Sunday, July 30, 2017

CT High School Musical Theatre Awards

CT High School Musical Theatre Awards
 



















For the past 9 years the Palace Theatre has hosted the CT High School Musical Theatre Awards. The awards show is in a similar style to the Tony Awards and honors high school students and adult contributors who participate in school musicals. This year the Awards featured 15 high schools total with 13 in Connecticut and 2 in Rhode Island. The show has a variety of categories including best hair/makeup design, best choreography, and best chorus. The most competitive and prestigious categories are Best Leading Actor/Actress and Best Overall Show. The actor and actress winners get to go to a Broadway Workshop in New York City with other winners from other states. I was lucky enough to be nominated this year for best leading actress for my role as Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical with Notre Dame High School. As a result, I was able to perform a solo amongst the many other unbelievably talented nominees. The entire event was an amazing thing to be apart of with incredible performances and great presenters. My favorite part was actually following the show when I was able to see my adjudication form and review the judges criticisms so I could work on different aspects of my performance. Overall, I believe the CHSMTAs are an experience all CT High School theatre students should have its a great example of the amazing artistic community we have in Connecticut.

- Sarah Kulaga
Senior at Lauralton Hall
Youth Board President

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Step Into The Land Of Lola: My Kinky Boots Experience


A Step Into The Land Of Lola: My Kinky Boots Experience


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     Hello everyone! Just a few weekends ago, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Kinky Boots on broadway- a show about a man, Charlie Price, trying to save his father’s shoe company, with a little unexpected help from Lola, a drag queen who changes Charlie’s life for the better, while spreading hope and pride to everyone she meets. went into the show completely unsure of what to expect; all I knew was that Brendon Urie, front man of Panic! At The Disco, was playing Charlie Price. I was expecting to enjoy the performance, but little did I know that it would actually become one of my absolute favorite shows!
     Everything about this show was phenomenal. The costumes, the fun and uplifting music, the amazing drag, and especially the dancing. My personal favorite bit of dancing in the show was during the song “Everybody Say Yeah”- the cast did flips and insane dancing on treadmills!
      The show overall left me absolutely speechless. There was not one moment in the show that was slow- throughout the entire performance I was completely sucked into the story. And to top off the phenomenal experience, Brendon Urie was fantastic, especially considering it was his first experience acting ever!
       If you're looking to see a broadway show this summer, this show will not disappoint!
Brendon Urie in Kinky Boots on Broadway

-Sydney Maher
Junior at Foran High School
Member of the NPT Youth Board


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Keep The Stage Lights Bright Every Night

Keep The Stage Lights Bright Every Night

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Hi everyone! This past April and May I was performing in my favorite show, In The Heights at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre! It was an amazing experience that I had never had before. I worked only with adults, there was a full band, and the run was four weekends long with shows every Thursday, Friday, two on Saturday, and then one Sunday. I had never performed a show for longer than two weekends, so keeping the show fresh for twenty shows was new for me. During the run I can up with some tips and tricks to help make every night feel like opening night!
  1. React to everything every night like it is the first time you're hearing it. Even though you've practiced it over and over and performed it over and over, live in the moment and enjoy every second, because it's over before you know it.
  2. Keep those dance movements sharp and precise! You'll feel like you really worked hard to do even some simpler moves, but to the audience it will always look clean and fun!
  3. Sing out! Always give it your all. Like the dance movements and keeping them sharp, singing out and giving 110% makes a gratifying show.
  4. Lastly, just have fun. Like I said before, enjoying every second is important. Live it up on that stage and the audience will live it up with you!

