Tag Archives: JBHS Drama

JBHS Drama Presents “The Iliad, The Odyssey, And All Of Greek Mythology (In 99 Minutes Or Less)”

John Burroughs High School Drama Department presents The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology (in 99 Minutes or Less) in the school auditorium this Friday through Sunday, May 10 – 12.

With a book written by Jay Hopkins and John Hunter, the play is a mashup of well-known Greek myths given a contemporary twist: “In this easy to understand comedy, you will see Gods and Goddesses walk the red carpet, learn about the creation of mankind and how the gods botched it up and witness Pandora’s fateful decision to open that ominous box! Famous love stories are presented like dating shows and Greek Wars and tragedies are presented like sporting event highlights, with costume changes and madcap mayhem!”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“In The Iliad, Helen of Troy gets kidnapped, leading to a ten-year slap-fight of epic proportions followed by The Odyssey where Odysseus attempts to get home for another ten years while fighting seductresses, monsters and even the Gods themselves!”

“This show, The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology (in 99 Minutes or Less), has been a joy to be a part of!” commented senior Caroline Dowers. “A majority of the cast is playing multiple roles which gives everyone a chance to explore fun and interesting character choices!”

“I am playing the characters Thetis, Chlamydia, Carol and Trojan Soldier – they are all very different from one another and a blast to play,” Dowers added. “This play is the last addition to my list of fun and memorable productions I have been a part of at JBHS.”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“It is my last show with the Drama Department and I will surely miss being a part of the phenomenal productions we have put on, but I am glad to be leaving with joyful memories and amazing friends!” she also said.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have this production be my final performance at Burroughs,” said senior Jack Weerts. “It’s so high energy, with constant action and constant hilarity, it’s certainly not a show you can get tired of!”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“I am loving the challenge of playing seven different parts in the play, from a Cyclops to the Greek Hero Theseus, and could not ask for a better cast or a better director than Mr. Myers,” Weerts added. “His vision always blows me away and is making this show one of the most fun productions I’ve been a part of. If you have 99 minutes to spare in your day, bring your stopwatch and stop by!”

“This is a slapstick farce that has made rehearsing this show one of the most fun we have ever worked on,” commented Drama Department head Guy Myers. “The script allows the students some freedom to improvise, and I am always impressed with how hilarious they are while thinking on their feet.”

“Each actor plays many roles as they speed through all of Greek mythology, making this show educational and entertaining.”

“Inventive staging, physical comedy and ridiculous characters make this show a great choice for the whole family!” he also said. “AND we are offering a free ticket to any junior high school student who shows up to the box office with their middle school ID with them!”

The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology (in 99 Minutes or Less) begins at 7:00 p.m. on May 10 and 11 and at 2:00 p.m. on May 12. Tickets are $10 for students/seniors and $15 for adults and can be purchased in advance at jbhsdrama.com or at the box office day of show.

The John Burroughs High School auditorium is located at 1920 W. Clark Avenue in Burbank.

Burroughs’ “West Side Story” Wows A SRO Audience

Absolutely. Freaking. Awesome.

Burroughs’ performance of West Side Story last Saturday night amazed even fans well acquainted with the high bar of excellence of the Performing Arts Department.

The studio-quality sound, lighting and sets are by now the standard operating procedure. And the live orchestra and the singers routinely rise to college-level.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

But last night was special, even for Burroughs. Arya Desai’s (Maria) angel voice just didn’t rise, it soared. And she navigated the notes with beautiful precision, as in the chromatic lead-in to “Somewhere.” Coen Sosa’s (Tony) rich tenor voice shone in solo pieces like “Maria” and also perfectly complemented Desia’s romantic soprano. Whatever the star-crossed fate their characters were to suffer, their duets were a match made in heaven.

