‘On Our Way’
Montclair High’s School of Visual and Perfoming Arts Showcase 2018
Oct. 27, 28, Nov. 3,
Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 5, 3 p.m.
The Little Theater in the
George Innes Annex
141 Park St.
Tickets are at seatyourself.biz/montclairschoolarts, or at the box office one hour before the show.
By GWEN OREL
Some are tall.
Some are short.
All are growing. Some physically, all emotionally and intellectually.
That’s why Montclair High’s School of Visual and Performing Arts named its 2018 showcase “On Our Way.”
The students chose the name recently, collaboratively.
Members of SVPA do a lot of things together. Most who join the company stay for years, performing in many showcases, musicals, plays. During a singing rehearsal for the showcase, the teens take video on their cell phones, hug one another, dance.
Graduation is months away for some, years away for others. But it’s in the air: there’s a “yearbook inscription” quality to the way they talk about the show.
Director Dave Maglione writes in the director’s note in the program, “What we learn on our way will shape who we grow up to be. But does ‘growing up’ ever stop?”
Grady McLeod Bowman, choreographer, explained that this showcase includes a couple of dozen songs in two acts from different musicals that show the stages of growing up, and is made up of solos, duets and trios.
For Bowman, it’s amazing that Showcase 2018’s band and performers and designers are all students. Aside from the director, choreographer, and Technical Director Kenneth Cleerdin, everyone involved is a student.
For SVPA students, the showcase itself is a way to grow.
Lucian Zanes, who came to the high school after finishing Glenfield Middle School, said that he joined SVPA “to get
Emily Springer, a senior, is head stage manager for the first time after four years with SVPA. The showcase is challenging because there are many moving parts and the order isn’t set, unlike a musical with a script and score not an existing script that can be leased.
“We just switched the order yesterday,” Bowman said.
Junior Khari Jenkins said that the show, which has only been in rehearsal for six weeks, has moved along very quickly. “If you don’t stay on top of it it becomes overwhelming,” she said.“But that’s part of the fun of it.”
It’s also a challenge for her to sing a higher part than her alto voice would usually sing, in a trio from the 2016 Broadway musical “Amélie,” based on the 2001 French film.
Bowman said, “she sounds great.”
Valentino Musumeci, in his fourth and final year of SVPA, said “It’s new being the oldest.” Now, he’s the one to look up to, the person who sets a standard. During rehearsal, when the chorus didn’t know the words, he shouted them out.
He sings the solo “You Will Be Found” from the 2016 Broadway show “Dear Evan Hansen.”
The song is about “those moments where you’re looking around, and feel like ‘I don’t know what’s going on.’ And then to have that realization that somebody’s going to be able to pick me up, look around and know that there are people to support me and there always are.” He said that growing up “isn’t all smiles and rainbows,” he said.
READY TO FLY
Musumeci is in the throes of auditioning for college theater programs. His applications require a video and a visit.
Springer and senior Eli Kline both want to do theater in college but not necessarily act.
But it’s not only seniors considering their future.
Zanes, who said he is 5’3 or 5’4, sings the song “Getting Tall” from the 1982 Broadway musical “Nine” — based on the 1963 film “8 1/2” — “I think I’m singing the song because I’m getting taller,” he said. But despite its name, “Getting Tall” isn’t just about growing physically. “It’s about the parts of growing up,” he said, his voice cracking, and laughed.
He particularly enjoys Musumeci’s solo, saying, “I was found when I came here. I feel like I’m in a family now.”
And he said that when he watches the seniors in “Friendship,” from the musical “Anything Goes,” “You can tell they are actually friends.”
Kline said his solo, “Middle of a Moment,” from the 2010 musical “James and the Giant
Peach,” based on the 1961 book by Roald Dahl, is about someone who’s stuck, and wants to find a way out. Many of the songs come from Broadway musicals about growing, and with children in them, he pointed out.
In addition to stage managing, Springer also plays trumpet in the band. She said that when she listens to the songs from her place in the band, she relates to them. “We’re currently going through what the show’s about, growing up and getting ready to move on to another chapter.”
Being able to relate isn’t only for their peers in the audience, but for everyone, she said.
“Through the music, the audience will be able to say, ‘I remember a time when I felt like that.’”