag Archives: bhs drama

Burbank High Theater Program Presents “Alice In Wonderland”

The Burbank High School Theater program presents Alice in Wonderland, a play geared for young audiences but engaging for all ages, for several weekend shows Friday, October 4, through Saturday, October 12.

Based on the Sharon Holland adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s book Alice Through the Looking-Glass, drama teacher Donovan Glover hopes “that every child (of every age) in Burbank will come enjoy this unique production.”

In fact, Friday morning, October 4, Burbank High’s Wolfson Auditorium was filled to capacity with students from neighboring elementary schools who walked there to enjoy the show. Fourth- and fifth-graders from Washington, Jefferson, Emerson and Miller elementary schools participated in the field trip and received a voucher to return for another performance.

Students from Emerson Elementary walk to Burbank High School on Friday, October 4, to enjoy BHS Drama’s “Alice In Wonderland.” (Photo By Ross Benson)

The setting of Wonderland has been extended into the lobby entrance to help attendees easily jump through the doors into the world of Wonderland.

“In the past couple years, we’ve explored musicals, Commedia del’arte, heavy dramas and original works, but this is our first foray into children’s theater,” explained Glover. “Lewis Carroll’s novel has so many intriguing characters, and Sharon Holland’s script adaptation is both faithful to the spirit of the novel, but also relatively simple and fast-paced.”

“It has allowed us to ‘play’ with so much creativity in movement, songs, costumes, lighting and other shenanigans,” he added.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“A lot of things in theater make no sense, but in Alice in Wonderland, nothing makes sense,” commented senior Leah Tahmassian who plays the caterpillar. “That is why this play is the most zany and rewarding experience for any actor.”

“Being in this production with a group of talented individuals is so amazing because I get to watch so many people be silly for the enjoyment of others, and it is the perfect break from the harshness of reality,” she added.

“It is a pleasure to work with such a diverse and talented cast,” said junior Parker Brightman who portrays the White Knight and one of the many cooks. “The White Knight is a character that demands lots of physical comedy and there is not a moment I am not moving around the stage. This gives me tremendous freedom as an actor to be creative.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“Our tech crew has done an amazing job with lighting and scenery,” he also said. “They have been able to transform the Wolfson Auditorium into a whimsical world of fun and excitement.”

“One thing I like about this show is that every single cast member has their own ‘moment of shine’ and at least once during the play the spotlight is on them,” commented junior Faris Jalilov, an ensemble member who plays the hedgehog, part of the caterpillar, part of the jabberwock and a flower. “I also like how instead of just a tool, the hedgehog has turned into an actual character with his own life and feelings.”

“Being a part of a cast filled with many talented actors and directors is always such an honor,” said senior Jen Nash, who portrays the titular character. “Everyone has helped me grow as a person and as an actress. Being Alice, I really have to listen to the child inside myself and let my imagination run wild.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“Like Alice, I wish the world was one big wonderland. A place where we all could get away from our responsibilities, and trust a White Rabbit to take us into a dimension full of innocent madness. A place where even an adult feels like a child again.”

“Alice claims that she ‘doesn’t want to go among mad people,’ yet she’s constantly chasing after that madness and running away from what is normal,” Nash added. “That being said, encourage this world to be more like Alice – it’s never too late.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Alice in Wonderland runs through October 12. Remaining shows are: Saturday, October 5, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Friday, October 11, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 12, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Pre-sale student/child tickets are $5 and general admission adult tickets are $10. At the door, student/child tickets are $10 and general admission adults are $15. Tickets are available in advance online or at the BHS Finance Office.

Wolfson Auditorium at Burbank High School is located at 902 N. Third Street in Burbank.


BHS Drama Presents “The Time Zone”

Burbank High School Drama Department presents The Time Zone, on Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28. The BHS Drama production was written and directed by students in Annie Terry’s Play Production and Technical Theatre class.

“The students chose to create five original Twilight Zone-esque episodes, 10-20 minute pieces that will make you think, laugh, and give you goosebumps,” said Terry.

“Taking complete ownership of the entire creative process, from the inception of ideas, to writing and directing, to staging the entire production, the students were guided by new drama teacher Annie Terry, whose strong background in devised theatre helped the kids navigate the dynamic collaborative process.”

