Drama Club Attends Imagination Campus at Disneyland

By Claire Wilson

March 20, 2024

On Wednesday March 14th, the MBHS Drama Club departed for Anaheim, California. For months, actors and crew members had counted down the days until the trip, where they would attend a Disneyland Imagination Campus workshop and spend the day in the park. After school, the club piled into vans and began the four hour drive. 

Halfway through the drive, they stopped at In ‘n Out in Oxnard. At the hotel that night, sophomore Emerson Jaquay said, “my favorite part was In n’ Out because we don’t have an In ‘n Out around us. Another highlight was listening to the same three songs over and over again on the drive here. I’m really excited about tomorrow.” Sophomore Gabrielle White said, “it’s been fun so far. The van was a little stuffy but that’s just because we didn’t know how to work the air conditioning. So far it’s gone really well. Everything has been really nice for what we paid for.” The trip cost each student $75 total, including the workshop, hotel stay, and entry to the park. The group arrived at the hotel late that night, tired and ready for bed. Despite their fatigue, a group of girls in one of the hotel rooms stayed up late doing face masks and planning for the next day. 

The next morning, the group met up at the small breakfast buffet. The breakfast was disappointing for most. “There’s like, no cooked food,” said junior Angus McNellie as he looked around forlornly. After breakfast, the group walked across the street to the park. The first part of the day was a musical theater workshop at the Disneyland Imagination Campus. 

The workshop was taught by industry professionals, Elyse Willis and Kevin Gregg. Gregg is an actor, director, writer, and podcast host in Los Angeles, and Willis is a singer for the Los Angeles Master Chorale who has sung on over 100 movies and TV shows. According to drama director Kate Kostecka, “there were two industry professionals with loads of experience who did an hour and a half rapid pace workshop and everyone learned a lot of skills.” During the first part of the workshop, which focused on the market scene from Beauty and the Beast, Gregg taught ensemble choreography. Then, Willis and Gregg held a short audition. The students stood in a circle and each sang a line from the song. While the students watched a short video, the teachers went into another room to cast them. Jocelyn Ocampo-Mateo was cast as Belle and Lucas Huss as Gaston. 

The night before, many students had shared their fears about the casting process. Choreographer Elsey Ruane shared, “I have this fear that they’re going to randomly cast people tomorrow without asking if they can sing or not.” Although many students feared being put into a role that they were uncomfortable with, the casting went very smoothly and allowed those who were more comfortable in larger roles to shine, while still pushing everyone out of their comfort zone. 

For the rest of the workshop, Gregg worked with the ensemble to put together the choreography while Willis worked on vocals with students individually. By the end of the ninety minutes, the scene had come together surprisingly well. That night, Jaquay said, “the workshop was a very educating experience for those who enjoy performing on the stage or just in general because we learned a lot of new physical things, like how to be more physical with everybody on stage, like not everything has to just come from your voice. It was a very eye-opening experience to work with professionals.” 

White, who has been costume manager since Alice in Wonderland, was unsure of her singing and dancing skills before the workshop, but by the end had surprised herself. “I learned a lot about choreography and dancing and singing,” she said, “and that I’m actually capable of doing some of that if I want to. So maybe I won’t be costumes next year, maybe I’ll be something more than that. That’s pretty cool to think about.” After the workshop, Kostecka said, “the workshop was awesome. I think they had fun and got to be silly and it was so cool seeing Jocelyn be Belle and shine. That was very fun.” 

After the workshop, the group was free to roam the park for the rest of the day. They split into groups and explored the park. One of the most notable events of the day happened in Star Wars land, where several students met youtubers Jaiden Animations and Alpharad. This was a big deal for many in the group. “I’m never going to recover,” said McNellie with a dazed look on his face. Others in the group couldn’t understand who they were or why it was such a big deal.

At the end of the day, the whole group met in front of the iconic castle and stopped at a Starbucks on Main Street U.S.A. on their way out of the park. The ride home was long and punctuated by talking and bad pop songs on the radio to keep the drivers awake. At nearly 2 am, the vans pulled into the school parking lot. Bleary eyed students hugged goodbye and walked to their rides. 

Although the trip to Disneyland only lasted two days, it left a considerable mark on those who attended. Through the ups and downs of the trip, the students made each other feel supported and cared for. Spending more than 48 hours in stuffy vans, hotel rooms, and a big exciting amusement park gave the group a unique opportunity to bond. The next day, White said, “I feel like everytime we spend time together, especially on this trip, we just keep getting closer.”

The MBHS Drama Club will be performing Beauty and the Beast on the following dates:

Friday, April 19, 2024 @ 7pm

Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 2pm & 7pm

Friday, April 26, 2024 @ 7pm

Saturday, April 27, 2024 @ 2pm & 7pm

You can find more information on their website