By Cait Kemp
As the final scene came to a close and the audience erupted into applause, the cast could finally take a breath. They did it, the show was over.
After rehearsing for at least two hours every day, putting their heart and soul into the production, the weekend went by fast. For the seniors, it was their last curtain call – a bittersweet moment that they knew was inevitable, but wished would never come.
The Best of Broadway club put on it’s spring production of “Grease” this past weekend, and seniors Jess Darby and Brendan McGann stepped onto the stage for their theater finale.
McGann starred as Kenickie, one of the lead characters, and Darby took on the role of Eugene, her first speaking part.
The pair had a different experience from the rest of the cast, knowing they would not be returning in the fall to begin another year of Best of Broadway.
“This was my main extracurricular involvement, I’ve always put so much time and effort into it,” said Darby. “My sophomore year I directed, I’ve choreographed the last three years, so it’s just leaving that is going to be really weird.”
Although Darby and McGann are ending their Best of Broadway experiences together, their journeys to get there were very different.
Darby danced for much of her life as she competed with a studio and her high school team. She also loved to sing and discovered that participating in musicals would allow her to do both of those activities at Springfield College. Darby joined Best of Broadway without any theater experience, and fell in love with it from the start.
“I wasn’t even going to audition, but on the last day of auditions freshman year somebody that I barely even knew dragged me into it,” said Darby. “I made so many friends with the club I was like, ‘Oh, this is actually really fun.’”
McGann began acting classes in third grade and was in his first play the next year. He started participating in musicals as a middle schooler and was a part of the drama club all throughout high school. However, once he got to Springfield College, he didn’t join Best of Broadway until his sophomore year.
“When I got here I didn’t know anybody really so I didn’t join my freshman year. But my sophomore year I wanted to get into it because I missed it, and I auditioned and they took me under their wing so it was great,” said McGann.
From there, he never turned back as he developed into a key member of the club, and worked hard to put on a show that was worth showing to the community.
“At the end of the last show, at the end of when I’m singing, I just give everything – my all. Show everyone that you love doing what you do and just give them a show,” said McGann.
Neither Darby or McGann are pursuing careers in musical theater in the future, so Best of Broadway has been their outlet to their creative and artistic sides. Darby is a psychology major with a criminal justice minor, while McGann is a math and computer tech major.
“It’s really nice to have that kind of outlet, even though I never did theater before coming to college. I always loved performing, I always loved singing, so having that opportunity to continue into college as well as getting new experiences, making new friends, to just keep doing what I love,” said Darby.
Best of Broadway has served as a community for them – a family. The friendships they have made are unique and they’ve been able to connect with peers that the duo otherwise may not have met.
The bonding experience is something that they cherish. After the completion of the final show, a reflection on their time with Best of Broadway was centered around chances to spend time with fellow cast and crew members.
“We had a full cast bonding night in the theater right before the start of tech week… just a reminder that we still love and support each other and that we can have fun,” said Darby. “That was probably the most fun I ever had in the theater.”
Darby and McGann have wrapped up their careers in theater, and will forever be grateful for the Best of Broadway experience. While the curtain has closed on their time in theater, the memories will last forever.
Photos Courtesy Jess Darby and Brendan McGann