The dedicated young actors of the middle school brought down the house on Feb. 6-7 during two nights of sold-out performances of the school musical, “Once on This Island” that were filled with family, friends and community members.
The one-act 1990 Broadway musical, written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and based on Rosa Guy’s 1985 novel “My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl,” is set on a Caribbean island. The story questions why humans have prejudiced thoughts.
Nearly the entire show is sung or features spoken dialogue specifically timed to the musical score. “With almost nonstop music, the cast did a fantastic job with the challenging musical content of this show,” said musical director John Patrick Murphy. “The ensemble cast members were also on stage for the entire show, which is a challenge for any actor to stay focused and in character for that length of time.”
The production showcased the talents of more than 80 students involved in every theatrical position from acting to ushering. “All of the students collaborated and became a theatrical family over the past months with one goal in mind – to tell the story,” said Murphy.
Cast members included Melanie Arma, Fiona Ashe, Connor Barnes, Jake Barsch, Alexandra Bertolini, Leah Bloom, Sarah Blumberg, Ally Bunde, Joseph Canas, Kayla Cappe, Nicholas Cicali, Hannah Christy, Benjamin Chovinick, Nicholas Damico, Jenna Donnelly, Gia Gremaux, Kelli Karlin, Anna Koch, Melissa Kinnear, Rachael Kuhlman, John LaFrancesca, Thomas Locke, Emily Maccarone, Emma Mendolia, Danielle Muroff, Nicole Muroff, Noelle Naccarato, Jen Nolet, Tyler O’Neill, Jenni Profera, Kaitlyn Rice, Kerri Smith, Katelyn Spina, Kieran Tohill, Marie Tohill, Joelle Tomossone, Halle Traney, Bridget Welch, Shannon Wilson and Meghan Walsh.
The set was designed and built by art teacher Toniann Mannino and students from her musical theater technology class, including Polina Arteev, Nicholas Carlino, Jacqueline Davis, Jarrett Duncovich,
Hunter Engrassia, Allison Epstein, Robert Hartenfels, Mikki Llamido,
Carla Maekelae, Sarah O’Neill, Michael Quast, Dana Rice, Christopher
Saitta, Cynthia Stasio, Ryan Thompson, Timothy Trapanese, Arthur Tuck
and Veronica VanDerlofske.
“We worked very hard on this set and it felt amazing to see it brought to life in the musical,” said Mannino.
Lauren DeCanio, Karina Gallagher, Caroline Meehan and Christopher Saitta served as stage managers, aided by the work of the stage crew of Nikki LaFrancesca, Gianna Perretta, Sarah Piccinini and Ryan Polidoro.
Sophie Bingham, Lily Bocamazo, Maddie Burhart, Olivia Flynn, Kylie Goess, Brooke Hommel, Maggie King, Bridget Launonen, Jolie Lenox, Alessandro Lundin, Maddy Maccarino, Courtney Morena, and Joan Simonetti served as ushers for the event.