Announcing the 2018-2019 Musical- BRIGHT STAR
A message from Performing Arts DirectoR John T. Assetla
I am excited to make two major announcements impacting the St. Joe’s Performing Arts Program: The musical and the Director/Choreographer.
First, I am happy to announce that the 2018-2019 St. Joseph Regional High School Musical will be “BRIGHT STAR” music, book and story by Steve Martin and music, lyrics and story by Edie Brickell. In addition to receiving 5 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical), 6 Drama Desk Award nominations (winning for Outstanding Music), and 8 Outer Critic Circle Awards nominations (winning for Best New Score and Best New Musical), “BRIGHT STAR” received many wonderful reviews.
I do not take choosing the St. Joe’s musical lightly. I read a number of scripts, go to Lincoln Center to view films of musicals and consider our current students to try to find the best fit for our program. A few of the things that lead me to “BRIGHT STAR”:
- It has a number of good male and female roles (many shows are either male heavy with no female roles or vice versa)
- Songs are performed by many different people with 11 different characters singing solos
- It has a good size ensemble that not only can be expanded to include more students, but the ensemble is in 12 different songs so they are on stage for much of the show
- It is a show that has heart - a touching story that can raise feelings and transform an audience
- The score contains a variety of songs - some beautiful, some moving, some with catchy tunes that can stay with you well after the show is over
- It’s not a show that has been done often (in fact we will be one of the first high schools anywhere to perform “BRIGHT STAR”)
- I think the show has the potential to wow the audience. Because of its short run on Broadway, not many people saw it (those who did loved it). Our audience will be experiencing the show fresh, and that’s pretty unique in high school theater.
- I think the cast will get very excited about the choice and be proud once again about the shows we do at St. Joe’s (as compared to overdone musicals at other high schools)
Below is a brief synopsis:
Inspired by a real event and featuring the Grammy-nominated score by Steven Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway’s Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past – and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, the story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion, beautiful melodies and powerfully moving performances. An uplifting theatrical journey that holds you tight in its grasp, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful..
I realize some of you may not be familiar with this show and I encourage you to go to Lincoln Center Library and view (for free) the DVD of the original Broadway production of "BRIGHT STAR." I am certain you will quickly fall in love with this show, just as I did.
Auditions for St. Joe’s Production of "BRIGHT STAR", are October 15th, 16th, and 17th . We are looking at changing audition times and format - additional information will be announced in the weeks ahead.
I am also excited to announce that Eric Sciotto will be joining the SJR Performing Arts Program as Director and Choreographer of the 2018-2019 SJR Musical. (Frank Ingrasciotta will continue to direct the SJR Drama in the spring and, along with choreographer Tammy Colucci, will continue to direct our grammar school musical in the fall.) A number of you have gotten to know Eric through BTW’s Summer Theater Camps the last two years where he was an instructor and choreographer and this past summer as director of BTW’s Performance Camp production of “FOOTLOOSE”. In addition to his extensive background, I was impressed with Eric’s organizational skills and how he works with students – very positive, very motivational with high energy and a hands on approach. The cast of “FOOTLOOSE” not only put on a great production but they learned a lot from Eric and grew as performers.
Below is Eric Sciotto’s bio:
Eric Sciotto has appeared in 12 Broadway shows, most recently starring as William Shakespeare in Something Rotten. Also on Broadway, Eric has performed in Annie Get Your Gun, Aida, Sweet Smell of Success, Sweet Charity, 42nd Street, Cry-Baby, A Chorus Line, Pal Joey, Rock of Ages , Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He is featured on 6 Original Broadway Cast Recordings. Eric toured the nation as Paul in A Chorus Line, Tommy Keeler in Annie Get Your Gun and Frank in Seven Brides… A few of his favorite regional credits are Nice Work If You Can Get It (Jimmy Winter), A Chorus Line (Zach), Footloose (Ren), Pirates of Penzance (Frederic), & Aida (Radames).
As a Director and Choreographer, Eric's recent credits include The Full Monty for Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, Into the Woods for Stage 23 Theatre Co., and AIDA for WCPSS/Broadway Series South. At Saddle River Day School, Bat Boy The Musical, The Foreigner, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Drop Dead, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Xanadu for which he won the 2015 Metro Award for Outstanding Choreography.
Jining Eric on the production team will be Musical Directors Ed Ginter and Rick Adams, Costumer Thomasina Hyland, Technical Directors Wendy Thau and Eric Fredericks, Make-up/Hair Designer Dee Spencer, and a few others who will round out the production team.
We will be announcing pre-audition workshops and I will be meeting with boys who have been part of past productions to discuss how we can get more SJR boys involved in this years show.
I am very excited about the opportunity we have with "BRIGHT STAR". I am convinced “BRIGHT STAR” will continue our tradition of having high quality, entertaining school musicals. I trust you will support this decision and will help me in making this the best musical ever on the St. Joe's stage. So as we get ready to start the school year, the SJR Performing Arts Program has a an exciting new show and a new director to go with the great returning talent and new performers who will be joining us. IT’S GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR!
Spread the word about auditions, and I look forward to seeing you there. – John
Thanks Davin Desantis '05 for SJR Theater's inside look at Miss Saigon!
sjr theater AWARDS
WHERE ARE THEY NOW??????
The two St. Joe’s students who shared the role of Tony in the St. Joe’s 2009 production of West Side Story are presently both working professionally in theater.
Joseph DePietro is an actor, singer, and 2009 SJR graduate. Upon graduating from St. Joe’s, he studied Musical Theatre at Ithaca College. Currently a Production Singer aboard the Queen Mary 2, Joseph has performed across the country and around the globe. Favorite roles include Jack in Into the Woods, Henrik in A Little Night Music, and Edward Rutledge in 1776. Outside of performing, Joseph has also worked as an Instructor at Broadway Theatre Workshops. For more, IG and Twitter: @josephdepietro and www.josephdepietro.com.
Brian Walters has been working as an actor since graduating Pace University's MT program. Recent shows include The Who's Tommy, Titanic, Parade, and multiple productions of the comedy Murder For Two. Brian is currently performing in a cabaret at Florida Studio Theatre. When home in NYC, he works with musical theater students at New York University and coaches other actors in his private studio.