Glenbrook musical facilitates lasting bonds

Yoon Kim, co-a&e editor

In collaboration between GBS and GBN, the Glenbrook Musical combines students and faculty from both schools to create a yearly production. According to director Mark Maranto, this year’s show, Mamma Mia, has a cast of 85 students and will run May 1-4 at South.

The show for each year’s Glenbrook Musical is determined by a creative committee from both schools, Maranto says. According to Maranto, the committee had initially thought of doing a rerun of the Glenbrook’s first musical, Camelot, in honor of the Glenbrook Musical’s 50th anniversary, but ultimately decided on Mamma Mia due to its exciting, relevant feel.

“For me, it’s that the show is really fun,” Maranto said. “The show is a party and it’s a feel-good for the [people] involved, but it’s also a feel-good for the audience. This is the 50th anniversary of the Glenbrook musical. We’ve thought about ‘what could we do that would really be a celebration?’ and this show is it.”

For senior Zach Reiss, Mamma Mia is his third Glenbrook Musical, in which he plays the role of the British dad, Harry. According to Reiss, although he has been involved in the Glenbrook Musical for the past three years, Mamma Mia is unique in that it is both comical and serious in nature, making it entertaining for both the audience and the performers.

“Mamma Mia is a very interesting balance of serious and goofy,” Reiss said. “Sophie will be wondering who her dad is and it’ll be kind of serious that she’s mailing these letters to these dads, and then someone will make a really weird joke that’s really funny in an odd way, so you’re always moving back and forth. I think it’s definitely a challenge knowing how to read certain lines and certain circumstances, but it makes for a really fun show to be in.”

The lead role of Sophie is played by sophomore Olivia Geimer, who was cast as a dancer in last year’s production, the Little Mermaid. According to Geimer, she has not only been involved in the Glenbrook Musicals but has had prior experience in theatre and music both inside and outside of South. According to Geimer, her passion for the musical simply stems from her love for music.

“I love music, and so no matter what show I’m doing, I just love being able to sing and dance,” Geimer said. “If that’s something I get rewarded for doing, that’s really cool because I would do it if no one was watching.Some of the best parts are the ‘monotonous’ practices that are the most fun because it’s just you and your friends singing and dancing. … It’s so much fun, and I just love every single moment I get to do [it].”

Along with many others, Reiss says that one key aspect of the Glenbrook Musical is the tight-knit community it creates. According to Reiss, the combination of the time spent together through rehearsal and the common interest for theatre among the students makes for a positive, supportive cast.

“This is really weird, but I’m most excited for the really long, late-night rehearsals because that’s when everyone gets really close,” Reiss said. “When it’s nine o’clock and you have to run three more scenes and everyone has tests the next day, that seems like it’s really stressful, and it is. But, that’s also when all of us really confide in each other and have this shared experience and are able to come together as a cast.”

Junior Nathan Goldberg, who plays Sophie’s fiancé Sky, says that the general atmosphere and musical style of Mamma Mia is upbeat and carefree. According to Goldberg, the pure excitement of Sky’s song, “Lay All Your Love”, makes it his favorite scene in the show.

“[“Lay All Your Love”] is supposed to be a love song between Sky and Sophie, and then the entire male ensemble just comes and ruins the entire love moment and starts singing,” Goldberg said. “You can tell that all the guys are having fun with that number because everyone just comes out screaming and they just grab Sky and they’re running and just having such a genuine good time.”

The quality and effort put into this year’s production is immense, Maranto says. He says that one of his favorite aspects of directing the show is being able to work with such a large group of motivated, passionate students. Additionally, Maranto says he encourages students to watch the show in order to witness the student talent for themselves.

“Aside from it being a really fun show to watch [for] audiences of all ages, [students will] be amazed to see how much talent there is among their peers and in the school. [They’ll] be surprised to see them in roles that they wouldn’t even know if they were sitting next to this student in class. I think that’s really cool, and I love to be a part of that because I think it’s really awesome and it’s really unexpected for people.

Similarly, Goldberg says that South students may be in for a surprise with this year’s musical. According to Goldberg, Mamma Mia’s unique style of music and distinct production makes for a fresh, exciting experience.

“I know ABBA is a little past our generation, but it’s such an entertaining show,” Goldberg said. “A lot of reason why people are deterred from musicals in general is because the style of music is musical theatre, but this is a bunch of pop songs with a show kind of weaved under it. It’s a very different theatre experience than people are used to, and it’s definitely one worth giving a try.”