In The Heights was my dream show, and it has truly been a performance that has made me grow as a performer. May you all have a blast and live in the moment, whether it's on stage or just living life!

photo by Kevin McNair

- Jaden Bonfietti
Incoming sophomore at Foran High School
Member of the NPT Youth Board

Sunday, June 4, 2017

From Band Concert to Broadway

From Band Concert to Broadway


 Hello, everybody! A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Panic! At the Disco, an alternative band fronted by lead singer, Brendon Urie, an insanely talented individual.
      I can confidently say that this was the best concert I have ever been to. Panic! played 32 songs, featuring songs from their newest album, “Death of A Bachelor”, along with songs from older albums, and even a few covers. Each song was accompanied by insane backdrops, lighting, fire, and at times, even “stunts”! During “This is Gospel”, Urie played the piano ABOVE the stage on a rotating platform. The craziest part of the concert was when Urie, to get back to the stage from the piano, walked through the audience while singing the concert’s featured song, “Death of A Bachelor”, hugging fans and belting out whistle tones. It was insane. Something that really touched me was what occurred during the song Girls/Girls/Boys, a song empowering to the LGBT+ community. Before the show, colored hearts were passed out to be held over our flashlights during the song. The result was a beautiful sea of rainbow light, showing support to all of the LGBT+ members of the audience. To top the night off, the concert ended with their song,”Victorious”, showering the audience in silver confetti.
      Luckily, that isn't the only time I’m getting the opportunity to see Brendon this year. Starting May 26th, Urie will be playing lead role, Charlie Price, in Kinky Boots! I will be seeing him in June, so keep a look out for a post about the show!


- Sydney Maher
Sophomore at Foran High School
Member of the NPT Youth Board

Monday, May 22, 2017

3 Things I Learned From Being A Replacement In A Show

3 Things I Learned From Being A Replacement In A Show

     Recently, I was asked to replace an ensemble member for my school's production of Once Upon A Mattress. Being added halfway through rehearsals and 2 weeks before tech week, I ended up having to learn all choreography, blocking, and music in 2 days in order to jump in as soon as possible. While it was stressful, it gave me a new perspective of working in a show, specifically in these three aspects: 
     1. Hard work gets you places. I thoroughly believe the main reason I was chosen out of 25 other students was because, after not being cast initially, I worked 10 times harder in my other theatre classes. In the director's class, I participated more and was extra prompt with assignments; in the choregrapher's class, I upped my energy and stopped making excuses; and in showcase (the program for those who don't make it into the show), despite already being the overachiever, I worked even harder by helping the teacher and making several suggestions. After being told my dance audition was the main reason I wasn't cast, I went from having dance 0 times a week to 3, along with taking an acting class. I'll be the first to admit that in the previous show, I was not the most confident or social person, which did not go unnoticed by the teachers. However, I learned that teachers also notice when you work hard. While it is certainly safer to work hard from the beginning, it is never too late to change your reputation if necessary.
     2. You are here to play a part; that does not reflect you personally. I once had an improv teacher that said "people pay to see you play a part. They don't want or expect to see your normal self; they see enough of that in real life." My biggest obstacle as a performer in previous shows was worring too much about how people viewed me. However, replacing a male in the ensemble taught me that you are easily replaceable. Nobody expected me to live up to a certain standard (or be as manly as the guy I replaced); all I had to do was learn my part and make it my own, just like everyone else. If I didn't pick up on things the others already learned, I now knew that learning them could take a day if I wanted it to. I didn't have castmates or teachers to go through this with since they were busy with the rest of the cast; I had to rely solely on my own choices.
     3. Your castmates are always there to lend a hand. The first thing I did after being cast was go to the dance captain and other good dancers for help. However, the cast has its own work to do, and doesn't have the time to teach every number in 2 days. Stressing out because I knew it was my responsibility to learn and I couldn't keep relying on teachers, I hesitantly talked to castmates about it. I am usually very shy about talking to people I don't know very well, so I was surprised when everyone I approached was more than happy to explain things or teach me choreo or blocking. It became even clearer to me that an ensemble is a unified group, and once you open yourself up to others, it becomes easier to work with them. Being the new member made it easier to interact with people onstage since I was required to improvise with whoever I was put with. Although I won't always be the replacement, it helped me become more comfortable making decisions and interacting with others in future shows.
     It is not everyday that you get the opportunity to be in a cast if your audition wasn't where it should be. It was surreal but so beneficial to realize and learn from my mistakes and then get to fix them. However, things don't normally work out that way, and despite this miracle, it has become more important to me than ever to work hard so your audition is amazing - take classes, be the overachiever, and practice. Only you can give yourself the help you need to become a better performer.


