Mr. Lueck, the most well-known psychology teacher here at Brookfield Central, has been teaching for 25 years. But along with teaching, he has had a very big part in the musicals at BC, having directed twenty-two musicals, with Music Man being the last musical he directed at BC. Mr. Lueck has also directed at First Stage and Sunset Playhouse.
Mr. Lueck’s interest in musical theater started when he was very young. He organized clown shows and choreographed parades, casting neighborhood children when he was 5 years old. Mr. Lueck’s interest in musicals and directing grew over time. At 11 years old, he was in his first musical, which was, coincidentally, Music Man at the Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove.
During his time at Sunset Playhouse, Mr. Lueck learned the technical aspects of theater, how to operate the lights, make sets and more. Mr. Lueck explained, “I grew up there [around musical theater].”Mr. Lueck later attended Brookfield Central High School. During his time as a student at BC, he was also in Chamber Choir.
Mr. Lueck’s most memorable musical, visually, was Hunchback of Notre Dame because of the lighting and set, which were vibrant. The bells of the cathedral particularly stood out as an impressive part of the set. His most memorable music-wise was Peter Pan and 42nd Street, an early broadway musical from the 1980s.
The first show Mr. Lueck did at BC was Guys and Dolls. At that time, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center was not built so the show was held in Milwaukee at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Anything Goes was the first musical that BC did at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, Mr. Lueck’s dog being a special guest on stage. Each musical had something that Mr. Lueck will remember.
The biggest takeaway from directing musicals at BC, “are the relationships with the kids,” Mr. Lueck explained; “you’re extending your job and getting to know kids more than just in the classroom and [get to know] their families and their struggles and successes and a lot of them stick around in your life beyond their school experience.” He believes that the relationship with the kids outside the classroom brings them together and he can see them grow as they become adults.
Each show is unique and, looking back, the themes and lessons from those shows are an important part of each production. For instance, the Music Man is a very American musical focusing on the lesson of community. The most memorable part of Music Man for Mr. Lueck was the humor and lightheartedness of the show.
On Saturday night’s show of Music Man, many alumni from Mr.Lueck’s past musicals came to see his last musical. There were alumni present from each musical he’s ever directed at BC. He felt overwhelmed but also described it as a very cool and touching moment. Mr. Lueck enjoyed the message behind the quartet in the musical. Separated they could not do as much, but when they were together they were able to create beautiful music, and that metaphor spoke to Mr. Lueck. His favorite song from Music Man was Lida Rose because of the interplay of Meriam and the quartet and the happy feelings around the song.
After numerous years directing musicals, Mr. Lueck‘s advice to students in theater is to involve creativity and performance in any job that they decide to do.
Overall, Mr. Lueck’s contribution to the BC theater has exceeded any expectations. Mr. Lueck is a funny and talented person, but, beyond that, a thoughtful individual, and he will be missed greatly as the director of Musicals at Brookfield Central High School.