Audience members are greeted as the final graduating class of a fictional Brantwood High and transported by school bus to their “alma mater” for a reunion before the school’s closing for good. An unexpected event hurls the audience back in time to explore a century of adolescent life: first loves, growing pains, peer pressure and youthful experimentation through the ages. The musical includes 11 era-specific hot-topic storylines, one for each decade of the school’s history, plus a look into the future: a 1920s same-sex teacher/student affair; 1930s anti-Semitism; 1940s gender and racial segregation; a 1950s teen pregnancy; a 1960s LSD trip; a 1970s foray into amateur porn; a 1980s film-noir narcotics thriller; a 1990s talent show and the dreams of a transgendered student; a 2000s musical exploring a story from the school’s sordid past; a 2015 student’s attempt to save the school from developers; and a futuristic story set in a secret condo (that only the very curious and bold will find) centered on a young gay couple who move into “The Chalkboard Lofts” (formerly Brantwood High) and are haunted by the ghosts of Brantwood past..
Featuring a script and songs that span a century of different musical genres, Brantwood was performed by the 2015 graduating class of Sheridan’s renowned Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program. Rounding out the cast were four talented professionals portraying Brantwood’s teachers and principals. In choose-your-own-adventure style, spectators decided which storylines to follow as they wandered through classrooms and halls in a production featuring over 100 characters (portrayed by 42 actors), over 200 scenes, 40 musical numbers and unexpected dance sequences – with over 15 hours of scripted material unfolding simultaneously all over the building, all interwoven with clockwork precision. Adding to the mystery and excitement of the production were secret passage-ways, one-on-one encounters, “Easter Eggs” and rewards for solving multi-media riddles hidden in plain sight, all of which enticed the audience to return again and again, knowing they would see something new and different with each visit.”
Created, Written and Directed by
Mitchell Cushman and Julie Tepperman
Music & Lyrics
Bram Gielen, Anika Johnson & Britta Johnson
Brantwood was originally developed by Producer Michael Rubinoff and The Canadian Music Theatre Project, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Click here to read Julie Tepperman & Mitchell Cushman’s article in The Canadian Theatre Review’s issue on Brantwood and Immersive Theatre in Canada: Brantwood Canadian Theatre Review (Winter, 2018)
“Undoubtedly the most ambitious, adventurous, boldly staged show to hit this area in many years…Brantwood is an occasion for celebration.”Toronto StarRichard Ouzounian
“Immersive theatre on a scale you’re not likely to see professionally in Canada. Simply a marvel.”The Globe and MailJ. Kelly Nestruck
“Brantwood is an exciting, magical production, a triumph for all involved. Simply to have pulled it off is remarkable; to have done so this well, presenting such an engaging production, is sensational. One of my favourite theatrical memories of 2015.”NOW MagazineJon Kaplan
“What I saw and experienced is jaw dropping. Brantwood is a herculean achievement of logistics, design, direction, co-ordination and performance, created by Mitchell Cushman and Julie Tepperman – two of this city’s most creative theatre artists.”
Lynn Slotkin The Slotkin Letter / CIUT 89.5
"Unlike most theatregoing experiences, Brantwood forgoes the distance between actors and audience, the traditional theatre space, and the straightforward unfolding of a live performance. This is a trend that’s already proven popular in New York City and London, England, but it’s most likely the biggest, most ambitious example that the GTA has ever seen. And it’s a very exciting moment in Toronto theatre."The Musical Stage Co.Ted Rouse
Brantwood is a groundbreaking musical theatre experience – the largest production of immersive, site-specific musical theatre in Canadian history. The talents of student in both of Sheridan’s Music Theatre Performance and Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events programs were applauded for the masterful execution of such a vast production. Brantwood made further history by earning a Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Production in 2015.
2015 Dora Mavor Moore Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Production