Drama club visits the big apple


Jessica Ruggles

Drama club poses with first stage manager for Hamilton on their recent trip to NYC


Did Gloucester seem a little quiet over Columbus Day weekend? That’s because students from the GHS Theater Program ventured over the bridge to New York City to experience professional theater.  

“The trip is important because it is an opportunity for students to get over the bridge and see professional theater,” said theater teacher Jessica Ruggles.  “Students who have interest in becoming a business person can go to internships, and students who want to be a pro sports player can watch those sports on TV, but Broadway is something that can’t be watched on TV or in movie theaters easily.”

While in New York, students got to see two Broadway shows and meet with theater professionals who make a living on Broadway.  

The first show that students saw was “Come From Away,” a new Broadway musical that tells the true story of the flights that got rerouted to Newfoundland on September 11, 2001.  The show is a new breed of musical theater and was written based upon interviews with the people who had first-hand accounts of the events.  

The show encompasses aspects of physical theatre that are relevant to the Drama Club’s current production of Nora’s Lost.  

“Seeing Come From Away and going to the 9/11 memorial the next day was a very emotional experience,” said sophomore Emily Palk. “Hearing the detailed stories of people who were affected by 9/11 in a different part of the world was really powerful.”

“The physical aspect from ‘Come From Away’ really translates well to what we’re trying to do with the voices from Nora’s Lost because the set from ‘Come From Away’ is so minimal the cast really had to use more of their bodies and the way they move around the space to further flush out the world of the play,” said Ruggles.  

The second show that students saw was “Anastasia,” which was based off of the 1997 20th Century Fox movie of the same name. The show tells the tale of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, who escapes the execution of her whole family.  

The show is an example of classical musical theatre, which relates back to the theatre program’s spring production of “Once Upon a Mattress.”

“Seeing the show as a great experience,” said senior Karlee Hynes. “It’s amazing when you get to see actors you idolize in real life.”

The first workshop visited by the students was with the original stage manager from “Hamilton,” James Latus.  Latus spoke about his  experience on Broadway and gave tips to students on how to get into the stage management field.

The second workshop was with Julie Reiber, a standby from “Come From Away.”  Rieber explained how she made it to Broadway.  Reiber was initially going to be an opera singer, but then started her Broadway career by getting many starring roles including Elphaba in the musical “Wicked.”

The workshops were beneficial to students, as they got a first hand account of what it’s like to work and make a living on Broadway. This was helpful to the students who plan on attending college for theater.

“I hope the students would gain better understanding of the type of work that’s out there,” said Ruggles. “It’s one of the reasons I requested ‘Come From Away.’ It’s very different from the typical Broadway musical, but also gives a better understanding of places other than Gloucester. New York is very different from Gloucester. New York is an international hub for people from all around the world.”