Janina Colucci (Anita) knew how to put fire in her singing, in keeping with her smoldering character. Trenton Rogers (Riff) knew how to convey the right mix of toughness and vulnerability, and gave the show a rousing start.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Everyone—not just the leads—were at the top of their game. They weren’t just singing superbly, they were acting superbly. Usually, it takes men in their early twenties to credibly play teenagers; actual male teens are deemed too immature. Not so with these guys. The men had the chops to own the Jets and the Sharks. And as for the women, you get the feeling any one of them would already be a serious contender for a lead role in a local theatrical production.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

And as if all that wasn’t enough to blow the audience away, there was the dancing. Oh, was there ever. Serious dancing. Dancing that did justice to Jerome Robbins’ demanding choreography: The “Mambo” at the high school gym. The “America” dance off in 9/4 time. The coiled-snake “Cool” scene, the sudden bursts in the rumbles between the gangs. The quiet grace in the “Somewhere” scene. The hilarious “Gee, Officer Krupke” set piece. Throughout the musical, the dancers combined spontaneity with well-defined movements and did not let their tremendous energy flag for a single second.

“This year we’re blessed with a large group of triple-threat performers,” remarked Vocal Director Brendan Jennings during the intermission. And how.

JBHS Drama Presents “West Side Story”

John Burroughs High School Drama department presents the Tony Award-winning classic West Side Story for three performances Friday through Sunday, February 8 to 10. Students from the drama, musical theater, vocal music, instrumental music and tech crew programs at JBHS have all joined forces to put on an entertaining show.

With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, JBHS Drama Director Guy Myers follows the book by Arthur Laurents.

Vocal Music director Brendan Jennings guides the singing portions and Instrumental Music head Taylor Arakelian conducts the pit orchestra, comprised of a majority of JBHS students, bolstered by a few professional musicians.

west side story

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

West Side Story tells of “two young lovers caught between prejudice and warring street gangs in the musical retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.” Set in New York City, the Montagues and Capulets become the rival street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria update the tragically doomed tale of Romeo and Juliet.

The musical score continues to be regarded as one of the “best ever written” with classic songs including “Tonight,” “Maria,” “America” and “Somewhere.”

“This show has been an exhilarating experience!” commented Myers. “The students have been so dedicated throughout the rehearsal process, keeping up with our amazing choreographer, Jennifer Stanley, as she challenges them with difficult Jerome Robbins’ style dance routines.”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“Mr. Jennings, our vocal director, and I have been wanting to produce West Side Story for a long time and have been waiting for the right mix of triple threat actors to make this production the best it can be!”

“Our experienced tech crew, led by Jon King, will be assembling a professional two-story revolving set that promises to wow audiences, and our mostly student orchestra will be led by our instrumental music teacher, Taylor Arakelian,” added Myers. “This is a show that you won’t want to miss! I bet people are going to want to see it more than once! It’s a classic!”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“I’d just like to say that every production put on by the JBHS Drama program has an incredible level of professionalism and care that is amazing to be a part of every single time I’m lucky enough to be [part of],” commented senior Coen Sosa, who plays Tony.

“The acting and songs in this production are more difficult than what I’ve had to do in the past, so this production has definitely given me many opportunities to expand as an actor, singer and performer which I’m very appreciative of.”

“My absolute favorite part of any production is the people that I get to share the experience with. It’s so fun to see everyone else grow into their role and continue to put their all into making the production its best.”

“I would also like to comment on how amazing Arya Desai is as Maria,” Sosa added. “Every single time we have a scene together, even if it’s only the first time running through it, she finds a way to capture the emotion and the passion behind each word she’s saying. Which just makes my job a thousand times easier when you’re working with someone that talented.”

“I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing production of West Side Story, and that I get to play an iconic and beloved role,” commented Desai, a JBHS junior. “I definitely feel that I’ve connected to Maria and learned a lot about myself along the way!”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“The school and the drama program has been so dedicated to telling the story the right way, and I think it definitely shows through the effort put into the set, outfits and performance of each individual. I’m so proud to be a part of this story, considering the important message which it carries, especially in this day and age where racial tensions are rising again.”

“This show has a special place in the hearts of everyone involved and the directors who’ve put it on. I can’t wait to see how the public reacts to the show, and what it will mean to all of the ethnic minorities which have been put in the backseat for much of musical theater,” she also said. “The show will be a challenge to all involved, but it’s one which will prove the versatility of the JBHS performing arts programs, and an experience I will cherish forever!”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“Working on West Side Story has been an incredible experience,” commented student producer, junior Wyatt Wheeler. “It has been my first experience with a musical, and producing it has allowed me to see the inner workings of the program and appreciate the hard work people like Mr. Myers and the rest of the creative team put in, and the hard work shows in the quality of the work we put out.”