- Julia Levine
Sophomore at Trumbull High School/Regional Center for the Arts
Co-Chair of the NPT Youth Board

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Top 4 Tips for Aspiring Actors

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I was recently in Trumbull High School's production of Seussical the Musical. It is such a fun show for people of all ages, and I had an amazing experience playing a Bird Girl. However, putting on an incredible show was not always easy or enjoyable. It came with a lot of hard work, but it made the end result even more gratifying. Here are some lessons I learned working on Seussical the past two months that I believe every person in theater can benefit from!

1) Make it your own: When you are cast as a certain part in a show, you may struggle to fully immerse yourself into that given character. This may lead you to watch YouTube videos of other productions in order to copy exactly how your character is supposed to act. However, your directors and producers would not have casted you if they didn't think you were capable of performing that role! Don't stress about fitting your character into a perfect mold. Instead, portray your own authentic interpretation of the character. Your directors will always be there to guide you and tell you what works/what doesn't.
2) Be open to criticism: Everyone makes mistakes, although it would be convenient if we didn't. Nobody gets everything right on the first try, not even famous award-winning actors and actresses. Try not to be offended or frustrated if your directors give you critiques on how to make your performance better. These corrections are not coming from a malicious place- your directors simply want to put on the best show possible. Listen to your directors, have a positive attitude, and try changing your performance based on their suggestions the next time around. This will not only please your directors, but you will feel rewarded when you improve.
3) Practice makes perfect: You have most likely heard this rule before, and it is pretty self-explanatory. No matter what you do in life, greatness cannot be achieved without hard work and dedication. Don't slack off, and encourage yourself to keep reviewing your material. This will have a very positive result in the end.
4) Have fun: As actors, we are constantly stressing about a variety of things- remembering our blocking, memorizing our lines, learning our music, and impressing both our directors/producers and our audiences. Juggling all of these different things may cause us to forget to simply enjoy ourselves! If you keep a positive mindset while onstage, your energy will be reflected to everyone around you. Arguably one of the most important parts of theater is to uplift people, and you won't fail to do so if you just have fun!

Promo video for Trumbull High School's production of Seussical


- Sarah Giaquinto
Junior at Trumbull High School
Member of the NPT Youth Board

Monday, February 27, 2017

Fame: the Musical

FAME: The Musical
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    Hello, everybody!  This is Jimi Wright, and boy has it been an exciting week!  My school’s production of “Fame: The Musical” has entered tech week as of today (February 27th), and we’re all very excited to put on an amazing show.  I’m playing Nick Piazza in the show.  Since November, the cast has worked its way through a vigorous schedule of rehearsals.  And now we’re in the final stage before we stand up and present a riveting and incredible show to you!  
    “Fame: The Musical” is a show set between the years of 1980-1984, following a group of young hopefuls who were accepted into the prestigious “Performing Arts School” in New York.  Featuring excellent comic relief and humor, the play follows these high schoolers as they make their way through an education in the arts and struggle to keep their academics to an acceptable standard, they face the relatable challenges endured by teens and adults alike.  Throughout the show, these young teens work to find themselves and fit in.  The show tackles many controversial issues such as homosexuality, drug use, dropouts, and teenage romance.  It’s an inspiring and naturally relatable show sure to keep the audience at the edge of their seat, if they’re not standing up and dancing with the music already.  
    The play will be held at Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, CT, on the dates of 3/3 (7:00 PM ET) and 3/4 (2:00 PM and 7:00 PM ET).  Tickets will cost either $10 or $12 at the door.  I guarantee it will be beyond worth the expense!
-James Wright
Sophomore at Foran High
Head of Board Recruitment Committee
(NPT Youth Board)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

