Madison Christian and Derek Henry, alumni of Holbrook High School, have continued their theatrical experience at Merrimack College. This November, they will be starring in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a murder mystery based on the final works of Charles Dickens. What makes this show truly unique is that it’s open-ended, leaving the audience to decide on the outcome. Christian and Henry both have principal roles in the production, each with their own solos and featured parts.
When Christian and Henry attended Holbrook schools, they were some of the most well-known performers in the music program. They equally value their experiences in college theater and high school theater, but they do notice some significant differences. Christian mentions that the amount of value placed on the program is the main difference between the two. She believes that “Theater in Holbrook, although many students are passionate about it, is often overlooked and seen as a club people do when they have nothing else.”
This is much different from the immense dedication and support shown by the directors, cast, crew, and faculty on Merrimack’s campus. Despite the differences between college and high school theater, it is agreed between both students that the greatest similarity is the “tight-knit community” that each program has to offer.
At Holbrook High School, Christian and Henry were able to influence the program greatly, and the program did the same for them. Through the direction of Mary Clougher and Paula Morgan, both Christian and Henry were able to experience leading roles, which they credit as the reason they were so prepared to take on the roles they were given in college.
Aside from doing theater, Christian and Henry have been enjoying other aspects of college life. Henry currently majors in secondary education and mathematics but plans to change it to a double major in psychology and theater arts. He has been working on becoming acclimated to living on his own and focusing primarily on his studies. Christian, who also majors in psychology and theater arts, has taken on everything her schedule will allow. She is in her school’s church choir, concert choir, and is secretary of the newly formed, all-female acapella group “Take Note.”
Christian says, “College is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I am incredibly grateful to be where I am today.” She loves it at Merrimack, and enjoys her life full of music and friends. Henry, on the other hand, has had a bit of a rocky start in college, but believes that theater is “one of the things in my life that helps me stay constant and remember a small part of who I am.”