MONTVILLE, NJ - A piece of the great musical theater from New York City came to Montville Township High School on April 26 when the MTHS Drama Club held their Broadway Night, where students performed hit songs from a variety of Broadway shows.
There were 23 student performers in this production, most of whom did solo performances, with only one duet this year.
“Broadway Night is special because it gives a lot of students in Drama Club the chance to shine as an individual,” said senior Carly Benson, who got to sing “Safer” from First Date. “The plays and musicals performed throughout the year demonstrate how talented all of the students are as a whole while they share the stage. Broadway Night (especially this past one that included many solos) allows each student to express their talent in their own style. Each student is able to perform a style of theater that they feel expresses them the best, and even students that are not fully engulfed in the world of theater can appreciate Broadway Night. Many of the audience members did not even realize how much talent there is among the students of Montville Township High School until they saw them perform in Broadway Night.”
This is the fifth year that Broadway Night has been held to showcase the talents of drama students, which is usually produced twice, or even three times a year, often in the beginning of the year and in the spring.
"The purpose of Broadway Night was originally to showcase individual student talent in contrast to the musicals but for the past few years, it serves a dual purpose," said Kristen Markowski, Drama Club advisor, and music/vocal director for all Broadway Night productions. "We donate part of the proceeds to the organization sponsored during the month they are held. For example, October is Breast Cancer Awareness, and April is Autism Awareness. The Drama Club is also fully self-funded so anything we raise during this performance goes towards our future performances; either this season or looking forward to next year."
Markowski is the choral director at Montville Township High School. She has been with the school district for five years, and teaches and conducts the Concert Choir, Women's Ensemble, Men's Ensemble, and auditioned Chamber Choir. She also teaches Advanced Music Theory and Broadway Workshop. Furthermore, she serves as vocal director for the high school musicals and business manager for all productions.
Also guiding the talent of Broadway Night was Scott Baird, a co-advisor for the Drama Club, as well as this school year's fall production and spring musical director, and another business manager of the Drama Club.
For this production, students chose from a wide variety of Broadway classics, such as Cabaret, Edges, Aida, Something Rotten, Movin' Out, Hamilton, Anastasia, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. A piano and drum set were provided for each song.
Some performers wore blue in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. Overall, upon seeing over 200 spectators fill the auditorium, their joys could be easily heard through their voices.
"I'm ecstatic to perform here on stage tonight," said 17-year-old senior Mason Hohil, who performed the piano and harmonica as he sang "Piano Man" from Movin’ Out. "Broadway Night is a good form to display what vocal talents you have. I originally looked at the Drama Club as intimidating, but now it's really a nourishing environment. Everyone here has taught me to be persistent and to keep on practicing."
At the end of the show, drama students raised about $1,400 with Broadway Night. Out of that amount, $250 is going to Autism Awareness and the is rest going back to the MTHS Drama Club.
“Broadway Night has always been fun because it gives us the opportunity to sing more personalized songs outside of the full-scale productions, but this last Broadway Night felt special,” said 18-year-old senior Jason Joo. “Broadway Night successfully bridges the gap between casual and professional; as performers our individual music taste and style shine through and it gives everyone a chance to have their star moment. The audience in this past Broadway Night was amazing. They were supportive and really gave the performers, me included, something to bounce off of when we were singing, and I think that that’s a super integral part of any performance.”
In the video clip below, Jessica Blake sings “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret.
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