November 10, 2016

The Power of Being Yourself

From November 4–6, 2016, Oakwood School brought the iconic musical A Chorus Line to the El Portal theater in  North Hollywood. This was the first staging of the play in the theater’s 90 years of existence and the second year in a row that Oakwood’s performing arts department took the stage at the opulent and historic venue. Each night of the run, Oakwood families, faculty, and friends—along with a record number of prospective parents—rose for standing ovations as the cast and crew took a bow.

Performing arts teacher Rich Brunner shares these Director’s Notes:

In 1975, when the cast album of A Chorus Line hit the record stores, I was in high school. Living in the Mid-west there wasn’t much chance I was ever going to see the show in New York; besides, I lived in a small town and the record stores wouldn’t have the album for at least six months. So my friend and I drove to Kansas City to buy it. I listened to that album from start to finish over and over and over…it spoke to me. Flash forward to the 41st Anniversary of its release and the music is still mesmerizing, the story is still current and when it’s all said and done you still expect the “One” to show up at the end and belt out a tune.

A Chorus Line is about life: for anyone who has interviewed for any job, auditioned for any group, or tried out for any sports team, it speaks to the power of being yourself, telling your own story without regret, and puts you deeply in touch with the sacrifices you are willing to make in the name of what you love. As they sing at the end of the show, “Kiss today goodbye, and point me toward tomorrow.”

I have had the privilege this fall to work with a wonderfully brave and tremendously talented group of performers and crew. They learned dances and music over the summer, as well as taking Jazz Dance classes off-campus. And the crew has been spot on with their devotion to detail and a commitment to being the best backstage support they can be. The fierce dedication and unwavering work ethic of all the students and staff has been humbling, and I am grateful, every day.

I dedicate this show to all those who have struggled to tell their story, who have had a passion for being a better person than they were yesterday, and who haven’t yet given up on their dream. I applaud you. Now let’s get to work…



Special thanks to everyone at El Portal, Brian Glucksman, Sean Fitzpatrick, Kevin Dole, Jose and the Guys, Angela, William, Liz, Ivan, Shadeed, Debby & Sondi, J.T., Dani @ TheatreCo., and all the wonderful parents who’ve helped us along the way!