“I have enjoyed every minute of the process, and I hope that everyone who sees the show has as much fun seeing it as we had putting it together.”

“I have so much love to give to Mr. Myers and the drama program at Burroughs,” added senior Trenton Rogers, who plays Riff. “This production has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had since West Side Story has been one of my favorite shows since I was a kid, and the cast and crew have made the experience a million times better. I cannot wait for people to see what we have in store!”

“As one of the Jets (the greatest gang since the T-Birds from Grease), I have been lucky enough to spend countless hours with some of the most talented and raucous boys on the Burroughs campus,” said senior Jack Weerts, who portrays A-rab. “Trenton Rogers and Coen Sosa, playing the parts of Riff and Tony respectively, have been so much fun to work with, and I could not have asked for a better group of guys to rumble with.”

“The JBHS Drama and VMA department are well known for putting on professional-grade productions and this one is definitely among the best. Under the direction of Guy Myers and Brendan Jennings, I can guarantee that this is a show you won’t want to miss, and we’ll have you snapping right along with us by the end!”

“While I’ve been participating in the drama program since I was a freshman… this is the first time I’ve assisted in the musical theater program,” said senior student producer Zachary Hagen-Smith. “West Side Story is easily my favorite musical we’ve done.”

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“Firstly, the music is incredibly coordinated and articulate even without lyrics, conveying narrative through solely instrumentals,” he also said. “Beyond the soundtrack’s quality (which spread evident given the Bernstein-Sondheim collaboration), the story of Tony and Maria is a compelling one that spoke to civil rights issues of the 1960s and still speaks to current debates about immigration, renewed racist movements and urban violence. It is truly a timely piece and I hope to do it justice.”

West Side Story runs for three shows: Friday and Saturday, February 8 and 9, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 10, at 2:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 for students/seniors/children and $20 for adults. Tickets may be purchased online here or at the box office window ahead of the performances.

The John Burroughs High School auditorium is located at 1920 W. Clark Avenue in Burbank. Plenty of free parking is available in adjacent lots and on surrounding streets.

Burroughs Drama Presents “Dark Of The Moon”

John Burroughs High School Drama department presents Dark of the Moon, based on the folk song “The Ballad of Barbara Allen,” for three shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 16, 17 and 18.

Set in the Smoky Mountains, Dark of the Moon tells the story of a witch-boy named John, who falls in love with the beautiful Barbara Allen.

The cast of JBHS Drama’s fall 2018 play, “Dark Of The Moon.” (Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

After making a deal with two witch doctors so he can become human, John marries Barbara Allen, raises a family and enjoys happiness and being part of the community. However, the mountain witches resent him and want him back and some of the more superstitious townspeople fear him and want him to leave.

“This hauntingly beautiful play carries a message of acceptance,” comments director and Drama department head Guy Myers. “John the witch-boy so badly want to be human, but the townspeople let their fear and their ignorance get the better of them and they don’t want to allow him to be one of them.”

“The show begs people to have a heart and not to blindly follow our leaders, but to think for themselves.”

Photo Courtesy Guy Myers

“My Play Production students this year may be the most talented bunch I’ve ever had, and their energy and commitment are bringing this landscape to life,” added Myers. “The audience is going to love the frightening and creepy witches of the Smoky Mountains and will be tapping their toes to the songs of the mountainfolk until things take a darker turn.”

“This show will certainly entertain audiences while also leaving them with something to think about after the curtain falls.”

Dark of the Moon is a really great play – maybe my favorite that I’ve done at Burroughs,” commented senior Zachary Hagen-Smith, who portrays the Conjur Man. “Not only does it have a compelling plot and characters that, despite being fantastic, are relatable, Dark of the Moon also has this wonderful juxtaposition between humor and tragedy, especially in the village scenes set in real life.”

Photo Courtesy Guy Myers

“Often a particularly horrible moment will be preceded by a very funny one, which really highlights man’s heartlessness and potential for bad. In an age of rising xenophobia I think Dark of the Moon serves as a powerful reminder for the need of empathy and acceptance in society and the horrors that accompany their absence.”

