Behind the Scenes of “Finnegan’s Farewell”

“Finnegan’s Farewell,” was an interactive show about an Irish funeral, performed Oct 27-29, 2022.


Photo by: Olivia Straus

From left to right, freshmen Sophia Straus as Bridget Gilboy, junior Lelah Moeller as Erin Finnegan-Gilboy and junior Ashley Ethridge as Maggie Finnegan.

by Haley Hausam, Reporter

When the guests of Finnegan’s Farewell arrived the night of the show, they weren’t quite sure what to expect – little did they know a night full of drama, laughter, sing-a-longs and Irish jigs was ahead of them. The intricate story is told by a cast of dedicated theater students – all beginning with a missing body.

Finnegan’s Farewell is an interactive improvision show, which for the most part, is unscripted. Set at Paddy Finnegan’s funeral. Students of the theatre program performed this dinner-theater experience on Oct. 27-29.

“Being there with a live audience was a lot better than rehearsals,” junior Lelah Moeller, who played Erin Finnegan, said. “Because actually being there with people who didn’t know what was going on and [the cast] knew what was next in our heads. It was fun watching them and interacting with them.”

Moeller’s favorite part about playing her character was that it “fit directly into her typecast,” which is when a person is assigned a role repeatedly based on their acting style or appearance.

Junior Andrew Crozier as Patrick Finnegan during dinner talking to other cast members and guests. (Photo by: Olivia Straus )

“I’ve been told that I play stubborn or uptight characters really well,” Moeller said. “And this is probably the most uptight, stubborn character I’ve ever played. So I milked it as much as I could. I made it a goal to be this mom who’s really proud of her daughter and thinks she’s the best, and I think I’m better than everybody [so] It just fed my ego, I got a laugh out of myself. I love playing characters like those.”

Despite Finnegan’s Farewell being the second improv show our school has put on, there were very few rehearsals. 

“Just the nature of improv shows is the fact that you can’t practice with a live audience,” junior Andrew Crozier, who played Patrick Finnegan, said. “When rehearsing you don’t have the opportunity to have these discussions with your audience members. And you could only talk back and forth for so long. So it was just kind of the struggle of being able to maintain a constant character, while also not driving yourself crazy.”

A huge part of Finnegan’s Farewell was the cast’s interaction with the audience. Sometimes, the audience was their parents or someone they knew.

“So during our second showing, I sat next to the parents of the priest, completely by accident,” Crozier said. “And I didn’t know it was his parents until they started talking about how they knew the priest. Then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s fun, let me go get him.’ So I grabbed Michael, [who played] the priest, and said, ‘These people keep saying they know you, but I’ve never heard of them before, can you talk to them?’ And they were trying to make him break character the whole time because they were thinking ‘It’s my son, Michael!’ But no, tonight he was the priest. And eventually, the priest says, ‘Oh, wait, I gotta go.’ And I say, ‘Wait, before you go, please bless my food.’ So I get down on one knee and I raise the plate of food above my head and he goes, ‘In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I bless this food.’ Then I bring the plate back down from over my head, and he starts to walk away and I noticed he’s chewing something and I looked down at my plate and my bread is missing.”

Micheal Webber as Father Seamus McMurphy (preist) introducing the body of Paddy Finnegan. (Photo by: Olivia Straus)

The theater department has already put on many shows this year and plans to put on many more. Check their website,, to see more of their upcoming productions. 

Right now our season has been packed, and rehearsal schedules have been very cramped,” Moeller said. “We haven’t had many rehearsals, we had only a few rehearsals for Finnegans, but we really adjusted and we were able to put on a good show. And I’m just really proud of what we’ve accomplished within these short periods for our shows. And I think it just proves that we’re just really capable.”