"Carnival!" Is a High School Hit

East Islip High School’s music department wowed crowds with the school’s colorful 2012 production of “Carnival!” during three splendid performances at the Rydzeski Hall auditorium on March 29, 30 and 31.

“This year’s production was exciting, fun, challenging and rewarding for all of us,” said music teacher Kelly Gelfer, who was in charge of scenic design and set construction. “It was a fun show and a great weekend for East Islip and our music and arts departments,” concurred Board of Education President Glenn Reed.

Featuring music and lyrics by Bob Merrill, “Carnival!” originally debuted in 1961 at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., before making its way to Broadway later that year. Dubbed “America's Magical Musical,” this tale of love and loss among the performers in a traveling circus was based on an Academy Award-winning 1953 film “Lili” (the movie was itself adapted from Paul Gallico’s 1950 short story “The Man Who Hated People”). Featuring the hit song “Love Makes the World Go 'Round,” the Broadway production ran for 719 performances and won two 1962 Tony Awards.

East Islip’s principal cast for “Carnival!” consisted of Courtney Kenyon as Lili Daurier, Raymond O’Connor as Paul Berthalet, Sean Kaiser as Marco the Magnificent, Jordan Guadugno as the Incomparable Rosalie, Thomas Bauer as Jacquot, Brandon Missig as B.F. Schlegel, Steven Biondi as Grobert, Becki Walter as Princess Olga, Angela Pizzuto as Gladys Zuwicki, Samantha Connolly as Gloria Zuwicki and Megan Monaghan as Greta Zuwicki.

Additional cast members included Daniel Casey, Nicholas Caron, Rory Buckley, Michael Danz and Sam Sharkey as Roustabouts; Kyle Basso as Dr. Wilhelm Glass; Janine Alto, Michelle Zimms and Andrew Sciallo as Stilt Walkers; Michelle Arp, Julie Bonessi, Taylour Brass and Sarah Burns as Baton Twirlers; Scott Cole and Erin Geraghty as Jugglers; Kayleigh Cook and Abigail Dell’Orto as Clowns; Emily DeMaio, Bridget Kavanagh, Samantha Sampollo and Jessica Visconte as Card Girls; Maria Guadugno, Alexandra Konnerth, Brianna Ormiston and Alyssa Stephens as Gypsies; Corinna Pico as Gymnast/Trapeze Artist; Jaycie Snider as Gymnast; Paige Epstein as Animal Trainer; Joseph Janover as Souvenir Salesman; Rachael Maretzky as Tattooed Lady; Savannah Perez as Wardrobe Mistress; Daniel Hayden as Strong Man and “Lulu” Kenyon as Rover.
Bethany Affelt, the musical’s director, vocal director and choreographer, said, “We are beaming with pride when we think of all the students involved in the cast, pit and crew. They spent so many hours working diligently on the production and their efforts did not go unnoticed – ‘Carnival!’ was a hit!”

The musical’s staff – also including pit orchestra director Susan Rydzeski, assistant to the directors Christopher Neske and scenic painter Daniel Figliozzi – acknowledged the efforts of not only the students who participated, but all those who provided support for the successful production. “We would like to thank the parents, faculty, administration and custodial staff for helping to make our dreams of musical theater possible,” said Rydzeski.

Photos by Glenn Reed