PAB 20th Anniversary

Mr. Weiner and Ms. Stafford on stage for the 2023 production of Our Town
Mr. Weiner and Ms. Stafford on stage for the 2023 production of “Our Town”
Mick McDowell

As it’s 2023, we hit our 20th anniversary of Alhambra’s Performing arts building. Our school has had years and years where we didn’t have a stage for our actors to shine. When the PAB was built,  the first play we did was Our Town by Thorton Wilder, in which coincidentally the drama club picked to perform the same play 20 years later. Before the performing arts building was built Alhambra used to perform in the library where they had to bring in lights, a stage, and sound. From an Alumni, Sara Madrid Bragg said “It was so intimate but we were SO limited.” Before the PAB was built lights and sound were much more difficult to work out, same with costume changes and acting in general. The first play to take place on the stage was Our Town and the first musical that took place on our stage was Cabaret in 2004. I had talked to Mr. Wiener about what it was like when the Performing arts building didn’t exist yet and how it changed afterwards. 

 

Question: “How long have you been at Alhambra and what are all the things you’ve taught here?”

Answer: “I’ve been at Alhambra for 32 years. I taught english at all levels but overtime I had started to gain more and more drama classes which have become Drama I, Drama II, and musical theater.” 

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Question: “Where would the drama class be when there was no performing arts building?”

Answer: “I taught all english and only one Drama class which then had to be taught in that same english classroom. We would just have to push the desks aside and annoy all the other classes around us with our noisiness. And then to rehearse they would have to go in the hall and they’d be yelling lines, and every room down the hall would be annoyed and shutting their doors and telling me how loud we are ”

 

Question: “How was the process of getting the performing arts building and was it stressful while also having the class?”

Answer: “It took us many, many years of petitioning the district to try and convince them that we needed the performance space in our district. Eventually the money was found to complete the campus and build our Performing Arts building.”

 

Question: Do you think that if we didn’t have the building the drama department would be as strong as it is now?

Answer:  “It would not be, our productions wouldn’t be as good, our rehearsal spaces wouldn’t be enough and we wouldn’t be able to have the big casts of 30 or 40 like we do now.”

 

Question: How excited were you when you knew that the actors were able to perform on the stage?

Answer: It was a huge thrill. I remember sitting in the construction site, while they were building the building around me and just fantasizing about all the wonderful shows that were going to be down there on that stage when it all was completed. So it was quite exciting, but also a little nerve racking because then I realized, ‘Oh, now I really need to know how to build sets and do lights, and figure out all these things that we haven’t had to do before.’ So presented all new challenges, exciting new challenges.”

 

Without Alhambra’s performing arts building our actors wouldn’t have the right spot to shine in our school. All the students interested in drama are incredibly thankful for those who petitioned for us to have this stage so that we could enjoy our time in the drama department.

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Mick McDowell, Editor in Chief
(They/he) Mick Mcdowell is one the Editor in Chiefs for the AHS Dogwatcher and is the class of 2024. He has a passion for journalism and writing. They love music and have a passion for the arts and is the Drama club President.
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