CITIZEN OF THE YEAR 2023: LARRY BRAUN
Presented by Dr. Michael Barnes, Superintendent
Part of what makes the Mayfield Schools so successful is the involvement, commitment and volunteer effort by so many of our district residents.
Since 1977, the Mayfield City School District has honored individuals who have shown exemplary support for the students and staff of Mayfield City Schools through their tireless work….AND talent.
Shrek The musical, The Little Mermaid, The Addams Family, Grease, Tarzan, A Chorus Line, Rent, Matilda, Chicago, and Ragtime are just a few of the musicals Larry Braun has brought to life as a Director and Choreographer on the Mayfield High School stage. In total, Larry has directed, choreographed or done both in 24 Mayfield High School musicals over the last 26 years with hundreds, if not nearly a thousand Mayfield students. But it isn’t just the quantity of his talent, it’s his heart in it.
What Larry Braun has given our students are moments and memories on the stage, moments and memories they will carry on with them for the rest of their lives. For those of us who have performed on our high school stage, like inductee Ashley Norelle Simpson, the hours of work with the cast and crew and the performance under the lights creates a bond among them as strong if not stronger than any team sport. The opening curtain is the first pitch. The stage is the field, and the finale is the buzzer beater of musical theater. And for 26 years, the echoes of applause and ovation is because of one man – Larry Braun.
Larry’s involvement at Mayfield began in 1994, choreographing for The Limited Edition Show Choir. The director of the music program at the time, Steve Glosser, had previously been Larry’s middle school music teacher in Twinsburg. Following graduation, Steve asked Larry to come assist with the program at Mayfield High School. Gradually, Larry assumed more of the responsibility with the program and in 2010, he began directing the musicals at Mayfield, while still creating choreography. Since then, the program has grown immensely, currently putting on two shows per year. Under his direction, the musical program began participating in Playhouse Square’s “Dazzle Awards”, which essentially are the Tony Awards for high school musicals. Since 2018, Mayfield has been recognized earning multiple nominations each year, taking home many wins across diverse categories and sending top performers to New York City to compete nationally. This past spring, Mayfield won “Best Musical” for “Ragtime: School Edition.” Larry is the first to say that the work he does at Mayfield is certainly not a one man show. He credits the success of the musical program to his creative partners and colleagues, Mr. Brian Fancher, Mr. Vinny Polowy, Ms. Jennifer Walker, Mr. Michael McHargh, Mrs. Rebecca Sabree, the incredibly supportive administration at Mayfield City Schools, and the Vocal Music Booster parents. Together, this team has been able to give students at Mayfield a program which supports individuality, encourages creativity, and promotes inclusivity.
In his earlier years, Larry enjoyed performing in many community theater productions around the Greater Cleveland Area alongside his musical wife, Vanessa. They just celebrated their 20th anniversary this past June. Music has always been a part of their story, and it is no surprise that their two daughters, Natalie, a Mayfield senior, and Sydney, a Mayfield sophomore, also have a passion for music. Afterall, they grew up with front row seats to every show.
Larry Braun aspired to make Mayfield a place where football players and cheerleaders could shine on the field one night and on the stage the next. Well, Mayfield…mission accomplished.
I am honored to announce our 45th Citizen of the Year – Mr. Larry Braun - the man behind our Mayfield curtain.
Larry on behalf of the Mayfield City Schools, we name you our 2023 Citizen of the Year. We are grateful for you - grateful for your dedication to education, your Mayfield community and our Mayfield Wildcats.
Congratulations, Larry. Thank you for all you have given to the “Mayfield Family.”