Stages to perform Brundibar


Lucia Davila

Sophomore Grace Feiner rehearses for Stages Bloomington’s production of Brundibar

Lucia Davila, Staff Writer/Photographer

Backstage at the Warehouse on Rogers street, the cast of Brundibar, comprised of 49 local elementary, middle, and high school age performers, prepares for a tech rehearsal. The sets have been loaded in, the prop table is organized, and “places for the top of the show” has been announced.

Stages Bloomington is a youth theatre non-profit company, introduced to Bloomington in 2005. Stages has presented more than 20 musicals, all performed by K-12 students. In addition to annual fully-staged musicals, the company also offers triple threat (singing, dancing, acting) classes for elementary to high school students. This year, Stages is collaborating with the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington to present Brundibar, a piece with deep historical roots.

Brundibar is a children’s opera written by Czech composer Hans Krasa in 1938. The show follows a simple story of two children who, with the help of their friends, confront a mustached bully who mistreats others. This character, the namesake for the show, represents Adolf Hitler himself. The opera was performed fifty-five times by children in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during WWII. However, the young cast members were constantly changing, due to the mass transportation of Jewish families to death camps, namely Auschwitz. Ninety percent of the cast of Brundibar perished in the Holocaust.

“It’s important to perform Brundibar in 2016 because the fears represented in the show are still present today,” sophomore Grace Feiner said, who plays the role of the ice cream seller in the production. “The show, at its core, is about a bully who scares others into complying with him. Only through acceptance and understanding is the bully beaten.”

Sophomore Haley Paulin agrees, pointing out that “despite [Brundibar] being a children’s story, anyone who watches it can recognize the historical significance it has…it’s an important story, even if the plot is childish. Not only that, but the music is beautiful.” Paulin, who plays the part of the sparrow, has been involved with Stages since the age of seven. Brundibar will be her tenth production with the company.

The show opens Thursday evening, culminating two months of rehearsals spent learning lines, blocking, and complicated melodies.