“This is my first time student producing a show, it was definitely a little bit challenging being my first time but it was so much fun and an amazing learning experience!” said senior Alexia Calderon. “This production really gave me the chills – it’s so creepy and the story is told so perfectly. I want to thank Mr.Myers for trusting me with the role of student producer.”

Photo Courtesy Guy Myers

“Playing the town bully, Marvin Hudgens, is a challenge, but it’s been fun to completely alter my chemistry with my cast-mates,” said senior Jack Weerts. “I am grateful to be working with talented actors Paris Stacy (John the Witch Boy) and Claire Flynn (Barbara Allen) in this production.”

“Mr. Guy Myers’ vision and direction always brilliantly brings stories to life. The show is artistic and fun, musical and heartfelt, all the things needed to make a wonderful production!”

Dark of the Moon is hauntingly beautiful and each scene is incredibly well done,” added senior Varonica Haug. “My character, Mrs. Allen, the mother of Barbara Allen, is a some what goofy woman and all she wants is Barbara to get married, but as the show goes she becomes more and more conflicted between the well being of the town and Barbara being happy.”

Photo Courtesy Guy Myers

Dark of the Moon is one of the most beautiful shows I have had the honor of being a part of, any scene with the witches is stunning and haunting and we’ve really captured a great mix of scary yet beautiful. This is a great show with such a powerful message that is not one to miss!”

General admission tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. Advance tickets can be purchased online at jbhsdrama.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

Performances begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17, and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 18. The John Burroughs High School Auditorium is located at 1920 W. Clark Avenue in Burbank, at the corner of Keystone and Clark.

JBHS Drama can be found on Facebook and Instagram, for more information on the program and additional photos.

JBHS Drama “Midsummer SoCal” Puts Shakespeare On A California Beach

John Burroughs High School Drama presents Midsummer SoCal for three performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 11-13. Written by Ken Ludwig, the play re-tells Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream set at a current-day, Southern California beach.

The story revolves around the impending marriage of the Governor of California, the love affairs of four hormonal beach-bound high school crushes, a lively crew of fairies ready to party and the staff of the local beauty salon trying to put on a play run by Patti Quince and Stylist Nikki Bottom, explained Director Guy Myers.

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Oberon, the King of the Fairies, and his sidekick, Puck, show up with a powerful love potion and comedy and mischief ensues.

“This update of Shakespeare’s classic has been so much fun to work on with the students,” commented Myers. “Ken Ludwig wrote this modern update in 2012 and then allowed us to change the setting and references for Southern California in 2018, and the students have had a blast improvising and trying out different lines at each rehearsal.”

midsummer socal

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

“The farcical style of the show keeps us laughing constantly, and we are looking forward to seeing how the audience responds,” he added. “With musical direction by Andrew Orbison and choreography by Jennifer Stanley, this mini-musical beach party is guaranteed to be a memorable evening good for all ages with plenty of surprises!”

“It’s been so much fun working on this show! Everyone is ridiculously talented and the level of energy each cast member puts into their character is contagious,” said junior Claire Flynn who plays “spoiled, Beverly Hills brat” Mia.

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Senior KJ Powell plays Oberon, “King of The Surfer Fairies, respected by everyone on the beach.”

“He’s stylish and carries a lot of swag and loves to get what he wants,” explained Powell. “If a situation doesn’t go his way, he’ll use his charm and right hand man, Puck, to get his way by intimidating his apprentice. He knows what he wants and gets it when he wants it but don’t let him intimidate you because under it all he is as breezy as the ocean.”

Sophomore Eli Staub portrays Puck, “a mischievous fairy who messes up, causing all the wrong things to happen and messing up the plot. It’s a very fun role to play, because as well as acting, there is singing and dancing involved.”

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Lyle, one of the misaligned lovers, is played by junior Paris Stacy.

“He’s in love with this girl Mia, but her parents don’t want Lyle to marry her so that have to run to Canada to try and have the wedding,” explained Stacy. “Things get a little complicated once the fairy Puck tricks me into falling in love with Helene, Mia’s best friend.”

