Every Fall at Northwestern, Arts Alliance (a student theatre company) produces a musical in an event called the Garden Party. This event almost always marks the first musical of the Fall student theatre season and it’s always one of the most well attended shows by the Northwestern community. This year’s show was Dogfight written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Northwestern Alumnus Peter Duchan, and directed by one of my best friends. Seeing the show this year gave me the chance to reconnect with a lot of friends I hadn’t seen since Summer Break because a) the show is so early in the year and b) that many people see it. Outside of all the people currently in school, the great thing about the Northwestern theatre community is that a lot of the alums feel as connected to the program as many of the students still attending. Peter Duchan actually came back to campus to see the show and to meet the team and cast, which sounds like a pretty unique experience, but in many ways, it isn’t.

My sophomore year I assistant directed the Garden Party show, which that year was Avenue Q. While we were rehearsing the show, we were in contact with one of Avenue Q’s original performers, NU alum Stephanie D’Abruzzo. She actually e-mailed the cast a couple of times throughout the process and remembered the performance space where the show was going to be done. On top of that, Avenue Q’s original director, Jason Moore (also an alum), came and spoke to the cast and rehearsal team during a rehearsal early in the process. It says a lot about our school and the community that alumni care enough about NU to give back and meet with current students.

Like most college students heading into their final year, I’ve been pretty occupied with thinking about employment after graduation. Truthfully, I still don’t have a lot of answers as to what that will look like; although, thankfully, I still have a little bit of time before I’m thrust into the real world. The community support from current and former Northwestern students gives me the sense that success is possible. That community is a big reason I came to Northwestern.

–Brendan Flynn

photo source: An Evening with Pasek and Paul

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