Burbank High Drama presents “The Time Zone.” (Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Department)

“When it comes to shows like The Time Zone, I’ve found that adapting literature and/or creating works from scratch allows my students to tap into all-new reservoirs of creativity, often ones they might not have known they possessed,” Terry added. “By giving them more ownership in the work we do, I see them naturally take more responsibility for that work.”

“They begin to really respect their own vision, and it’s a process that always winds up being more rewarding (and maddening and cathartic and stressful and triumphant) than your typical play production. It’s also a terrific amount of fun spent together. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor!”

According to Terry, the students also felt strongly the show be inclusive to under-represented populations and stories within their demographic.

Terry described the five vignettes that will be performed:

“Yes No Maybe” — A scientist working on an experiment turns to the voices in his head for advice. When his experiment goes horribly wrong, he must live with the fallout of his insanity.

“They’re All Made Out of Ticky Tacky” — A mother, who desperately wants to have a perfect family, realizes that perfection can never be achieved without consequences.

“Watch” — A selfish and greedy man doesn’t appreciate the value of family. He is soon taught a lesson when he travels to a different time and realizes the repercussions of his ego.

“Dante’s Hotel” — When Man is given the opportunity to indulge in all of his desires, he witnesses the seven levels of sin.

“Counterclockwise” – As two girls grow up together, they share laughter, tears, and secrets. While one of the girls is more open, the other experiences a hellish nightmare in which she sees what she cannot attain.

“I think this experience of writing, directing, and teching our own play has been extremely rewarding and educational,” commented Play Production student co-president Fiona Maeve Czerwinski. “It’s so valuable to see a production from all aspects, as it shows us a side that we have never really been exposed to. I’m so excited to a be part of a show that crosses boundaries and pushes the limit like never before.”

“Being able to see students that I’ve watched grow in this program leading and producing things on their own is truly amazing to see,” added co-president Livvie Trautmann. “For this show, it isn’t just acting and taking direction, now they also get to direct and write it themselves. I’ve never seen them more exited or determined to do something in Drama since I’ve been a part of this program. It’s going to be a good show.”

Performances begin at 7:00 p.m. at Burbank High School’s Wolfson Auditorium on January 27 and 28. Tickets are available at the door for $10 general admission and $5 for students.

Burbank High Drama Presents “Much Ado About Nothing”

Burbank High Drama Association presents a contemporary twist on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing on Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29.

“It’s all Shakespeare but in modern dress, set near Lake Cahuma, CA, at the Messina Mountain Resort,” explains director and Drama teacher Ted DeVirgilis. “There is a fun 80s party (instead of a traditional Renaissance Masque), lots of great music.”

Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Association

Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Association

“A lie breaks apart a loving couple; a lie brings two enemies into love together,” he continued. “People’s worlds spin out of balance as people are afraid of their emotions. Luckily, it’s a Shakespeare comedy so it will work out just fine.”

“My role in Much Ado About Nothing is Beatrice,” says junior Fiona Maeve Czerwinski.”It has been such an incredible honor to be working on this production with such a wonderful cast and with my talented costar Brandon Killham.”

Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Association

Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Association

“Everyone’s effort and time has been poured into this production. There is never a dull moment with this crew and every time we do a scene feels like a new and original experience.”

“Of course this production could not be possible without the amazing direction of Ted DeVirgilis, who has really brought out the comedy and ingenious meaning in this production,” she added. “Our tech crew and tech director, Karen Broderick, who have erected eight-foot statues and built towering sets in mere weeks.”

“I am so incredibly honored to be in this hilariously wonderful production and I can’t wait for people to experience a modern production of Shakespeare.”

Curtains rise at 7:00 p.m. for BHS Drama‘s Much Ado About Nothing, on Thursday, April 28, and Friday, April 29, in the high school’s Wolfson Auditorium. Tickets are available at the door or in advance here.  Students/Seniors $10 ($5 w/ASB card), Adults $15 and VIP $20.

Time Travelers Bring Historical Figures To Life At McKinley Elementary

Students at William McKinley Elementary School were visited by five historical figures on Monday, October 12, as part of the ongoing Time Travelers program. John Burroughs High School students in Guy Myers’ Play Production class brought the characters of Sarah Goodson, Annie Sullivan, Sacagewea, John Muir and Paul Revere to life.

Madison Mayer portrayed pilgrim Sarah Goodson complete with an English accent and described what crossing the Atlantic on the Mayflower may have been like to first grade classrooms.

Madison Mayer describes the rocking of the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Madison Mayer describes the rocking of the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Helen Keller’s teacher, Annie Sullivan, who was herself blind, was portrayed by Maddie Seiffert. Second-graders learned about Annie Sullivan’s desire for an education in the face of challenging odds.

“This is the second year I’ve been lucky enough to play Annie Sullivan in Time Travelers,” commented Seiffert. “I love her; she’s a stubborn woman and I feel connected with her because of it.”

Helen Keller's teacher Annie Sullivan, acted by Maddie Seiffert, talks to second-graders at McKinley. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Helen Keller’s teacher Annie Sullivan, acted by Maddie Seiffert, talks to second-graders at McKinley. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Her story is incredible and one I first learned in Mr. Myers’ classroom while reading The Miracle Worker,” she added. “It feels like full circle, starting with reading her in his class and finally playing her.”

“It’s also remarkable because while I’m learning sign language now, so I can bring that to the classroom. I make the kids spell the alphabet and if they’re fantastic, they learn more like numbers and specific signs they want to know. It’s incredible to watch their eyes light up as their fingers spell and their love of learning just beaming from their faces. Playing Annie is one of my favorite parts of the year!”

Third-graders were visited by Sarah Weaver as Sacagewea, who talked about exploration of America on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Griffin Dooley played the role of naturalist and preservationist John Muir. He told fourth-graders about early life in Scotland, his family’s emigration to a Wisconsin farm and his travels throughout the Sierras.

Sully Zack entered the fifth-grade classrooms complete with lantern and tricorn hat, reciting the famous Henry Longfellow poem “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” He, too, talked about life in his particular time period in America and some of his historical actions, engaging the kids with a little humor, too.

“Traveling through time to bring the story of Paul Revere and his Midnight Ride to the excited fifth grade students at McKinley Elementary was such an awesome experience!” Zack said. “The students were so welcoming and eager to learn.”

Sully Zack bought some humor to his Time Traveler character of Paul Revere. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sully Zack bought some humor to his Time Traveler character of Paul Revere. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I loved being able to teach the class about the life of Paul Revere, but my favorite part had to be answering their questions– because in doing so, I  got to test not only my historical knowledge, but also my improvisation skills,” he went on to say. “I had such a blast, and I can’t wait to do it again.”

Teachers at McKinley Elementary prepared their students in advance for each Time Travelers’ visit. After each Time Traveler talk, elementary students then asked questions about the character and their life in America.

The Time Travelers program was created in 2003 by Joyce Costanza-Moskowitz and first visited Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School. Adult volunteers portrayed the Travelers until 2013 when Burroughs High School students first stepped into the roles, taking the program to Bret Harte Elementary, according to program coordinator Lisa Dyson.

Sarah Weaver as Sacagewea described life on the Lewis & Clark Expedition. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Sarah Weaver as Sacagewea described life on the Lewis & Clark Expedition. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank High School students went to Miller in 2014 and McKinley Elementary joined the progam that same year. JBHS and BHS students visit elementary schools in Burbank in the fall and spring, portraying 10 different characters every year.

“As co-author of the book, Time Travelers: A Living History, along with Shiela Cavalluzzi, I remember our great passion for wanting to bring more history into our children’s classrooms… thus this program was born,” commented Costanza-Moskowitz. “I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to see our ‘baby’ is still vital and thriving in elementary schools today!”

Griffin Dooley portrayed naturalist John Muir for the Time Travelers program at McKinley Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Griffin Dooley portrayed naturalist John Muir for the Time Travelers program at McKinley Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Kids learn in so many just-being-talked-about kinds of ways, so putting a visual, auditory and tactile program like Time Travelers in front of them is or should be, a no-brainer,” she continued.

“Thank you to Lisa Dyson and the many others who came before her, in keeping Time Travelers alive and well. One might say you’re making history happen. Today!

Burbank High drama students plan to take the Time Travelers program back to Emerson, where the very first Time Travelers began.

Support from high school drama teachers Myers and BHS’ Ted DeVirgilis is vital to the success of the program, added Dyson.

She also thanked the participating elementary school PTAs for their ongoing support of the program since its inception.

“This is wonderful opportunity for drama students to research their character(s), perform that character multiple times in front of different audiences,and be able to improvise as their Time Traveler during Q & A sessions.,” commented Dyson. “It’s excellent real world training for students who wish to continue studies in theatre arts. And its fun!”

Burbank High Drama Presents “All In The Timing”

The Burbank High School Drama Department presents All in the Timing, a collection of six one-act plays, on Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17. Written by David Ives, All in the Timing, is directed by the school’s new Theater teacher, Ted DeVirgilis.

DeVirgilis replaced former theater head Brooks Gardner, who retired in June, and “knew Ives’ All in the Timing — six silly, smart, illuminating one-act comedies about relativity, randomness and our place in the space-time continuum — would be the perfect first play to direct, and something he’s wanted to tackle for 20 years since first seeing a production of it while attending Syracuse University.”

Twelfth-graders Chelsy Cordon Rojas and Vicktor Aggerwhil examine "Variations on the Death of Trotsky" for Burbank High's performance of "All In The Timing." (Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Dept.)

Twelfth-graders Chelsy Cordon Rojas and Vicktor Aggerwhil examine “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” for Burbank High’s performance of “All In The Timing.” (Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Dept.)

The production includes, according to DeVirgilis: “Sure Thing,” which shows how tough it is for two people to make a love connection, as a bell rings whenever one makes a faux-pas; “Words, Words, Words” invokes the infinite monkey theorem – three monkeys left with enough time will eventually write Hamlet; “Universal Language” introduces to Burbank a new way to communicate, bringing all the languages of the world – and two lonely characters – into harmony; “The Philadelphia” follows a character stuck in a state of being that resembles a black hole… but also serves cheese steak; “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” reveals the Russian revolutionary leader on his final day, coping with the time-space continuum and an axe in his head; “Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread” is a 10-minute slice of avant-garde madness, which is what happens whenever the minimalist composer simply visits a bakery.

“This is not your typical high school play, but I’m sure the audience will laugh. But it’s also challenging, and I want them to think,” commented DeVirgilis. “And there at least one time when things on stage are so strange, they might even be a little disturbed. Nothing for parents to be worried about.”

“Just taking a closer look at things we take for granted or looking at them in a different way. What’s better than being surprised at the theatre?”

Ariana Roth , Margarita Yazichyan and Paige Eccles provide Scene Change Lazzi, or physical comedy/entertainment in between scene changes for the acts.

The production’s design team includes set designer Karen Broderick, who is also the Drama Department’s new Stagecraft teacher, costumes by Marissa Maynes and lighting professional Derrick Kolus, who is assisted by twelfth-grader Hunter Stockwell.

“This has been a great show to work on because Ted DeVirgilis was open to taking the way the play is written with its rhythms, patterns and repetition, along with its quirks and comedy and relativity,” said Broderick who conceptualized the play’s very abstract sets. “He let us really put it into the scenery, lighting and costumes.”

“There are walls that move after every piece and reform to another completely different setting,” added Broderick. “It’s been a great collaboration between myself as set designer, Derrick Kolus, the lighting designer, and Marissa Maynes, the costume designer, to support Ted and give him a strong pallet to work with on his first show as the new Director of Theater at BHS.”

Fiona Maeve Czerwinski, grade 11, and Joshua Johnson, grade 12, rehearse a scene from "Sure Thing" as part of the Burbank High Fall Drama performance "All In The Timing." (Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Dept.)

Fiona Maeve Czerwinski, grade 11, and Joshua Johnson, grade 12, rehearse a scene from “Sure Thing” as part of the Burbank High Fall Drama performance “All In The Timing.” (Photo Courtesy Burbank High School Drama Dept.)

DeVirgilis, who spent the past 12 years as a teacher at John Muir Middle School, is very excited to share his training and expertise with his talented young actors.

“What I want to do with the students at Burbank High is give them some of those skills they’ll get in college, different acting methods and vocal training,” he explained. “I want to show them that acting is more than just getting up there and getting a quick laugh. That there’s an art to it all.”

“I’ve helped with the program and making sure things behind the scenes are running smoothly so Mr. DeVirgilis can be with the actors,” said Assistant Director and BHS student Naira Demirchian. “I think the play is coming along really well and Mr. D’s doing a great job with them.”

“They’re putting together a really amazing play with a lot of great stories. They’re funny but also very heartwarming. And our sets are incredible! I just hope I helped in any way I can because I know Mr. D wants this play to be fantastic, and I fully believe it will be.”

“I would like to just say this has been an amazing and challenging experience; it’s a difficult play but it has tons of potential,” commented Brandon Kilham, who appears in “Universal Language.” “I am very excited to see how things turn out and very thankful [for] Mr. DeVirgilis’ commitment and hard work.”

Pre-sale tickets can be found at BurbankDrama.com, where tickets are $10.00 for general admission, $20 for reserved VIP seats. On the day of the show, adults are $15, Students $10, Students w/ASB cards are $5. BHS is located at 902 N. 3rd Street, Burbank 91502.

Timing poster

Bret Harte Elementary Students Visit With Time Travelers

Historical figures from American history stopped by Bret Harte Elementary School for a visit with students on Friday, November 14. John Burroughs High School drama students brought the characters to life during visits with every classroom in grades one through five.

Burrough senior Samantha Rubin portrays Sacagewea for Bret Harte Elementary students. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Dyson)

Burrough senior Samantha Rubin portrays Sacagewea for Bret Harte Elementary students. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Dyson)

Burroughs student Maddie Seiffert was Anne Sullivan, best known as the teacher and companion of Helen Keller.

Samantha Rubin portrayed Sacagawea, a Native American woman who accompanied explorers Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark on their exploration of the northwestern United States and was vital to the success of the expedition.

Tenley Patterson was pilgrim Sarah Goodson and Brennan Flynn portrayed Captain William Clark. Alex Aston acted the role of California’s own naturalist, author and preservationist John Muir.

Time Travelers is a program developed in 2007 by Joyce Costanza-Moskowitz and Sheila Cavalliuzi at Bret Harte Elementary in which historical figures visit with students, talking about their lives and answering quesitons.

Volunteer parents had originally portrayed the roles of the historical figures. However, two years ago Bret Harte PTA began a partnership with the JBHS drama program and its director Guy Myers.

Burroughs sophomore Maddie Seiffert portrays Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, for the Time Travelers program at Bret Harte Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Dyson)

Burroughs sophomore Maddie Seiffert portrays Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, for the Time Travelers program at Bret Harte Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Dyson)

Students in Myers’ Play/Production class now bring history to the Bret Harte Elementary classrooms, having portrayed famous American people including Elizabeth Blackwell, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Betsy Ross.

The Time Travelers program has been so successful that McKinley and Disney Elementary Schools will partner with JBHS to bring the experience to their schools in the spring of 2015.

Burbank High School students visit Miller Elementary for the Time Travelers program and will add a stop by Emerson Elementary in the spring of 2015, as well.

“The program benefits everyone involved, from the student actors who are gaining real world experience by having to research and become their characters to the students who enjoy learning about these famous figures,” said Burroughs PTA Art Chair Lisa Dyson.

“Time Travelers is a great opportunity for the kids at Bret Harte to learn about history in a hands on environment,” commented Bret Harte PTA President Shannon Marando. “The students are always excited to see the actors walk into the classrooms and talk about what they did back in their time.”

Burroughs senior Tenley Patterson brings pilgrim Sarah Goodson to life for the Time Travelers program at Bret Harte Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Dyson)

Burroughs senior Tenley Patterson brings pilgrim Sarah Goodson to life for the Time Travelers program at Bret Harte Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Dyson)

“The students have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about a time in history they have been studying,” Marando added. “It’s a time for the teachers to sit back and observe the students and how much they are learning.”

“I get as excited as the students before a visit!” said third grade teacher Linda Young. “I like to prepare children with enough background knowledge so they can ask appropriate questions. Many times I use primary source materials and artifacts. We also spend time with new and interesting vocabulary.”

“After reading Sacagawea’s biography we were very interested in knowing what wapato and camas roots were,” she continued. “A computer search helped inform us and contributed to our overall learning.”

“Last year, one of my former second grade students came dressed as Anne Sullivan,” Young added. “I didn’t even recognize her because she was so authentic looking! She impressed me with all of her content knowledge and how well prepared she was for the role.”

“Time Travelers has enhanced the children’s understanding of important people from the past,” concluded Young. “I only wish that we could have the travelers visit us for a longer period of time.”