REVIEW: Something Rotten

Something Rotten

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My favorite Shakespeare show is Something Rotten. No, Shakespeare did not actually write this show, but its comedic description of Shakespeare’s career was hilariously heretical, and made it an absolute must see for any lovers of theatre. The original cast included legendary Broadway stars Brian D’Arcy James as Nick Bottom and Christian Borle as William Shakespeare. Not only did this show spoof Shakespeare’s Hamlet perfectly, it also satirized the frivolity of musicals, making the audience not only laugh at the characters on stage, but also at their musically inclined selves. It was a show I enjoyed every aspect of this show from the opening number through the final bow. The irreverent jokes and silly storyline made this musical a truly feel good show. Sadly, the show has closed its Broadway doors in 2017, but fear not, the show has launched its 2017 national tour on January 10th. As both an avid Shakespeare and musical theatre fan, I highly recommend going to see it! 



- Sarah Kulaga
Senior at Lauralton Hall
Head of the NPT Youth Board Marketing Committee

Sunday, January 22, 2017

 Student-Run Productions

Student-run productions 

As the next school year rolls around, not only are thespians thinking about what school supplies they'll need, but they're also thinking about what monologue they should use for their audition. At Trumbull High School the fall plays start as soon as school starts. Trumbull High School has a tradition in which all fall productions are student run. The directors, producers and obviously the actors are all students. With the help from the Trumbull High School faculty, these shows are able to finally make it onto a stage. I had the great opportunity of directing "The Great Pie Robbery or, We Really Knead The Dough" This show is your classic hero versus village where the hero swoops in and saves the day. I decided to leave the spot light for the fall play and I try something new. Being a director was much harder than I expected. There was so much to be done in such a short period of time, it's a miracle that shows ever make it onto a stage! Being a director gave me such an appreciation for all the hard work that goes on backstage/prior to a show. There are so many things that a director needs to think about from characters to staging to costumes and emotions. I learned a lot from this experience such has as having to make decision on the spot that would better the group and the show and also how to communicate better with people and just just tell, but to show. This experience was probably the hardest experience of my time in the theatre world, but also the most rewarding. Being able to work on a show for so long and finally being able to see it happen is such a great feeling. This production was geared specifically toward children, so we took our show on the road and preformed at our local elementary schools. Seeing these kids faces just light up, made all the hard work and effort pay off. Something so simple as a group of high school students  being silly on stage and making those kids smile, will forever have an impact in my life. As an actress we don't preform for ourselves, we preform for others. At that moment all the stress and worries of putting this show together didn't matter anymore. What mattered was seeing those faces light up. As my senior year comes to a close, I can truly say directing was one of my favorite experiences. 

