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That's showbiz

Drama teacher has doubled the number of classes, and the program is still growing.

November 12, 2010|By Joyce Rudolph,
  • John Burroughs students, Emily Ramirez, 17, left, and Brody Harrison, 17, rehearse for "Vacancy in Paradise" at John Burroughs High School in Burbank. The Drama program has expanded their program since Guy Myers, director, instructor, and head of the program, started working at the high school three years ago. There are about 120 students in the program.
John Burroughs students, Emily Ramirez, 17, left, and… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

Guy Myers has turned the Burroughs drama department around.

When he started teaching English during the 2006-07 school year, there was only a drama class and play production class. After he took over the drama department in 2007-08, he proposed a musical theater class.

"I thought if we gave them different options, it would bring in more kids," he said. "And the musical theater class filled up."

During that year, so much excitement was built up, they had to add another class for the 2008-09 school year.

Next year another drama class will be added, which will bring the theater program to five classes.

"Which is a really fast growth," said Myers, who received his bachelor's degree in theater studies from Yale University. "Lots of times it take years, and we've been really fortunate, and I've had a lot of support from the administration, students and parents, and I've been really lucky."


And the students feel just as fortunate, said junior Robby Motz, 16.

Robby is in his first semester in the drama program. Myers' positive approach coaching the students with their acting techniques is why Myers has had so much success with the program, Robby said.

"Mr. Myers has shown me what it's like to be an actor," he said. "He's a really good model for that and a really good director. He never criticizes us, but says, 'That was good, but I need you to do this.' He's there every step of the way."

Robby is among 40 students and 10 crew members in rehearsals for a production of the romantic comedy "Vacancy in Paradise" by John Kirkpatrick, opening Thursday and continuing through Sunday in the auditorium.

The show is about a vacation spot with several cabins on a lake that no one uses anymore. An advertising executive happens in, and is so charmed by the woman who runs it that he comes up with marketing schemes suggesting people will meet the people of their dreams at the vacation place. Quite a few women show up, and hilarity ensues, Myers said.

"It was written in the 1960s and takes place in the 1940s," he said. "It's very charming — a cute little script."

Myers said he had never heard of the play until a senior student suggested it last year. He read it over the summer and thought it would work well.

When the students are choosing plays to produce, Myers said he reminds them to think like a director.

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