SUMMIT, NJ - Chatham Township resident Grace Petersen, an 8th grader at Chatham Middle School, was among the 90 students selected to perform in a very special - and surprise - production of the Broadway Musical Chicago at The Ambassador Theatre on March 21.
As a member of Pixie Dust Players, a youth theatre company, Petersen was invited to join the students of NYC’s iTheatrics' High School All Stars to help celebrate the 90th birthday of the beloved musical composer John Kander and to announce the creation of Chicago (High School Edition).
Petersen made her ‘Broadway debut’ in the company of the great legends, Chita Rivera, Joel Grey, James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth and many more, who all made surprise appearances. Just before the final number, Bebe Neuwirth, a Tony winner for her performance as the original Velma Kelly in the revival, introduced the 90 students who performed “All That Jazz” with the Broadway cast.
With only two rehearsals, these talented teens were able to learn the original Fosse choreography and worked with the Broadway Dance Captain and Music Director. The students flooded the aisles and the stage to dance with the cast members.
In order to keep the announcement of the release of Chicago (High School Edition) and its special Birthday guests a surprise, parents and the teens were not allowed to talk about the event -- much to the disappointment of family and friends. The secrecy added to the excitement surrounding this momentous occasion.
Lindsay Maron said, “It’s not every day you get to make 23 dreams come true! When I received the email from iTheatrics, I knew this was not an opportunity that comes around often. I’m so glad we were able to make it work and keep the secret! Getting to watch the cast and guest performers rehearse for the big performance was an extra special treat.”
This February, Petersen played Maria in Chatham Middle School’s production of the Sound of Music. She has played many roles in Elefante Music’s yearly spring musical productions, including Little Red in Into the Woods, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, The Cat in the Hat in Seussical, and Ugly in Honk. As a member of the Pixie Dust Players, Petersen has appeared in The Summit Playhouse’s productions of Winnie the Pooh; Shrek,; Yes, Virginia, Footloose, and the World Premiere of Children of Eden Jr., performing for Stephen Schwartz.
Tina Petersen, Grace’s mom “thinks it is amazing that at the age of only 13, Grace has already performed for both the legendary composers Stephen Schwartz and John Kander and had her Broadway debut.”