Drama Seniors Take A Final Bow With ‘Big Fish’

The class of 2022 reflects on their time in the drama department


Rachel Marsh ’22 and Whit Jury ’23 perform a scene in ‘Big Fish’

Esther Puderbaugh, Arts & Entertainment Editor

As the lights in Opstad Auditorium rise again, the seniors of City High’s drama department are preparing to take their final bow with the program in this year’s spring musical, Big Fish.

“It’s very nice and it’s very rewarding to get to put on a full show like I watched my freshman year with Les Mis,” stage manager Eva Stadtlander ‘22 said. “Even just being a backstage shift crew person during the shows, it’s really nice to see how the shows have kind of come full circle and how we’ve come back to the big ensemble and big musical feel.”

Ruth Meehan ‘22, who plays the role of Sandra Templeton in Big Fish, also feels that this year of shows has been a full circle moment. 

“We’re the last grade that had a normal musical without COVID [and] I’ve been looking back this week on a lot of old pictures from my freshman year and how much has changed and how some things have stayed the same,” Meehan said. “All of our old traditions are still there. Also [there is a lot of] personal growth that happens in those four years.”

Even with the limitations of interaction during COVID, Meehan feels that the drama community was as strong as ever.

“The cast party for Matilda last year was really really fun,” Meehan said. “It was just like a really bittersweet ending because that show was so special in the sense that we couldn’t really advertise it and people couldn’t come see it but we still put in all this work and we just got to do a show. So it was really special and then just getting to hang out with the cast afterwards was really nice.”

As the weekend of Big Fish showings looms near, Drama Board President Charlie Faden ‘22 is reflective on his past four years with the drama department.

“This weekend is three weeks from the end of the school year for seniors and I remember that occurring to me near the beginning of the show and thinking “haha this is really funny” but it’s here now. I never thought it would end the way that it has at any point. I always pictured it in different ways and now that we’re here it’s not like an “oh wow, this is such a bad thing”. It’s so unique and it’s very weird,” Faden said. “At the end of every show we always have senior speeches and for four years I had been thinking about what I wanted to say in that speech and as we’re getting closer to that it’s kind of occurring to me that everything that I thought that I would want to say is stuff that I don’t think I want to say anymore.”

Stadtlander is also looking back on her four years in drama ahead of the showings of Big Fish

“[Big Fish is] cool to see and it makes me think about my time spent at City High in the drama department and outside of drama and also it’s just a very rewarding show to see put on as I’ve watched it grow from start to finish,” Stadtlander said. “Late night light focusing and just general tech nights [are some of my favorite memories from drama]. I got to work with some of my fellow senior crew members and got to know them and I will remember them forever.”

Faden will miss the unique and welcoming community that drama offers students. He feels that this has enriched his high school experience.

“I think my favorite memory from drama is with Matilda. We had a tough time with costumes just because there weren’t a ton of people working with costumes and so some of the cast members had to go out and get costume pieces from stores. I went with a person in the class above me who I didn’t really know so well but afterwards we got dinner and it was super nice and just like getting to know people in that surprising way is such an amazing thing,” Faden said. “There are plenty of people in drama who I wouldn’t know if they hadn’t done drama especially with people who aren’t in your class. Like with this show I have met so many underclassmen who I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for this.”

Meehan feels that her drama experience ending is incredibly bittersweet and that Big Fish being her final show with City High Drama is particularly poignant.

“The very last song in the show is ‘How It Ends’ and this is the way that we’re ending our City High Drama experience. I’m grateful for everything and I’m grateful for all of the memories,” Meehan said. “It’s moving on and we’re going into the next chapter of our lives and so I think it’s very symbolic in that way. I don’t think you’re ever ready for something like this to be over. It’s been such a big part of our high school experiences that the idea of it ending in less than a week is a crazy feeling. This is the last time we’ll get to perform with these people who have meant so much to us so it’s definitely bittersweet.”