CLARK, NJ-- “The show must go on!” Anyone who knows theater is familiar with this phrase. There are few people more keenly aware of this saying than Arthur L. Johnson’s Drama Teacher, Peter Nevargic.
“The kids had been practicing since October on Chicago,” Nevargic explained, “and all of a sudden, the coronavirus crisis was about to shut us down.”
Unwilling to allow this to happen, Nevargic spoke with the administration, and they came up with a plan to produce the play, as best they could, on Saturday March 14, 2020.
The administrators and Nevargic used every social media outlet to contact the school community. “‘The show must go on!’ became something of a rallying cry,” said Nevargic, “we had no idea how many people would show up.”
As the curtain began to open on the first act, many parents, teachers and members of the community sat at a safe distance from each other in the auditorium awaiting the Spring musical. Despite some technical difficulties and occasional forgotten lines, the audience cheered at the production which was two weeks from the actual unveiling date. Everyone agreed, they did an amazing job.
Senior Mia DeSantis played the leading role of Roxie Hart, who is having an affair with Fred Casely, played by Tyler Ashley. When Casely tries to break it off, Hart kills him. Roxie tries unsuccessfully to get her hapless husband Amos, played by Matthew Snedeker, to take the fall, but Roxie winds up in jail awaiting trial, where the majority of the play takes place.
Roxie friends warden “Mama” Morton, played by Bianca Hernandez, who connects Roxie to a sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn, played by Aaron Bloom. Roxie sets her sights on reviving her vaudeville career. Center stage is her rivalry with co-star Hannah Vargas, who plays Velma Kelly.
“The small group of parents and staff that saw the dress rehearsal had nothing to say but accolades for it,” said Roni Heaning, mother of Shannon Heaning who played “Annie” and was in the ensemble.
“It was a very last minute thing and I don't think it could've turned out any better,” said DeSantis. “We worked on Chicago every day for four months and there was way too much time and talent that risked to go unseen. The cast and I had worried that our parents would never get the chance to see the show, so performing it on Saturday was truly a gift for us and them.”
Nevargic and cast alike, hope that the “show will go on” sometime before the end of the school year, so the ending will have to wait.
“Although we don't know what the future holds, we're keeping our hopes high and plan to come back better than ever,” he said.
ROXIE HART MIA DESANTIS
VELMA KELLY HANNAH VARGAS
BILLY FLYNN AARON BLOOM
AMOS HART MATTHEW SNEDEKER
MATRON “MAMA” MORTON BIANCA HERNANDEZ
MARY SUNSHINE BRANDON SIMOES
FRED CASELY/EMCEE TYLER ASHLEY
JUNE/KITTY/ENSEMBLE EMILY WOODS
HUNYAK/ENSEMBLE CAILEIGH O’DONNELL
ANNIE/ENSEMBLE SHANNON HEANING
LIZ /ENSEMBLE BELLA MANTO
MONA/ENSEMBLE GIANNA ORTIZ
SGT. FOGARTY/ENSEMBLE BRANDON CLARK
REPORTER/JUROR/ENSEMBLE LEO DESANTIS
HARRISON/ENSEMBLE JOSH MOREIRA
JUDGE/ENSEMBLE GABE SNEDEKER
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