SFS alums bring back the ’80s with The Breakfast Club!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

tbc2This past summer was a very special one for me and St. Francis Drama Project alums. We put together our third Summer Alumni Show and took on none other than The Breakfast Club! Yes, that very iconic Breakfast Club – a play based on the 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by the one and only John Hughes. Considered one of the greatest high school films of all time, The Breakfast Club looks at five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together under the watch of a strict disciplinarian, and come to realize that they are all more than their respective stereotypes. While 30 years may have passed since the original, the themes certainly live on.

And since The Breakfast Club is a rather small-cast show, I decided to include a musical element and included a singing and dancing group of ’80s “new wave” singers to create a soundtrack for the show. It included greatest hits from the likes of Wang Chung, The Human League, Blondie, The Go- Go’s and of course the memorable closing number, Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds.

Following on the heels of Godspell in 2012 and Almost, Maine, in 2014 (which won a National Youth Arts Award for Outstanding High School production), the summer alumni shows are first and foremost a chance for SFS Drama Project alumni from the Goshen and Downtown Campuses to reunite and relive their love for theater. In this summer’s show, we had every class represented from high school freshmen to college juniors. Some of these students were seven years apart in age and had never acted together, but they became a tight-knit ensemble who shared words of inspiration before every show and truly became a “summer family.” Our cast party on closing night was so uplifting, I can’t really put it into words.

tbcSome of my favorite memories and reflections from The Breakfast Club? It has to begin with the filmed opening sequence. Alex Scarfe, a film student at Columbia College Chicago and brother to High School student and Goshen graduate Nicholas Scarfe, painstakingly filmed the beginning of the movie wherein each teen “delinquent” gets out of his/her parents’ car for the Saturday morning detention. Making it even more memorable, all the actors’ parents in real life played themselves for the filming. Wearing winter coats, the scenes were shot in 95-degree Kentucky heat and it took 90 minutes to capture the two or so minutes of film. Alex did a fabulous job recreating this opening.

We sold out all four productions in advance. Tickets were at a real premium, and thanks to an excellent article in the Courier-Journal on the show, we had strangers not connected with St. Francis show up hoping to get seats. No one left disappointed and we accommodated everyone who came.

But mostly, I will remember the camaraderie and spirit this cast and crew showed for each other. They worked hard and were off script in two weeks. We rehearsed three and four hours at a time near the end, and no one complained even though many worked day jobs and then rehearsed until 8:30 p.m. in the evening. It was so very gratifying for me to work with high school and college-aged alums who were in it for the love of good theater and the chance to see each other again. The story was funny, emotional, romantic, and even hard to watch at times, but so very faithful to the original – and to the spirit of drama at SFS. As I look back on it, I can’t wait to see what the Summer of 2018 will bring.

Below are the actors and crew members who took part in The Breakfast Club. “Don’t You Forget About Me?” No chance.

CAST

Allison
Paige Didier G’12 & Amelia Dimas G’16

Andrew
Aaron Lattis G’13

Bender
Gray Thurstone G’10, ’14

Brian
Clay Smedley G’15, ’19

Claire
Hannah Jones G’14 & Zoë Koss G’12, ’16

Principal Vernon
Joe Harlan G’10, ’14

’80s SINGERS!
Olivia Beach G’16, Lucy Biberman G’15, Margot Bond G’12, Paige Dider G’12, Amelia Dimas G’16, Hannah Jones G’14, Grace Malone G’16, ’20, Maggie McGraw G’15, ’19

PRODUCERS & CREW

Produced & Directed By
Reed Gabhart

Assistant Director
Annie Stone G’11

Musical Director
Katie Heit G’11

Lighting & Sound
Lucas Asher G’12 & Nicholas Scarfe G’15, ’19

Cinematographer
Alex Scarfe

Stage Manager
Ellie White G’16, ’20                  

Stage Crew
Ella Davis G’16, ’20  & Sydney Lattis G’15

Acting Understudy
Thomas Simpson G’14, ’18