“The character is really silly, so I love it,” Stacy added. “He can be really exaggerated, cocky or emotional out of nowhere and it’s just fun to play such a varied character. The play itself is so absurd that it just ends up being a lot of fun to act and that really comes through in everyone’s performance.”

midsummer socal

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Midsummer SoCal is such a fun show and is full of energy!” said junior Veronica Haug. “My character, Nikki Bottom, is an obnoxious beautician who absolutely loves being the center of attention and will do pretty much anything to do just that. The whole show is super funny and has so many great scenes!”

JBHS Drama’s Midsummer SoCal runs May 11 and 12 at 7:00 p.m. and May 13 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. They can be purchased in advance through jbhsdrama.com or bought at the door.

More information on the JBHS Drama program can be found on their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram @jbhsdramabackstage or at this link.

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

JBHS Drama Presents “Grease”

The John Burroughs High School Drama department presents the musical Grease for three shows on Friday, February 9, Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11, in the school auditorium.

“This is a show you will not want to miss! Who doesn’t love the greasers and pink ladies of Rydell High?!” enthused Drama Director Guy Myers. “Every single song is memorable, and our award winning choreographer, Jennifer Stanley, has worked her magic once again. The whole audience will want to do the Hand Jive at the school dance.”

jbhs drama grease

JBHS Drama presents “Grease” at the Burroughs High Auditorium. (Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“This production of Grease is also the tenth musical I have directed here at JBHS, and collaborating with our wonderful musical director, Brendan Jennings, and our genius tech director, Jon King, has been an honor,” Myers added. “So we all wanted this to be something special.”

“The incredibly talented cast is putting their all into it and bringing a freshness to the material that will excite any theatregoer. I leave rehearsals singing the songs, and I know audiences will want to see this show more than once if they can!”

“I was beyond thrilled when I found out I got the part of Sandy not only because I was excited to see what I would look like as a blonde but because it has been a dream of mine ever since I saw the movie at the age of 10,” commented junior Simone Beres. “It has been such an exciting experience playing such an iconic role and telling such a classic story.”

jbhs drama grease

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“The songs and dances will definitely not disappoint because they are a perfect combination of the movie and the musical,” she went on to say. “The show is going to be fantastic because it is filled with such an energetic cast, our band with talented musicians and students, and will all be performed on a set from Nickelodeon! The show will be sure to make you laugh and sing along!

Junior Jack Weerts brings the role of bad boy Kenickie to the stage, which he calls an exciting and rewarding experience.

“I can assure anyone who comes that the T-Birds won’t be acting like we’re having fun, it’s all real!” Weerts said. “I love working with my friends on and off stage and have made a lot of memories with Danny Zuko, played by Coen Sosa, Betty Rizzo, played by Megan Mazer, and of course ‘Sandra Dee’, played by Simone Beres.”

jbhs drama grease

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“As a senior, this is my fourth and final musical at JBHS,” commented Mazer. “Everyone is so talented and is completely committed to their character. I’m excited to play Rizzo and explore her many levels of cattiness and concealed vulnerability.”

“Over the years, the actors in this department have become some of my best friends,” she added. “I wouldn’t be the performer or person I am today without this program, led by the brilliant Guy Myers!”

“This is my first time working as student producer and I could not have been blessed with a more enthusiastic cast,” commented Julio Rocha. “My role takes a lot of organizing and working with our amazing Director and Drama teacher here at Burroughs High School, Mr. Guy Myers.”

jbhs drama grease

(Photo Courtesy Guy Myers)

“To say this show is mesmerizing, is an understatement. You’d think my impression of this musical would grow dull, but experiencing the entire show each night continues to add to my excitement. People are going to LOVE this show.”

The JBHS Drama production of Grease begins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. More information and advance tickets can be found here. Tickets are $10 for students, seniors and faculty and $20 general admission.

John Burroughs High School is located at 1920 W. Clark Avenue in Burbank.

JBHS Drama Wins Multiple CETA Awards

The Drama department at John Burroughs High School took home several awards from the annual California Educational Theatre Association (CETA) Southern High School Festival. JBHS Drama won the top prize of Best Ensemble for The Laramie Project, in addition to numerous honors recognizing individual students and production teams.

