Forty-five Years of Not Just High School Theater

May 15, 2012

Shorewood High School drama director Barb Gensler, stepping down after 45 years.
Credit John O'Hara

When the final curtain falls on the Shorewood High School Drama Department's production of "Aida" this weekend, it will mark the end of an era for the theater community there. Barbara Gensler, who has led the drama department for forty-five years, has announced this production will be her last "big show" at the school.

The show is expected to draw not just local school and community members, but some of the thousands of alumni whose lives Gensler has influenced over the years.

Lydia Hartlaub (center) stars in Shorewood High School's production of Elton John and Tim Rice's "Aida."
Credit Helene Gresser

Barb Gensler has had some health challenges in recent years, but they haven't diminished her commanding presence in the theater. Lake Effect's Mitch Teich spoke with Gensler, and some of the theater universe around her to find out why the theater program at Shorewood is anything but "just high school theater."