On Wednesday, April 19, Blue Cluster students were treated to a special visit from Broadway, TV, and film actor BD Wong. BD, a Gaynor alumni parent, stopped by to watch the students rehearse scenes from the upcoming spring musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in which BD played Linus on Broadway in 1999. He shared how watching the students brought back fond memories for him. He reminisced about his time performing in and directing the show in previous performances, and shared that his experience as Linus was what made him want to become a parent (his son was born soon after the show ended its run). He added that this emotional connection was what made him so enthusiastic to see the students perform and help them connect to the show like he did.
After performing two scenes from the musical, BD advised the students on what they might do better in each scene. For example, reminding them that in group scenes, the audience will be watching every single performer, so they should not think they can “get lost in the crowd” and not give each performance their all. The students then asked BD some prepared questions, such as how he memorizes lines, what it’s like to be a professional actor, and his experiences as an Asian actor. He enthusiastically answered, giving them some tricks, tips, and advice to how they could perform their best, but also reminded them to have fun exploring their characters and being on stage.
To end his time with the students, BD shared that he thinks the show was written to remind people of the joy of being children, and how, “When we live in a troubled world, which we do, how do we get through it? We get through it with life, which has so many little tiny things that can help you, so a show like this is supposed to reconnect the audience with that joy and that simple happiness, because life is hard.” The students hung on to his every word, and were thrilled to have him as a visitor. They ended the visit with a group photo featuring BD with the students and Gaynor’s musical directors!