Menlo Upper School Drama
Live in the Moment!
The world of theater is full of vitality and dynamism, holding an undeniable enchantment in its live form. Emotions unfold in real time and there are no pause or rewind buttons and no subtitles. Live theater is immersive! The audience is present in the same moment the drama unfolds. Theater is a process, a laboratory where we can all experiment with creative expression and storytelling, and where the only ceiling of imagination are those limits we subscribe to ourselves. Theater gives us permission to have fun, take risks, and make a difference.
The Upper School Winter Play
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 3:30-6:00 pm. A group workshop/audition experience. No preparation is needed. Sign up outside the drama room.
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 3:30-6:00 pm. Selected scenes and monologues will be provided.
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, 7:30 pm
Sunday, Feb. 4, 5:00 pm
Spieker Center for the Arts
Antigone is a captivating tale of love, heartbreak, and destiny. It’s a timeless classic, hailed as one of the greatest plays ever penned. Its themes of political upheaval and personal struggles are just as relevant today as they were in the past. In Antigone Now, you’ll be taken on a journey that explores the dark consequences of unchecked power and overwhelming pride. Get ready for a gripping exploration of human emotions and societal conflicts that you won’t want to miss!
Polynices, son of Oedipus, has led a rebellious army against his brother, Eteocles, ruler of Thebes. Both have died in single combat. When Creon, their uncle, assumes rule, he commands that the body of the rebel Polynices be left unburied and unmourned and warns that anyone who tampers with his decree will be put to death. Antigone, sister of Polynices, defies Creon’s order and buries her brother, claiming that she honors the laws of the gods first. Enraged, Creon condemns her to be sealed in a cave and left to die. The god’s revenge on Creon provides the gripping climax to this compelling tragedy, which remains today, one of the most frequently performed classical Greek drama.
Thursday-Sunday, May 2-5
the Spieker Center for the Arts
Where we’ve been!
Here’s a look back at the 2022-2023 drama season! A full season playing to full houses! .
Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors, a horror comedy rock musical about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh!
Having just done the physical (set and costumes) production at the prestigious Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the summer of 2022, we brought it home to Menlo, re-cast the wildly fun comic characters, and used Molière’s restoration humor to skewer and lampoon human foibles in all walks of life.
Peter and the Starcatcher
The prequel to Peter Pan, this adventure-filled story showed us how an orphan became the world’s most famous boy, how Wendy never gave up hope and how Black Stache became the infamous Captain Hook!
Menlo Drama Gives Back
Menlo’s Drama Department strives to “Give Back” both on and off stage. Through donations during our productions, we encourage public support for both national and international programs benefitting people affected by health, wellness, and community issues. Menlo Drama Gives Back has raised and distributed almost $50,000 to various charities globally.
Musical Theater (1S)
This is a semester-long course is and is offered in the FALL only.
This class is designed to tell stories through music with the goal of developing an awareness of emotional truth and connection. It is a performance-based course focused on the three essential elements of musical theatre- music, drama, and movement. Material covered will include vast repertoire from musical theatre while also discovering how the history of the genre relates to the present. Students are encouraged to bring their own repertoire while also being open to learning something new. We will perform scenes from musical theatre repertoire from the golden age to the present. Prior experience in vocal music, drama, and/or movement is encouraged.
Drama On-Stage (1S)
This course is a semester-long course and is offered in the FALL. This class can be taken along with Drama Off-Stage in order to count as a year-long arts class.
This one semester course will help you discover your individual voice through this introductory course on the fundamental elements and process of all things ON stage including improvisation, scene study, monologues and small presentations. Through theatre games and daily exercises, we will build confidence and develop an understanding of what your unique perspective and voice can bring to any material, onstage or in a podcast or on film or on podcast.
Drama Off-Stage (2S)
This course is a semester-long course and is offered in the SPRING. This class can be taken along with Drama On-Stage in order to count as a year-long arts class.
This one semester course is perfect to take in tandem, with Drama ON-Stage or can be taken as a stand-alone. The focus of this class is to create a deeper appreciation and understanding of everything that happens OFF-Stage - learn about all the different roles required within the artistic, production, and business categories of theatre in order to put on a successful production! Topics and units covered include being a director, a set or costume designer, a general manager and general production support. This class will help you understand the wide of range of opportunities available in the field with the ultimate objective being able to demonstrate and apply the necessary skills and techniques to produce a play by understanding and having a greater appreciation of the different roles required within any given production. By helping to support the Menlo shows (during classtime) in design, management, technical services, dramaturgy, and backstage support, practical application will be in real time with real results.
Production: Page to Spieker Stage (1S and/or 2S)
This course can be taken as in either SPRING or FALL as a semester-long course or taken both semesters as a year-long course.
The first hands-on experience exploring and combining design, science, engineering, craftsmanship, art, and presentation inside the new Spieker Center for the Arts, this course is an opportunity to think big. It will cover digital theatrical LED lighting, live sound, production organization and management, set design, tools, construction, scenic painting, costume and prop design. Each student will be encouraged to find his/her own areas of interest. Learn how to safely use the diverse technology and tools of our new theater to take student projects from concept to completion. Students can also learn from working live events, concerts, dance, or theater. We will focus on collaboration, basic skill sets, and creativity. Watch a video overview of this course here.
About Menlo Drama
Menlo’s Upper School drama program includes courses in drama and musical theater in addition to producing full-length plays each fall, winter, and spring. Past productions have included Heathers, Twelfth Night, Cabaret, The Laramie Project, Fiddler on the Roof, The Miracle Worker, Urinetown, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Avenue Q.
Steven Minning is the Creative Arts and Upper School Drama Director. He has worked as a director and choreographer in New York, and around the world. As an Associate Director he has staged the Broadway, National and International tours of Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Show Boat, The Will Rogers Follies, and Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion. He has directed and choreographed for major events such as State Farm National Agency Convention in Las Vegas, the Coca-Cola Olympic reception in Atlanta and the World Cup opening ceremonies. He teaches drama and musical Theatre.