February 18, 2021

MSM Spotlight: Musical Theatre Student Max Kuenzer (BM ’22) in The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Feb 19, 20, and 21

Max Kuenzer is in his third year in MSM’s Musical Theatre program and performs the role of John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Feb 19-21).

He tells us about his experience filming the production, why he chose MSM, and how he’s finding opportunities for growth in our challenging times.

What is your role in the production?

Max: I play John Jasper, the devilish uncle of Edwin Drood and the choirmaster of Cloisterham Cathedral. He is very grandiose and dramatic and is utterly suspicious throughout. He has been absolutely fun to bring to life, because of how crazy he can be.

What was it like filming the production?

Max: It was definitely something I’ve never experienced before. This means there were plenty of times that were difficult and hard, but also things that were extremely fulfilling. I loved how much we had to work together, and how that ideal, that is widely practiced when putting up a show, became reinstated in such a huge way. We navigated a unique and new way of putting a musical together with what we had in our pockets. With this I had my ups and downs and concerns about how we could create this production, but with my trust in such an amazing team of directors, staff, and castmates I knew that we could come together and make something truly special.

Photos by Toby Winarto (BM '19, MM '21)

What’s your favorite part about the show?

Max: My favorite part about the show is how lively it is. It really depicts what theatre really is: performers coming together to take the audience on a journey to escape from everyday life. My absolute favorite moment in the show would have to be when the entire company is on stage, getting ready to tell you this incredibly hilarious and outrageous production of Charles Dickens’ “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” We laugh together like a family. We are all here in this music hall to focus on escaping to this outrageous new world. It isn’t a story we find funny, it’s about restoring the love and laughter that makes life worth living.

How has this school year been for you?

Max: This school year is definitely one to remember. It is so hard and challenging to adapt to what is happening around us, but that’s what we have to do. I don’t believe that this school year has only shown upsetting situations and hard obstacles, which it definitely has, but it revealed so many opportunities for me that I otherwise never would have had. I took a step back and really thought about the things I took for granted and reworked how I thought I should live my life. For that, I am beyond grateful. And I am beyond grateful for my amazing friends, classmates, family, and staff who were there to remind me of what’s so beautiful about our craft, and that life is what you make of the current moment.

I am beyond grateful for my amazing friends, classmates, family, and staff who were there to remind me of what’s so beautiful about our craft, and that life is what you make of the current moment.

BM '22, Musical Theatre

Why did you choose to attend MSM? What do you like best about it?

Max: First, to study musical theatre in New York City is a no brainer. But I also knew that the staff cared more about who we will become as performers above anything else. And I’m continually reminded of their passion and dedication to my development with every class, workshop, and rehearsal I go to. I just had a feeling that this school would give me more than any other college I had considered. I love the amount of music and art you find throughout this school. I love how many amazing and talented people roam these halls and how each and every one share their passion for music through their performances. I love the ongoing challenges that I encounter, as well, to continuously open my eyes and ears to new avenues of art and how it influences me in the work that I do too.

What projects are you working on now?

Max: I’m currently working on different ways to express my creativity through writing, speaking, and film. I don’t have anything that I’m outwardly working on, but I am striving to engulf myself in new ways of telling a story and seeing how I can integrate that into the rest of my life! I am very excited where these new aspects of creating art may go as my life continues!

What are your aspirations for the future?

Max: To keep telling stories in as many ways possible. I want to write, I want to be more active in film, I want to try film acting and directing, and I want to possibly start a podcast. I don’t want to stop creating and I don’t want to be held down in just one way of expressing myself. I want to try to express myself in as many different ways as possible, to not squander the opportunities I have here at school or with my peers, and I want to tell the world my story.

Max performs the role of John Jasper in MSMs production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood".

MSM Musical Theatre presents:
The Mystery of Edwin Drood

A Musical by Rupert Holmes

FEB 19, 20, & 21 | 7:30 PM EST

Evan Pappas, Director
Liza Gennaro, Choreographer
David Loud, Musical Director

Please note: advance registration is required to view the online production.