Putting on a high school musical, with 14 production numbers, a cast that included more than 80 elementary school students, no budget, and only six weeks prep time, is not an undertaking for the faint of heart; but that is just what the creative team of , Jeanette Verdeur, and Christa Consadene undertook with their production of that came off triumphantly at in four shows this past weekend (March 23-25).
Starting with a version of “Circle of Life,” from The Lion King that featured Emily Bunting's (Rafiki) powerful alto, dancing zebras, meandering giraffes and a full-sized elephant puppet, the show wove through some of Broadways greatest triumphs, before ending with a rollicking rendition of Hairspray's “You Can't Stop the Beat” in which more than 150 children from the district, including a “divine” David Zell, joined together on stage to thunderous and lengthy applause.
In between, the show paced nicely through the dramatic: Olivia Marcozzi's poignant “Mama Who Bore Me,” from and a heartfelt “For Good,” from Wicked, with Callan O'Boyle, as Glinda, and a perfectly, greenly-made-up, Hannah Stevens as Elphaba.
To the adorable: seemingly every elementary school kid in the district gamboling through , “Food Glorious Food” (Oliver), and “Getting to Know You” (The King and I), which featured Cassie Brod's sweet soprano, and some pretty nifty fan dancing by Allyssa Millar.
Then there was the comic ruckus of Kayla Gaffney's, Sandy contrasting with David Zell's, Danny (“Summer Nights” from Grease), Sally Bowles' Emily Guihard (“Don't Tell Mama” from Cabaret) and Sam Dugan and Justin Henry's manic interpretation of “A Song That Goes Like This” from Spamalot.
But the big showstoppers were “Highlights From Jersey Boys,” in which Michael Cohen, Sean McLaughlin, David Zell, and Emeric Zeidman channeled the Four Seasons, right down to the signature falsetto, and a “Medley from Miss Saigon” in which Zac Schauerman, Saleem Carpenter, and Sally Race performed beautifully, and in which Becky Ferguson's, “I'd Give My Life For You,” actually eclipsed the helicopter effect.
Kudos to every person involved in a truly wondrous production, the pit orchestra was flawless; the chorus-kids danced up a storm; and the truly unsung heroes of the production, the crew—headed by student Stage Manager, Alyssa Schaefer—changed some truly massive sets with nary a flaw.
From top to bottom, the production was absolutely noteworthy...uh...notable.