By Ryan Channer ’19 and Fanny Zhao ’19
Much of the marvel surrounding school plays stems from the familiarity with the people performing on the stage and the wonder of seeing them manifest into characters. Broadway Yesterday and Today: A Journey Through Time, performed on April 26 and 27, showcased the talents of our students and staff and transformed well known Broadway shows into a montage of scenes that created an air splendor.
The play, created and woven together by Ms. Bommarito, was a phenomenal spectacle that completely engrossed its audience. The uniqueness of the concept was chosen by students to allow for as much inclusion as possible.
The production’s line-up consisted of 20 different scenes from popular Broadway shows, including, Hamilton, Annie, Wicked, Miss Saigon, and West Side Story, to name a few. The show adapted a frenzy of different moods from act to act. Each scene was characteristically unique because of the actors’ delivery of their lines, and choreography.
At the beginning of every scene, Ms. Liz Bommarito, the director and producer of the play, was backstage reading the synopsis of each scene, as the spotlight was on a student who walked across the stage holding a large card, displaying the name of the scene and the musical it was from.
Actors brought their scripts to life in a way that displayed their own creativity and passion in their delivery of various roles. For example, in Hamilton, Ainon Hia Kaizol ’18, Salenna Weiner ’18 and Rachel Goryachkovskiy ’18, performed “Aaron Burr, Sir” and “My Shot,” which led to a chorus of applause and cheers when curtains closed.
Or in the hilarious rendition of Matthew Tadros’ ’19, “Luck Be A Lady” from Guys and Dolls, where the curtains opened and three male students in dresses and wigs, “drag ladies,” as Betty Wu ’18, a dancer and singer called them, were dancing behind Tadros.
“Thank goodness I went to the bathroom before because I was very surprised,” said Tadros.
The original female dancers came out and pushed them off the stage only for them to reappear. One of them even leaned in and tried to kiss Tadros on the cheek, making many laugh, including the audience and those performing on stage.
“That scene was hilarious,” said Jia Ci Deng ’19, who was part of the audience. “It really showed how close the whole class is as a whole because they’re so comfortable with each other.”
The students, however, were not the only ones delivering incredible performances, the teachers definitely didn’t miss out on the fun. Several teachers participated in the play, and this year, as all the others, they did not disappoint.
We received a sweet serenade from Mr. Max Pinsky, who sang and played acoustic guitar alongside Savlat Sanatov ’19 on piano, during his interpretation of “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin in the first act.
Dr. Ernest Pysher was a part of the second act, in addition to being a pivotal part of the plays production, and played his part of Dr. Seldon from Carousel so emotively that it demanded your attention when he spoke.
We also can’t forget when Mr. Albert Peterson walked onto the stage to perform “When Words Fail” from Shrek, a scene that either had the audience laughing and relating with a tongue-tied Shrek that can seem to find the words to say to Princess Fiona.
Some of the most emotional moments included Ms. Bommarito, because as all the participants know, she was the backbone of the entire show. With all of them agreeing that no matter what happened they all knew they could rely on her, from staying late to making sure that everything ran smoothly, it would not have been possible without her.
In one of the scenes, Josephine Mammoliti ’18, who has been working with Ms. Bommarito since her freshman year, was able to perform “For Good” from Wicked as a tribute to their friendship together, a rather remarkable moment since Ms. Bommarito has never performed before.
“When Josephine asked me to perform with her I just couldn’t say no,” said Ms. Bommarito. “I was scared out of my wits… I couldn’t speak. The second night was a lot easier because I was a little more confident.”
The conclusion of the show, included two surprises on both nights, one happening on the first night of the show, a song dedicated to Mr. Kolotkin, the Coordinator of Student Affairs and a close friend of Ms. Bommarito, “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman. The second where all the students participating sat her down on a chair and surprised her with two bouquets of flowers and sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” as they sat around her and used their phone flashlights to wave them in the air. It was so emotional that Ms. Bommarito cried while they were singing.
“It was very sweet,” said Ms. Bommarito. “I was touched and moved and I didn’t expect it at all…The flowers were just gorgeous.”
There were flowers, there were laughs, and there were tears. Most prevalent were the bonds that had formed and the memories that everyone in the play will carry with them. In a night to remember, Ms. Bommarito, the staff and her cast took us not only on a journey through time, but one of friendship and love that formed through their time together.