Broadway Training Center’s Imaginary A Spectacle For The Senses

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Broadway Training Center’s Imaginary A Spectacle For The Senses

Trent Snyder plays the Headmaster in the production Imaginary.

Trent Snyder plays the Headmaster in the production Imaginary.

Trent Snyder plays the Headmaster in the production Imaginary.

Trent Snyder plays the Headmaster in the production Imaginary.

Lily Williams-Ameen

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Swirling colors illuminate the backdrop. Bubbles of all sizes float amongst the audience. Disco music fills the room, creating a playful atmosphere. On stage, different people in vibrant costumes begin dancing.  

Imaginary is a new musical written by Timothy Knapman and Stewart Matthew Price. It was produced by the National Youth Music Theater in London and first performed August 9, 2017, at The Other Palace in the West End. It was recently performed for the first time in the U.S, produced by Broadway Training Center. Imaginary premiered in the U.S. on May 3, 2019 at the Irvington Town Hall Theater.

Imaginary is a play about imagination, growing up, and friendship. In the play, Sam (the main character) learns that his friend Milo is imaginary, and Milo is sent to Imaginary Land where he is taught that his human will forget about him. Meanwhile,  students going to a new school team up to fight their headmaster and teachers who are ‘upgrading’ students to make them do better on tests by taking away their imagination. The Imaginary Friends (IFs) and the students team up to stop him.

The writers of the play, Timothy Knapman and Stewart Matthew Price, visited the U.S. premiere and answered some questions from the cast and audience. They were very impressed with how Broadway Training Center put on the production as well as the changes they made. The original play was made on a tight budget, so the producers used projections. BTC collaborated with a company in California to make new projections that will soon be available for licensing. In “Imaginary Land”, the directors also added bubble machines to go with the party mood.  

Audience members loved the show. Sixth grader Isla Baird, a performer herself, appreciated the performance. “It was very creative and original, and I was surprised when we found out Milo was imaginary. The special effects were really cool, especially the bubbles.”

Anabelle Shotton played teacher Frau Rammstein who was played by Ella Thomas in the West End production. “The actors first found out what characters they would play three weeks into the rehearsal,” said Shotton.   “I wanted Frau’s character to be funny with a bold attitude and a German accent to match her personality.”

Trent Snyder, who played the Headmaster, had a backstory for his limp that related to his old Imaginary Friend. He is healed when he meets her again. This was something that was not performed in the UK production.

This was truly a unique play for many reasons, the most important being the role the actors had in its development.  “We could build it ourselves, didn’t have any standards to live up to, and we could really create the play as our own,” commented Shotton.

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