Second semester got off to a musical start, as South Lakes pyramid students proudly presented the choral department’s 14th annual Broadway Night. The theme this year was Revivals, and the show featured songs from popular revivals including Chicago, The Last Five Years, The Color Purple, Guys & Dolls, and several more. The show consisted of two acts, and sophomore Matthew Guerber wrote the script, entertaining the audience in between acts with his witty jokes and segues. It is safe to say that the production was a success from start to finish. After being unable to direct the show last year, choir director Rita Gigliotti returned to her role as director of Broadway Night this year.
“I missed a lot while I was away so it kind of felt like home again,” she expressed.
With over 120 students participating from various South Lakes pyramid schools, the production created a sense of family for those onstage and off. It was especially inspiring to see younger students immersed in the magic of musical theater. The elementary school cast started off the show on a fun note with “Magic to Do” from Pippin. In addition, the middle school girls did a wonderful job with “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun, executing the difficult choreography and harmonies. These two numbers sparked a sense of hope for the next generation of talented performers.
A majority of the acts were performed by solely South Lakes students, and each and every one of them was phenomenal. There are a few, however that particularly stand out from the rest. First off, students Nathalie Batres Cortez, Hannah Carter, and Lindsey Hirshfeld performed “On the Willows” from Godspell and despite the somber mood of the song, the audience was given the gift of tight three way harmonies, sung with seemingly effortless grace. Another notable number was “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind” from Spring Awakening. The 2015 revival of this musical was truly special due to its incorporation of American Sign Language, adding a layer to the story of the complexity of teenagehood. Both the singers, Camille Denny and Alex Desai, and ASL lyric interpreters, Andrea Coca and Daniel Schewe, captured the raw emotion and intensity of the song. The next outstanding number was a solo performed by senior Grace Queen. With admirable courage and incredible talent, she performed “Summer in Ohio” from The Last Five Years, making hers one of two solo numbers of the evening. Grace found learning the song difficult at first and at times she felt really nervous, but that didn’t stop her from performing.
“Once I got on stage it felt like something left my body and all of my nerves went away, so I don’t really remember what it was like while I was singing,” she explained.
Following the short intermission, Russell Cardona took on the role of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, beginning with “If I Were a Rich Man”. He portrayed the character extremely well, making the most of his eccentric personality. The number then transitioned into “To Life” from the same musical, now including the rest of the high school and middle school boys. The enthusiasm of the performers shone through this song. Another memorable number was “If Mama Was Married” from Gypsy, performed by Margarita Gamarnik and Maddy Sprague. Both girls brought their own personalities to their characters, and together their beautiful voices and entertaining expressions made for a great performance. Next, a group performed “They Both Reached For the Gun” from Chicago. This number was absolutely fantastic overall, but emphasis can be placed on soloist Aidan Smith’s charming portrayal of his character and the well-orchestrated choreography on Danielle Yakubisin’s part. The last number before the finale was “What About Love” from The Color Purple. The harmonies and touching message of this song warmed the hearts of those in the audience.
The final number, “Why We Tell the Story” from Once on this Island, was performed by the entire cast. The song encapsulated the purpose behind Broadway Night and performing as a whole, spreading a message of joy, love, and unity.
“I am extremely proud and always inspired by the joy, enthusiasm, dedication, and just the magic that they bring to the show every year, and that’s what really makes it exciting and enticing year after year to come back,” Ms. G. shared.
As seniors said goodbye to their final Broadway Night and others looked forward to performing next year, everyone shares a sense of pride in what they accomplished and look back on the memories fondly. Congratulations to all of the performers, and thank you for sharing your talent with the community.