Brantwood is a groundbreaking musical theatre experience – the largest production of immersive, site-specific musical theatre in Canadian history. The talents of student in both of Sheridan’s Music Theatre Performance and Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events programs were applauded for the masterful execution of such a vast production. Brantwood made further history by earning a Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Production in2015.
Audience members are greeted as the final graduating class of a fictional Brantwood High and transported by school bus to their “alma mater” for a reunion before the school’s closing for good. An unexpected event hurls the audience back in time to explore a century of adolescent life: first loves, growing pains, peer pressure and youthful experimentation through the ages. The musical includes 11 era-specific hot-topic storylines, one for each decade of the school’s history, plus a look into the future: a 1920s teacher-student affair; 1930s anti-Semitism; 1940s gender and racial segregation; a 1950s teen pregnancy; a 1960s LSD trip; a 1970s foray into amateur porn; a 1980s film-noir narcotics thriller; a 1990s talent show and the dreams of a transgendered student; a 2000s musical exploring a story from the school’s sordid past; a 2015 student’s attempt to save the school from developers; and a 2020 condo story centered on a young gay couple haunted by the ghosts of Brantwood’s past.
Featuring text and songs that span a century of different musical genres, Brantwood was performed by the 2015 graduating class of Sheridan’s renowned Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program. Rounding out the cast were talented professionals Suzanne Bennett, Claire Calnan, Ralph Small and Andrew Trithardt portraying Brantwood’s teachers and principals. In choose-your-own-adventure style, spectators decided which storylines to follow as they wandered through classrooms and halls in a production featuring 90 characters (portrayed by 40 actors), 200 scenes, 40 musical numbers and unexpected dance sequences – with 15 scenes occurring simultaneously at any given time, all interwoven with clockwork precision orchestrated by a crew of 40 students from Sheridan’s Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events program. Adding to the mystery and excitement of the production were secret passage-ways, one-on-one encounters, treasure hunts and rewards for solving multi-media riddles hidden in plain sight.