Jared Block directs MSD Drama’s spring musical “Imaginary: A New Musical”

Katrina White

Senior Jared Block directs spring musical, “Imaginary: A New Musical.” Photo by Isabel White

On March 5, 6 and 7, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas drama department put on the show “Imaginary: A New Musical.”  The show was a success, from the large turnout to the positive feedback from students, parents and faculty who attended. 

The show may not have turned out the way it did without the creative insight of director Jared Block, a senior who has been involved with the MSD drama program for all four years of his high school career. He has previously been seen on stage as Smee in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Peter Quince in “A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Jared Goldsteinbergshapirowitz in “The M Word,” Lazar Wolf in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Ira Pushkov in “Coney Island Christmas.” 

Drama teacher Melody Herzfeld selected Jared Block to direct the spring musical. Without knowing which show he would be directing, he accepted the challenge offered by his teacher. His dedication and passion for the arts stood out to Herzfeld, who felt he would be the perfect fit as director. 

“Jared has the skills of organization, leadership and artistic vision that a show of that size needed,” Herzfeld said. 

Block eagerly took on the role of director. As soon as he found out which musical he would be directing, he ran home to read the script and fell in love with the play instantly. He got to work right away and began planning the logistics for “Imaginary: A New Musical.” 

Staying late for rehearsal, keeping up with school work and directing a musical simultaneously proved to be a challenge. Although the process was stressful and tedious at times, he believes the hard work of both himself and the whole cast truly paid off. 

“For the week leading up to it, when I was polishing and perfecting things, I was definitely stressed,” Block said. “But as it began to shape up into its final product, I think I just became more nervous to share it with the entire world rather than stressed.”

Directing was a career that Block had considered for years prior to getting the position of director for “Imaginary: A New Musical.” The field of theatre has always caught his eye, but after getting first-hand director experience, he is confident in his decision to pursue a career in the arts after graduation.

“Directing has definitely solidified my decision to do this as a career if a college accepts me for it,” Block said. “There’s just no way I can see my life without theater in it now.” 

Not only did the show receive praise from the audience, but it was also recognized by Stuart Matthew Price, the man who wrote the music and lyrics for the show. Pierce traveled all the way from England to attended the first American production of his show on Friday, March 6 and had nothing but positive feedback for Block and the whole cast. At the end of the show, Price introduced himself and talked to the cast and crew, including Block, one-on-one.

Stuart Matthew Price travels to MSD to see MSD’s production of his play “Imaginary: A New Musical.” Photo provided by @douglasdrama

“After [the show], I told him how much this show changed my life,” Block said. “He told me he loved that I picked up on all his intentions but took my own spin on it. Coming from someone who is in the industry that I aspire to be in was unbelievable, and the fact that he had nothing but positive things to say earned my heart.”

The cast and crew of “Imaginary: A New Musical” were pleased with Block’s directing style and outlook. He was determined to make the show as spectacular as possible.

“Jared was an absolutely outstanding director,” senior Bailey Feuerman said. “He was beyond helpful in every aspect of the word, from working one-on-one with certain characters to making sure every prop and transition was just right for a scene.”

His passion for directing and dedication to the show was recognized and appreciated by Feuerman and many others who were involved in the production. Overall, the cast and crew are satisfied with how the show unfolded.

“Not only am I proud [of directing the show], but this is probably one of the proudest moments in my life so far,” Block said.

As a senior, “Imaginary: A New Musical” was Block’s final chance to shine in the MSD drama department. However, he does not plan for this to be his last time being involved with the arts. He will continue to chase his dreams of becoming a successful director in the theater industry after graduation.