Andrea and the cast of The Great Pie Robbery... at their readthrough


-Andrea Alicea
Senior at Trumbull High School
President of the NPT Youth Board


Sunday, January 8, 2017

My View from All Sides of the Stage


My View from All Sides of the Stage
I’ve been a part of shows since the age of 5: acting, directing, stage managing, and playing in the pit. I’ve seen the stage from all sides, and each one holds its own place in my heart.
I began by acting, starting first with school shows in elementary school and then continuing on to community and local theatre now as a junior in high school. Acting gives me a rush of adrenaline like no other. Standing on stage in the blinding light is where I feel most at home: safe, yet exposed. As an actor, I have learned how to be part of a team, how to commit myself to a project, and how to be confident in myself. The stage is a place free of judgement, a place where self-expression and exploration is encouraged and fostered. I have found myself inside of the characters that I have played, and applied the emotion and experiences from my life to my acting. Being an actor has taught me to play, to experiment, and to understand humans and their inner battles and successes.
In seventh grade, I was in a show at my local acting studio when the stage manager asked if I would help assistant stage manage the younger kids’ production. It came to me as a surprise, for I had never considered being behind the scenes instead of onstage. But, I immediately agreed — I’m always looking for new challenges. Every day before the rehearsals for the show that I was in, I went to those of the younger kids’ and learned how to help them backstage, manage the props, and coordinate scenery shifts for the performances. I learned how to lead and take control in unpredictable situations. I improved my quick-thinking and problem solving, and was able to help a final product run smoothly and seamlessly.
So, in eighth grade, I knew that I wanted to lead again, but on a larger scale. I decided to direct a musical. After pitching the idea to my advisor in school, I coordinated auditions, cast the show, choreographed, musical directed, produced, and directed the full musical production of “13.” And two years later, I decided to direct again. This time was with elementary school students, and the show was “Peter Pan Jr.” Directing both of these shows allowed me to create. It  taught me how to extract the creative ideas that I formulated in my head and portray them to an audience; I was able to tell the story that I wanted to tell. I learned how to lead and work with different types of people, how to cooperate and advise, and how to illustrate my ideas in a work of art. And, it taught me the true meaning of appreciation; these actors and crew worked to create a vision that I desired to create. Their hard work and dedication was inspiring.
This past fall, I continued my journey when I decided to play cello in the pit for “A Christmas Carol.” It was a completely different experience than any of the others, but my experience acting and directing helped me immensely to be able to succeed. I was, once again, a part of a team, committed to creating a work of art, a message to the world. I was part of a single sound, unseen, but heard and felt. And, from this, I learned about being humble. I was part of a group of professional musicians, unseen in the pit, yet creating this music solely to inspire others. It was their gift to the world, and I am fortunate enough that it was able to become mine as well.
I’ve seen the stage from different angles, and they have all taught me the same thing in their own ways: be a team player, be a leader, be confident, be appreciative, be humble. Not just in theatre, but in all aspects of life. My experiences from all sides of the stage have shaped me as my own individual person, and I am eternally grateful to have been able to experience all of them. Try new things, put yourself out there, and remember that there is always more to learn.

The cast of Peter Pan, directed by Talia

-Talia Hankin
Junior at Newtown High School
NPT Youth Board member

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Great Pie Robbery...Or, We Really Knead the Dough

The Great Pie Robbery...Or, We Really Knead the Dough


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A few weeks ago Trumbull High students had the opportunity to perform The Great Pie Robbery...Or We Really Knead the Dough at elementary schools around the town. Students were able to share their love of theatre with hundreds of children in Trumbull. The show had lots of humor and food puns that made the children smile and giggle. The icing on top of the cake for this amazing play was that the entire show was student directed and produced by Andrea Alicea and Sydney Sirkin. They flawlessly put together an amazing show that was enjoyable for all ages. If anyone has the opportunity to see this fantastic play I strongly recommend it.

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The cast of The Great Pie Robbery performing at Frenchtown Elementary School

-Sophia Santos
Junior at Trumbull High School
NPT Youth Board Co-Chair

Sunday, June 12, 2016

REVIEW: Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots


    If you're looking for a high energy and  exciting show, your best bet would be to see Kinky Boots! This thrilling show has everything and more to make it the perfect experience to go and see. Between its outstanding lighting, choreography, acting, and music, you will never get bored. There’s constantly something new to see. There’s never a dull moment in this play!
    The plot of the story centers around a young man named Charlie Price, whose father unfortunately passed away and left him in charge of his father’s failing shoe company. He refuses to shut the company's doors and has to come up with an idea fast. After one fateful night in a dark alley, Charlie comes across Lola, a drag queen at the local night club.    
Lola's spectacular high heels break and he comes to realization that the heel cannot support the weight of a full-grown man, so he decides to change these shoes for the better.
    He turns his factory around; taking a production facility for old-school loafers and transforming it into a high-end boot factory for drag queens. The underlying theme constantly shown throughout the show is to express yourself and be true to who you are, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
    Six points that are constantly repeated throughout the show are…
  1. Pursue the truth
  2. Learn new things
  3. Accept yourself and accept others
  4. Let love shine
  5. Let pride be your guide.
  6. You can change the world when you change your mind


    This show is great for most audiences, from teens to adults! There’s some crude humor that may not be suitable for a younger audience, but regardless, it’s truly an awe-inspiring and amazing show!
(A teaser for this play can be found below.  Email viewers, just click the provided link.)
-Andrea Alicea 
Junior at Trumbull High School
Head of the NPT Youth Board Marketing Committee