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Welcome to New York

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Welcome to New York

The Theatre Department took a three-day trip to NYC full of great performances, workshops, and friends

I will admit that waking up at 2 a.m. on Friday, February 23 was rough, but it was also completely worth it when I arrived at Dominion High School and met up with my friends, who were just as excited as I was to be heading to the big city. The two buses left at 4 a.m. and were packed tight with PFHS, Dominion, and Stonebridge students.

Although I’ve been there many times, the bright lights and tall buildings of NYC never cease to amaze me, and by the time we arrived at Pearl Studios for our comedy workshop, we were all pretty jazzed. The workshop was a lot of fun because we practiced slapstick comedy, fake-slapping one another, and clapping to create the sound effect.

Right after that, we went to lunch and checked into the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, immediately heading out on the streets for some exploration of Times Square. It’s undeniable that the Disney shop can make any adult feel like a little kid again, and seeing the buildings where “Hamilton,” “Anastasia,” “Waitress,” and many other Broadway shows are performed made the entire department shriek with excitement.

That night, we saw the musical, “Once on This Island,” a story about a young girl who lives on an island with her family and becomes chosen by the gods to save a boy’s life. She falls in love with the boy, facing the consequences and joys of this forbidden relationship. This was by far my favorite show that we saw because the singing and dancing was absolutely mesmerizing, and Alex Newell, who played Unique Adams on “Glee” was in the show. When we stage-doored to get the actor’s signatures, Alex danced for the crowd, and it was such a privilege to get their signature on my playbill.

The set of the musical was actually pretty tiny, but beautiful, and it had running water and a sandy floor, which was placed so that some audience members could literally sit on the stage. At one point when a thunderstorm occurred during the show, the water which fell from the ceiling and the lighting effects were shocking and made the show come to life.

Saturday morning, we ate an early breakfast at the hotel and headed back to Pearl Studios for a dancing workshop with actual members of the “Hamilton” ensemble and main cast. They taught us an energetic dance to “My Shot,” and an ensemble dancer taught us a dance and song to “The Schuyler Sisters,” which each group then performed in front of one another. I was incredibly star-struck and doubt that I’ll ever forget the dances that we learned.

We also saw “The Play That Goes Wrong,” a hilarious show about the performance of a murder mystery that goes awry with the stage completely collapsing at times and all the actors being knocked unconscious by a broken door. This was something that I definitely want to see again because I’ve never laughed so hard during a show.

Later that day, we saw the “SpongeBob SquarePants Musical,” which was a major throwback to my childhood, though it wasn’t something that I could truly enjoy because of the young content of the show. The set was very colorful though, and Jai’len Christine Li Josey, who played Pearl, had an outstanding voice.

The next day, Max Clayton, an ensemble member in the musical “Hello, Dolly” taught us a sassy dance to the song “Hello, Dolly,” and even waved to us during the actual performance which we saw later that night. Bernadette Peters, who played Dolly, is 70-years-old, yet she seems half the age and had an incredible voice. The set of the show was fantastic, and you can be assured that when Dolly came out in her red ballgown to visit her friends at Harmonia Gardens, an extravagant restaurant, the crowd went insane. The song “Before the Parade Passes By” was really inspiring, and I encourage you to listen to the show’s entire soundtrack.

Overall, the trip to NYC was even better than I had expected, and I’m still stunned by the amazing singing and dancing we saw. I was very sad to head back home to Virginia on Sunday night, but am very thankful that I had such a great experience (and that I bought a boatload of souvenirs).

 

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