“Congratulations to our drama students, tech students and parent volunteers for a whirlwind weekend that we will never forget!” commented Drama teacher Guy Myers. “After winning Best Play in Los Angeles for our production of The Laramie Project back in November, we were invited to compete with the three other California regions on the main stage at the festival by remounting our entire show.”

jbhs drama

The John Burroughs High School cast of “The Laramie Project” won big at the annual California Educational Theatre Association awards. (Photo Courtesy Guy of Myers)

“That means we went back into rehearsals, got all of our sets and costumes back, packed it all into a truck and took our show on the road. With over 60 students and 15 parent volunteers, this was truly an experience we will never forget.”

The CETA Southern High School Theatre Festival was held January 12 – 14 at Los Oso High School in Rancho Cucamonga.

Seniors Megan Mazer and KJ Powell won Best Lead Performances. They both competed in and won the senior monologue scholarship competition, as well.

Mazer received a special Adjudicator Award – each judge on the panel picks an individual actor to receive this award recognizing exceptional talent.

JBHS entered the CETA film competition for the first time. Students Claire Flynn and Daria Clark were awarded first place for their short film “Hidden Battle,” an educational piece shining a light on the struggles teenagers can have with anxiety.

The Laramie Project

JBHS Drama presents “The Laramie Project.” (Photo Courtesy of Guy Myers)

Additionally, JBHS earned 16 certificates of outstanding merit including: Outstanding Tech Crew, Outstanding Production Crew, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Direction, Oustanding Stage Manager – Anahi Linares and Outstanding Student Producer – Sierra Spencer.

Outstanding Acting Certificates went to: Hudson Bartram, Topli Petko, Ariana Kretz, Louis Zekowski, Megan Mazer, Eli Staub, KJ Powell, Jason Testa and Paris Stacy.

“Each director gets to give one exceptional student a Director’s Award, and I selected Sierra Spencer, our amazing student producer, for her dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism,” added Myers.

Myers also noted his appreciation for the entire Tech Crew along with teacher and advisor Jon King for helping propel the production of The Laramie Project to award-winning heights.

“It was an honor to share this story with audiences and bring home the statewide championship from over 70 participating schools!” he said.

JBHS Drama Presents “The Laramie Project”

The John Burroughs High School Drama department presents The Laramie Project on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 17, 18 and 19.

Written by members of the Tectonic Theater Project, The Laramie Project looks at community members’ responses to tragic story of Matthew Shepard, who was kidnapped, badly beaten and left tied to a fence in the middle of the prairie outside Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998.

The twenty-one-year-old student from the University of Wyoming was not discovered until the next day, and he died several days later in a nearby hospital. Shepard was attacked because he was gay.

The Laramie Project

(Photo Courtesy of Guy Myers)

After the beating and death of Shepard and during the trial of the two young men accused of the assault and murder, members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over a year and a half and interviewed more than 200 people in the community.

“Aaron Kreifels is the one who finds Matt by the fence,” explained junior Xander Taylor, who portrays Kreifels. “I knew it would be a tough role to play, considering what he goes through.”

“Witnessing someone near death, trying your best to save them.. It’s heartbreaking.”

“The beautiful thing about The Laramie Project is that it represents all of the different opinions and outlooks on the situation,” added Taylor. “It’s a slice of real life.”

The Laramie Project

(Photo Courtesy of Guy Myers)

“Due to the level of talent and the incredible student interest, this is the largest cast for a play we have ever had so far,” commented director and Drama teacher Guy Myers. “Over 50 students are giving their hearts to create a profound night of theater that you will not forget.”

“This true story of the beating and murder of a young gay man and the impact it had on the city of Laramie, Wyoming, feels so timely even now, 19 years later,” he said. “I am so proud of the dedication and support this cast is showing at rehearsals and we are so honored to bring this production to the stage.”

“I play Catherine Connolly, a University of Wyoming professor in her forties who was the first ‘out’ lesbian faculty member,” commented sophomore Laura Brown. “I feel very privileged to be a part of this cast of talented people who I believe truly care about this story.”

“I know that although The Laramie Project was created almost 20 years ago, its presentation of differing viewpoints opens a dialogue that is relevant and critical for audiences today,” she added.

The Laramie Project

(Photo Courtesy of Guy Myers)

Senior Sierra Spencer is the student producer for The Laramie Project. Her job is to record all of the staging, blocking and any changes made during rehearsals by the director. She also sends out the schedule daily before rehearsal.

