Spring Musical Revue: A Conversation with Guest Director Sam Tower


Eric Li '24

A scene from Broadway Our Way.

Sophia Hammond, Writer


With spring at Westtown comes many beautiful things, such as volleyball, picnics, sports games, Spring Fling, and so on. As students begin to play outside and new living things begin to sprout and populate our campus, the same thing happens in the arts department – student artists are indeed putting on their own play on stage and making fresh, exciting ideas come to life in this last, playful stretch of the school year.  

A musical revue is a collection of musical numbers handpicked from a variety of shows and performed one after the other. A theater performing a revue will sometimes include brief, vignette-type scenes in between songs to better connect the variety of musical numbers. This year, the arts department is going one step further by having the cast largely devise and write these interweaving scenes. I sat down with guest director Sam Tower to better understand her vision and inspiration for the spring musical revue Broadway Our Way which opened on May 4th, 2023. Teacher Sam is currently a co-owner of the production company First Planet and describes herself as a freelance director working out of the Philadelphia area.

Teacher Sam first discussed her background in theater in which she described how pursuing acting in college actually led her to discover a deeper passion for directing:

“I became really enamored with self-producing and making independent performances, and I just got way more inspired in that direction than auditioning for traditional regional theater productions,” Teacher Sam said.

 When asked what made her gravitate toward taking on this project, Teacher Sam uplifted the clearness committee of students who volunteered to take on the task of creating this musical alongside her.

 “I appreciate how much say students have in their education here and how ready they are to be part of that. I was like, ‘Hey, I wanna work with those students who have a desire to be involved,’” Teacher Sam said.

Regarding the creation of the revue itself, Teacher Sam said that she had a general goal of introducing students both in the cast and in the audience to a multitude of genres and styles of musical theater. Moreover, she adds that she tried to curate a repertoire of pieces that did not commit to a singular mood but rather had “dips like rises and falls in energy.” Teacher Sam emphasized the importance of the project being a largely student-driven process as well: 

“I didn’t have a story in mind. I wanted to leave space for the students to create that,” Teacher Sam said.  

When asked why she decided to include heavier content in the musical, ranging from global warming to themes of self harm, Teacher Sam responded bluntly, “[Be]cause it’s relevant to our lives.” She added onto this saying that most of the songs were suggested by students either by way of the clearness committee or by a school-wide suggestion box. 

“You know those things are thoughts that I have and young people have and I think they should be able to express them through a creative outlet…It’s not gonna heal the world or the individual but it will create empathy, you know, and also opens up room,” Teacher Sam said. 

The students are not the only ones doing the learning through making this revue. When asked about the experimental approach of having students devise song transitions, Teacher Sam uplifted how the process inspired her as an artist as well, saying that it was a testament to “how limitless their creativity can be when they’re in a space that’s primed for a trusting creative process.”