Dunmoreans of the Month: Brian and Dawn McGurl

Dunmoreans of the Month - CREDIT RICH BANICK

© Rich Banick Photography

By Emily Fedor

It’s show time once again for members of the Dunmore High School Crimson Company. In the coming days, the cast and crew will present the final showings of their spring production “Beehive: The 60’s Musical.”

On Saturday, the curtain will fall for one last time marking the end of not just another successful show and season for this drama club, but also the end of an era.

Brian and Dawn McGurl took over as drama club directors all the way back in 2005.

“Beehive” will be the 32nd show produced under their leadership, and it will be their last.

“We were back and forth with it, but it’s time,” Dawn said.

“When I started I was 45 years old. I’m 60 now,” Brian said with a chuckle. “Climbing up ten foot ladders and climbing on the catwalk, that’s not as much fun as it used to be.”

“And lugging costumes,” Dawn chimed in. “It’s a lot of work.”

The choice to step back from the drama club was sparked by another big decision.

Brian has taught seventh grade geography at the Dunmore Middle School for more than 30 years. He has decided to retire at the end of this school year.

The district would have allowed the McGurls to stay on with the Crimson Company, but Brian said he believes the club should be led by a teacher.

“The part of this that is the best part is that you’re extending the classroom,” he said.

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© Rich Banick Photography

Brian and Dawn will look back on these years fondly, saying they’ve left everything they have to offer on the auditorium stage.

Over the last 14 years, the two have brought upon several big changes that have transformed this program into quite a showstopper.

When the McGurls first took over, the club only put on one play a year for only one week.

Now, each Crimson Company season features a straight play in the fall and a musical in the spring, and each production spans two weekends. Another big change to the schedule is the newly added Sunday matinee.

Brian and Dawn also helped secure funding to purchase new curtains, a new sound system, microphones and more. Their most recent project involved building a new sound booth in the back of the auditorium a major game changer for the club’s crew members.

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© Rich Banick Photography

“This is a sports town, but in the time that we’ve been here, we’ve made great strides in pushing the arts to the fore and making it as important as sports,” Dawn said. “I think that’s one of the things we’re most proud of.”

While they are excited to spend more time with family and friends and enjoying other aspects of life, Brian and Dawn say they will miss their days in the auditorium and people they shared those days with the people who have become like a second family to them.

“One of the great parts of this is the friendships we develop,” Brian said with a smile. “As our students get older, we have all these friends now.”

“I’m going to miss seeing that freshman come out, and just seeing the growth by the time they’re a senior. It’s so rewarding,” Dawn said. “The impact that this can have on a person’s life is just awesome.”

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© Rich Banick Photography

Of course, as one chapter comes to an end, another must begin.

During the next school year, the Crimson Company is set to present two shows — an original work in the fall and the Charles M. Schulz inspired musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in the spring.

As far as who will fill the McGurls’ shoes, someone has expressed interest in taking charge of the Crimson Company.

But as far as who that someone is, the Dunmorean is sworn to secrecy until the school board gives its final approval.

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“Beehive: The 60’s Musical” continues this week with performances on April 3, 4, 5 and 6 at 7:00 p.m. each evening inside the DHS Auditorium. Tickets will be $10 for adults; $8 for students/seniors, and $5 for children under five.

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