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Upper School Performing Arts

By the time students reach the Upper School, more elements of our productions are student-run. Increasing opportunities to design sound and lighting, build scenery, and stage manage offer students a more complete perspective of the professional world of performing arts. Students who choose to pursue performing arts all four years often move fluidly between music, tech, acting, and dance. Rehearsals are organized according to professional expectations, and students progress in commitment as the standards elevate.

Upper School faculty select meaningful and challenging work, encouraging students to develop in different avenues and broaden their scope of performance technique. They take risks on selecting shows for depth, mixing classics with new works. Faculty collaboration models for students what it means to prioritize collective storytelling over individual spotlight, as students shape futures with artistic meaning.

Spring 2024 Performances

Chicago Goes to Hollywood

Brentwood's spring 2024 musical, Chicago, was one of only four high school productions invited to perform at the Jerry Herman Awards at the Pantages Theatre. The campus show was a sensation — complete with elaborate dance numbers, magic tricks, show-stopping vocals, and plenty of sparkle and glam — and students staged one of many standout numbers, "Razzle Dazzle," at the Pantages.

Congratulations to Best Actor and Actress nominees Gabi V. '24 and Ethan R. '25, Best Scenic Design nominee Arshak Khachmanyan, and the whole Chicago cast for their performance at the Jerry Herman Awards.

Read about our Pantages Performance

View Show Photos

Shaping a Future Career

Dylan U. '24 shares about an independent study course that she pursued in coordination with the Production Manager. 

"Working with Mrs. Schwinn during my lighting design independent study titled "Let There Be Light" has not only expanded my knowledge and abilities as a designer but has also helped me learn more about myself as a person. Individual mentorship allowed me to connect more with my teacher and focus on doing something I love. Whether it's rigging lights or analyzing plays, every experience strengthened my understanding of the art of lighting design and my creative process. My teacher made it her mission to prepare me for what the entertainment industry is really like and how to stick up for myself because she cares about my well-being and wants to see me succeed. I'm so grateful to her and Brentwood for giving me this opportunity to take a class that is tailored specifically for me so that I'm able to go into college with a strong understanding of what I want to do."

Upper School Fall Play: Clue

On November 17-18, 2023, Brentwood Upper School proudly presented Clue, a play full of mayhem, misadventures, murder, and the opportunity for one "Mr. Boddy" to bring to end a certain longstanding confidential and painful financial liability. 

View the photo gallery

Courses Offered

For more information about our performing arts program, contact Department Chair Lauren Hall at lhall@bwscampus.com.

Dancers Delight in Wonderland

Dancers Delight in Wonderland
by Meredith Storrs, Assistant Director of Communications

Plans for the recent Upper School Dance concert began last summer when a group of rising seniors in the Brentwood Dance Company approached Performing Arts Chair and dance teacher Lauren Hall with a proposition. 

Brooke M., Mimi M., Reilly R., Dylan F., Sarah S., and Chloe S. had an idea for an Alice in Wonderland-themed performance, with the roles already cast and a vision for music, costuming, and choreography. Delighted by their initiative, Ms. Hall gave an enthusiastic “YES!” to their proposal. 

After months of hard work during class — learning new dance styles, selecting costumes, and working late afternoons with the designers and crew — the performance came together spectacularly. Wonderland showcased all levels of Upper School dancers in a mix of dance styles and even included a few cameos from Upper School teachers Hannah Vaughan, Fred Rible, and Kala Savage. The stagecraft classes collaborated on the show to create an impressive "Jabberwocky"-inspired dragon puppet, which the students learned to animate through their choreography. Two theatrical design students also contributed their skills. Abigail C. ’25 designed a caterpillar that dancers incorporated into one piece, and Dylan U. ’24 designed the lighting for three of the dance numbers. 

Enjoy a gallery of images from the show here.

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