Beauty And The Beast the musical, Oct. 13
Beauty And The Beast the musical, Oct. 13
Izabella Berger

There’s No Business Like Show Business

Theater Participation Numbers Double

In theater, they say everything is bigger in the second act – and that is proving to be true in the school’s 16th year as enrollment climbs to its highest point yet – 2,011 students. With a rising student population, the theater department has doubled in size.

“I’m not sure whether it has to do with middle school programs that allow kids to have a real foothold in theater, or it’s general interest, upperclassmen knowing the undergraduates and encouraging them. I have no idea, it might be all of them,” theater director and teacher Dani Trebus said.

Not only does the increase in students affect the rehearsal and audition process, but it can also have an affect on how the shows throughout the year turn out.

“I don’t want to comment too early on this, but I think there’ll come a time when I’ll do some shows that have relatively smaller casts and kind of with an understanding that I’m going to serve more of the theater students that want to do this as a career,” Trebus said. “So the, ‘Everybody gets in, everybody participates,’ that’ll probably still happen with the musical and the straight show, but everything else we do will be a smaller cast.”

One Acts, Day 2, March 14 (Sophie Holman)

The increase in students has impacted the theater community and program in a multitude of ways. In January, the spring semester play was originally going to be the 1944 play, “Harvey.” However, due to this growth, Trebus changed it to “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet,” a show that would be easier to expand with roles, such as splitting the original two narrator roles into six and adding an ensemble for the Monotone and Capitulate families. 

“That’s not to say there aren’t necessarily some downsides. Like with ‘Harvey,’ when we were going to do that show, but because there were so many people Trebus didn’t want to turn away,” freshman Katherine Bruner said. “We had to pick an entirely new show. It does limit what media is available to us.” 

The environment itself of theater has shifted throughout time, and with new students, it’s up in the air what the general vibe and feel of theater is going to be that year. 

“It can lower my chance of getting into something, but it’s also good because for One Acts, which I’m writing and directing, it definitely helps to have more people,” senior Gage Huth said. “Something we always struggled with was that during One Acts we would never have enough people audition, so having more and more people is definitely a positive.” 

With the arrival of class of 2027, the theater department was shaken up. However, before they know it, the class of 2028 will arrive and shake it all up again. 

“I definitely think with the incoming class of 2028, they are in for a rude awakening,” Bruner said. “Having been at New Mark and knowing a lot of those kids, though, I think some of them are passionate. It’s more like something fun they do on the side for no reason.”

Bruner said with high school students, theater is more than just a hobby.

“With us, we take it seriously. It’s something a lot of us would like to pursue,” Bruner said. “And I think coming in these kids are going to find out if this is something they continue doing, mostly because I don’t think they can handle Trebus with their wild behavior. I mean, it’s obscene.” 

Bruner recalled “wild and unruly behavior” of the middle schoolers she observed during her time at New Mark Middle School.

“There are some people that can not handle what we do, and though that means a few less, it also means we get the people who really care and are good at their craft,” Bruner said.

While it may seem that this growth has mixed opinions, most agreed it was a total net positive. 

“Oh yes. Oh Absolutely. More students, the more fun we have,” Trebus said.

What was your favorite theater production this school year?


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