“I love being  able to be a part of the show in an aspect that isn’t necessarily acting,” Spencer said. “I love theater and the creative process behind theater but I’ve realized my interest isn’t in acting.”

“Watching this play go from the read through to the stage it is now… has been such an amazing experience. I’m always so impressed by how people my age are able to handle a piece like this with such integrity and translate the message so well.”

The Laramie Project

JBHS Drama presents “The Laramie Project.” (Photo Courtesy of Guy Myers)

“I feel very honored to be in such a beautiful and relevant show that has such a powerful meaning behind it,” said junior Veronica Haug. “The cast is so great and all the group scenes are so powerful. My character, Marge Murray, is like the fun grandma and she is such a fun person to portray.”

“Mr. Myers is an amazing director and always is able to take meaningful plays like The Laramie Project or last year’s play To Kill A Mockingbird and handle it with such integrity and make the end result something beyond high school theater,” added Spencer.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors. They are available in advance here or at the box office before the show. More information on JBHS Drama and their upcoming shows can be found on their website.

The Laramie Project will run for three performances at the JBHS auditorium on Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 19, at 2:00 p.m. John Burroughs High School is located at 1920 W. Clark Avenue in Burbank.

JBHS Drama Presents “To Kill A Mockingbird”

The John Burroughs High School Drama Department presents Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill A Mockingbird on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 12 – 14.

Adapted by Christopher Sergel, the play chronicles a series of violent events in a small town in Alabama in 1935, loosely based on real events Lee experienced as a child in the Deep South. The story is as relevant today as when it was originally published in 1960.

(Photo Courtesy John Burroughs High School Drama Department)

Told through the eyes of two children – Scout and Jem Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird examines prejudice, justice and moral conscience when a young black man is wrongfully charged with the rape of a white girl.

“It is such a pleasure to work with students who are able to handle this sensitive material in such a mature way,” commented JBHS Drama Director Guy Myers. “They have been dedicated throughout the process, and the seniors have done an excellent job of mentoring all of the new students.”

(Photo Courtesy John Burroughs High School Drama Department)

“We have so many freshmen in the main cast for this show, and the new energy has invigorated our rehearsals!” he added. “We have collaborated with our wonderful woodshop teacher, John Benne, on building the sets, and of course the amazing tech students, led by the talented Jon King.”

“I have absolutely loved working on this production,” said student producer Talya Cohen. “It’s really incredible to see this show step by step, and it seems I only get more emotionally invested as time goes on.”

“There is an equal part new and old faces in this show so it was great to see them learning and growing together as an ensemble,” she said. “As a senior, it’s sad to see what I have to leave behind, but I know that the graduating class has left this program in capable hands. I can only hope the audience can see the passion and dedication we all have for this program.”

(Photo Courtesy John Burroughs High School Drama Department)

“I have the honor of playing Atticus Finch,” explained senior Sully Zack. “He’s a man truly ahead of his time, and he often serves as the moral conscience of Maycomb County.”

“Atticus Finch is hands down one of my favorite characters, so the chance to play him has made for one incredible experience. And the fact that I’ve gotten to spend rehearsals with such a tight-knit and talented cast has only augmented that experience.”

To Kill A Mockingbird is my last JBHS drama production,” added Zack. “And while I’m sad to leave the amazing program where I have made memories, my best friends and where I have been encouraged to follow my dreams, I know that with my incredibly talented peers, and the guidance of Mr. Myers, our little program is destined for success.”

(Photo Courtesy John Burroughs High School Drama Department)

To Kill A Mockingbird has been the perfect topper to the drama cake,” said senior Maddie Seiffert. “I get to play Miss Maudie, which is challenging because not only is she motherly and older, but she’s also a warm and young spirit.”

“This has been such a fun part to play as the balance between the town creates such a loving environment but also this horrid conflict between those who believe in right or wrong.”

“Drama for the past four years has been a home to me,” Seiffert also said. “It’s a place filled with the most loving, caring, and funny people on campus! It’s been a blast for every show!”

