Drama Lab Returns to the Stage and It is Another Special Year on Campus
After almost two years without a show due to the pandemic, Drama Lab shines on the outdoor stage
Due to the pandemic, it had been two years since Drama Lab was able to put on a show. A return to the stage was welcomed by all, but it did not come without its challenges. Nevertheless, students, teachers, staff, alumni, and parents persevered to bring the community two wonderful shows in 2021-22: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (above) in the fall and Tuck Everlasting in the spring. The shows lived up to the high expectations of a BMHS Drama Lab production, albeit with one difference: they were held outdoors on the lawn of the Schneider Retreat Center.
Megan Ashby-Moreau ’01, one of Drama Lab’s moderators, chose to direct The Legend of Sleepy Hollow because it could easily be staged outside and it fit the fall season perfectly. Early on, the cast and crew ran into one challenge after another, from sharing outdoor rehearsal space outside of Thomas More Hall in a high-traffic area to weekly Covid testing. Every day of rehearsal, in fact, brought with it new challenges. “The weather was always a surprise,” says Moreau, “and we had to rehearse with masks on, only taking them off for tech week and the actual shows.”
Despite the challenges, the fall show turned out to be a spectacular event thanks to the help of so many people. Band Director Eric Hankey and his music students helped set up microphones, sound systems and lighting up to the retreat center on the third level of campus; parents chipped in to help build a forest of trees from scratch; Moreau’s husband, Rob, built the rest of the set; the school purchased three fog machines and colored flood lights; and the BMHS maintenance staff set up seating, string lights and the stage. It was a total team effort. “The students worked incredibly hard under abnormal circumstances,” says Moreau. ” We had almost an entirely new group of students who had never done a show with us or theater at all. It all paid off as every show was sold out and attended by alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends.”
The spring production of Tuck Everlasting, under the direction of Sierra Evans ’10, was equally successful, even though it had its own share of challenges. During one of the shows, for example, the cast had to deal with a plane flying overhead and a series of ambulance sirens on Torrance Boulevard. In the end, however, they were just minor challenges in the grand scheme of things.
“I’m so happy to get back to directing shows in person,” says Moreau. “The last few years have been so difficult trying to produce virtual events, and honestly, I just missed being with the kids in person for the process. Even though things were more challenging because we were outside, we made it work because we love what we do and we all adore each other so much.”
With the 2021-22 school year beginning as planned, the Class of 2025 Convocation was held on its traditional day, the first day of school for the freshmen. After a welcome from Dr. Garza, alumna Kristina Bingham-Jones ’03, right, addressed the class and told them to be bold and not to be afraid to take chances in trying new activities and in meeting new people. Bingham-Jones is a published children’s book author and the Founder and CEO of Guardian Lane, a tech company that help children in dealing with loss.
The Class of 2025 also received words of advice from alumnus, and boys’ dean, Lee Flores ‘84. Flores told the freshman that high school was a time to make lifelong friends and that those sitting around them will be people you can trust and lean on in life. Flores relayed to the class that one of his BMHS volleyball teammates was a member of his wedding party.
Finally, the Class of 2025 heard from 2021-22 ASB President Samantha Liu ’22, who stressed to the freshmen to join as many clubs and activities as possible and that serving the community is an important part of high school life.
After first semester final exams were over in December, the baseball team welcomed back Athletic Hall of Famer Bill Bordley ’76 and his friend, former major league player Darrell Evans. The two spoke to the baseball team about their faith in God and the important role that He plays in their lives as husbands, fathers, and men of the Catholic faith. Bordley is one of two BMHS alumni to play in the majors and he was an All-American pitcher at USC. Evans, a native of Pasadena, won a World Series with the 1984 Tigers and is one of 57 members of the 400-Home Run Club.
Once again, alumni returned to campus to speak to classes, teams, and groups. During Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 31-Feb. 4), BMHS celebrated vocations by inviting alumni to speak to students about their careers, career goals, and how BMHS helped shape them. Alumni who shared their experiences were Angheline Austria ’12, SÏonan Barrett ’12, Jessica Flores ’12, Amie Gonzalez ’12, Connor Hutcherson ’12, Nikki Windisch ’12, Niko Filipovich ’13, Matt Kurata ’14, Madison Miller ’14, and Farley Anunciacion ’15. Later in the Spring, actor/comedian Erik Escobar ’08 spoke to the theater arts students and filmmaker Peter Rocca ’17 spoke to the Video Production classes. Right before Easter break, LA City Fire Captain Michael Boutté ’00 (pictured) spoke to students in Sports Medicine & Exercise Science and Anatomy & Physiology. Prior to the year ending, the Sports Med classes welcomed back Dr. Ja’nae Zahn-Brown ’98 and Rachel Duda ’12 from Physical Therapy San Pedro.
One of our guest speakers for May’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month was former NHL player, and current BMHS parent, Richard Park. During his 15-year NHL career, Park played for six teams. He also played internationally and served as a coach for South Korea at the 2018 Olympics. He spoke to over 75 students about his experiences playing in the NHL and being an Asian-American professional athlete.
Over the Thanksgiving break, BMHS hosted Kayla Padilla ’19 (bottom row, 2nd from the right) and the University of Pennsylvania Women’s Basketball team for a few practices on campus prior to their games at Loyola Marymount University. The team practiced in the main gym, got to take a photo with BMHS alumna and Seattle Storm Head Coach Noelle Quinn ’03 and enjoyed the warm Southern California weather. “It was special to have Kayla back on campus and give UPenn the opportunity to practice on the same court where Kayla thrived as a prep player,” said Andy Marafino, Director of Advancement.
The Annual Alumni Baseball Game was back in 2022 after a year hiatus due to the pandemic. On Saturday, February 26, close to 50 alumni baseball players returned to campus to participate as either players or spectators in the game against the 2022 Varsity. Alumni who came back ranged from the Class of 1973 to the Class of 2021. Even the umpire for the game was an alumnus, Fernando Rodriguez ’94. Thank you to Head Baseball Coach Eric Fuller ’94 and his staff of Terry Peterson ’95, Ryan Skelley ’04, Bobby Nunn ’02 and Wesley Griffee ’21 for their work in making it a special day. Photo Credit: Gerrick DeGuzman Cardenas ’91. More photos at www.bmhs-la.org/baseball/