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GENESIAN PLAYERS

Dear Genesians Supporter:

 

Just one year ago, our beloved Genesian Theatre was dark and silent. The sounds of students practicing their lines, singing their lyrics, and building the stage sets were silenced by the global pandemic. A year and a half stolen from these students; senior thespians graduating without the benefit of a final performance on their Genesian stage.

 

An organization depleted and, practically, decimated.

 

When I got the call from my fellow Rummel alum from the class of 1990, Head of School Marc Milano, I was already aware of what he was facing—a rebuild of the Genesian Players. Having been a pupil of Genesian Founder Chuck Guajardo and having been in the industry for over 30 years, I understood the challenge at hand at Archbishop Rummel—rebuild the program with expectations of excellence, caring yet firm discipline, and instruction in the nurturing Lasallian way, as I had learned from Mr. G and the Christian Brothers so many years ago. This challenge was one that I had to accept. This calling was too great, too important, too meaningful to ignore.

 

When I returned to Severn and stepped on that Genesian stage, the very first stage I had performed on in 1985, the memories and feelings were overwhelming. While Mr. Milano was showing me some of the upgrades he completed in the theatre such as new seating, new carpeting, and new lighting grid, I could barely hear him speak over the memories of Mr. G giving one of his famous critiques, fellow Genesians working, laughing, and creating together, and standing ovations from enthusiastic audiences of family, friends, and faculty. Yet, once my discussion with Mr. Milano was completed, I was there alone in the Genesian Theatre as the new director of this treasured organization entering its 58th season. I had never heard such silence. As I looked around the theatre that Chuck built, I asked myself, “Why would I take on this challenge? Do I have it in me to cultivate a new era of theatre at Archbishop Rummel High School? Do I even want to take on this commitment?” Beyond some of the aesthetic upgrades, the Genesians were, literally, on life support—participation at an all-time low, lighting and sound equipment woefully inadequate, behind the times, and/or non-existent, and building supplies were scattered and limited. A true rebuild.

 

Clearly, I answered those lingering questions with a resounding “yes!” And, why? Because I am a proud Rummel Raider—always striving to be “loyal, brave, and true,” and my alma mater needed me as much as I needed her in my formative years. In that moment of silence, I heard the call to “boldly show the way!” And, boldly, we have.

 

In November, the sounds of music, comedy, drama, and applause filled our Genesian Theatre as we presented a Mr. G favorite, “Little Shop of Horrors,” one of the most successful productions in our history. With a new staff of experienced industry professionals, students were able to learn their craft from a professional choreographer, lighting designer, sound designer, costumer, scenic artist, technical director, and lead stage manager. The students were no longer just doing, they were being shown the way, boldly! Through the generosity of alum Gary Vogt, ’74, a new sound console, speakers, and microphones were purchased so the kids would have the latest technology to learn on and to enhance their production. Through our partnerships with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society and Rivertown Theatre, we were able to borrow some scenery, costuming, and a lighting console, as the theatre no longer owns one. Further, Mr. Milano saw to it that funds were appropriated for us to rent upgraded theatrical lighting instruments to give our show a polished and professional look. And, what a show it was! Alums from around the country came together for our champagne night performance to celebrate the renewal of the Genesian Players. And, we had multiple sold-out performances back in our beloved Genesian Theatre. 

 

However, our rebuild is far from complete. Producing exceptional educational theatre requires extraordinary effort and expertise. Archbishop Rummel High School is committed to the Genesian Players’ artistic excellence, community engagement, and solid educational initiatives. 

 

Yet, because we operate in a 100-seat theatre, ticket sales cover only a portion of our annual budget. We must look to our friends, alums, and donors to help us continue the excellence that these students deserve. Additionally, we need to fund the purchase of a lighting console, lighting instruments, and tools for our scene shop. Please consider a gift to support the initiatives of the Genesian Players. 100% of your donation will be allocated to the Genesian Players. We are grateful for any gift. By donating, you are enhancing the opportunities for our students to learn and grow in an environment that assures their long-term success! 

 

Through your passion and support, the Genesian Players will be able to deliver outstanding theatrical experiences for our students and audiences, all while educating, entertaining, and enriching the Archbishop Rummel High School community and beyond.

 

On behalf of our administration, faculty, staff, and students, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and thank you for your contribution. We can’t wait to see you at the theatre in the spring!

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Warm wishes for a Happy New Year,

Brandt Blocker '90

Director of Theatre

Archbishop Rummel High School

bblocker@rummelraiders.com

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