(Photo Courtesy John Burroughs High School Drama Department)

“My character is a sad victim of abuse, poverty and racism,” commented junior Megan Mazer who portrays Mayella Ewell. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to play this role and to expand my abilities as an actress.”

“I’m extremely grateful to be performing as Scout with such a talented cast,” said freshman Jordyn Holt. “I’ve made many new friends this freshman year, and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to perform with these amazing people.”

“Each person is inspirational and I love learning from them all. Although Scout is young and naive, she is able to teach the importance of acceptance, and displays unconditional love for others. This show is incredible. I’m so proud of the whole cast’s delivery… I can’t wait for opening night!”

Tickets are $10 for students, staff and seniors and $15 general admission. They are available online here and at the box office before the show begins. Performances are at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13, and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 14.

“Harper Lee’s classic work still remains so relevant, and it has been a show I have wanted to direct for a long time,” added Myers. “Audiences are in for something special.”


JBHS Drama Presents Peter And The Starcatcher

John Burroughs High School’s Drama Department opens Peter and the Starcatcher on Friday, November 18, at the high school auditorium. The play runs through Sunday, November 20.

Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the Tony-award-winning Broadway drama written by Rick Elice with music by Wayne Barker, tells the origins of Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook.

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

“This is one of the most high energy casts I have ever had the pleasure to work with and they have worked incredibly hard to bring this fantastic adventure to life,” commented Drama Director Guy Myers. “Their spirit of collaboration and generosity with each other during the rehearsal process has made working on this play so special.”

“An inventive theatre experience, Peter and the Starcatcher is for all ages and promises to be fun for the whole family!”

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Senior Maddie Seiffert portrays Starcatcher-in-training Molly Aster who joins a group of orphans after their ship is taken over by the pirate Black Stache, played by senior Sully Zack.

Black Stache is “hands down one of my favorite roles out of every show I’ve been in, ” said Zack. “Black Stache is the classic character Captain Hook, before he becomes Captain Hook. The Stache is ‘cunning,’ ‘beguiling,’ and ‘so much more than a ‘lawn on the lip.'”

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

“And through the show, you will see him transition from the Stache into the classic Captain Hook character we all know,” he added. “I’m so thrilled, and lucky, to get to play such a zany and hilarious role.”

“Playing Molly Aster has been a dream of mine since I first saw Starcatcher,” commented Seiffert. “She’s the hero in a time when girls weren’t allowed to be leaders, and she’s a strong and powerful character.”

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

“I couldn’t be happier performing Starcatcher with this cast. I’ve gotten so close with our lost boys and working alongside Jack on his first show has been so much fun. He’s really talented and a joy to work with. Sully blows me away every rehearsal and makes us all choke back laughs with his comedic genius. Mr. Myers gave us the true dream team and it shows on stage. Our connection is indescribable, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.”

Sophomore Jack Weerts plays young Peter.

“It’s been a lot of fun to be part of such an imaginative and hilarious play and an honor to share the stage with this talented cast,” said Weerts. “One thing I love most about the play is that it will entertain and immerse both children and adults alike.”

“I am grateful to Mr. Meyers, the tech crew, our musical accompaniment, and all the people behind the scenes that have helped in bringing this magical story to life.”

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

“It is an experience unlike any other,” added student producer, senior Talya Cohen. “What I enjoy is seeing the actors learn and grow into their characters, while also seeing the show come together piece by piece. Also, as a senior it’s pretty incredible to see the new faces learning how our program puts on great shows!”

“The rehearsal process has truly been a blast! Our show is very unique in the sense that everyone in the cast also doubles as a member of the ensemble, playing sea folk, or crazy Mollusk natives or even walls!” enthused Zack. “Because of this, I’ve gotten to spend time with old friends, as well as make new ones, and our Starcatcher cast has become a family–it’s really something special.”

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

“I want to thank everyone in the cast, for their hard work and the energy they bring to our show!” added Zack. “I also want to thank our Peter (Jack Weerts) and our StarCatcher (Maddie Seiffert), for their hard work, Paris Stacy, who brilliantly plays the role of Smee, my right hand man, and of course, Mr. Myers, our drama teacher and director, for his vision and guidance and his dedication. Prosciutto!”

Tickets for JHBS Drama’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher are available at the door and online at this link. The show begins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama

Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama