Burroughs on Broadway Returns for 16th Season

First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

As a foreshadowing of Halloween, this past week saw the quad of John Burroughs High School canopied with moonlit clouds, chilled with the harbinger of rain and transformed into the city’s largest outdoor cabaret as the school’s Vocal Music Association presented its 16th season of Burroughs On Broadway, or “BOB” as it is colloquially known.
Surrounded by blood-red draped tables on which supporters enjoyed dinner provided by VIP Catering, the spirit of Halloween was alive and well during the VMA’s three performances of the show emceed by actor Mick Torres. Along with numbers from a wide array of Broadway musicals were spooky selections from “The Addams Family,” a time-warping tune from “The Rocky Horror Show” and well-known hits from the hedonistic nightlife of the seedy Kit Kat Klub of “Cabaret.”
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Burroughs on Broadway: Up Close and in Person Again

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

When an artist is performing in front of a live audience, Jennifer Strattan explained, something tangible arises — an interactivity and energy that are absent during a recorded or online-only show.
The same is true, the Burroughs on Broadway director added, when working with her students. After months of virtual classes, virtual practices and virtual performances, Strattan and her John Burroughs High School choir members returned this year to in-person interaction. She didn’t expect to be so emotional when she reunited with them, she said in an interview, but seeing and feeling their energy as they rehearsed was far more impactful than the myriad Zoom meetings.
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Despite Pandemic, Burroughs VMA Makes Its Production Sing

“The way things used to be.”

“Back in the day.”

“The good ol’ days.”

Throughout our lives we have become accustomed to hearing those phrases uttered by our parents, grandparents and anyone else who has lived long enough to recall a time when things — for better or worse — were different.
Today, those phrases are as prevalent as ever, though they are now uttered by young people as often as they are by those who have more days behind them than in front of them.
Just last year at this time, teenagers were going to school and participating in all of the traditional extracurricular activities. That came to a sudden halt this past March, when schools shuttered their campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By the time the pandemic hit we had completed our big shows, and as we got to the end of the year we weren’t really sure what would be happening when the new school year began,” said Brendan Jennings, who heads up the music program at John Burroughs High School. “So when school began this year, realizing things would be very different, we had to figure out how we would move forward. We had to especially figure out how we would handle our live performances, which the students love, have been extremely popular with audiences and have served as a vital method of fundraising for our program.”

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