Arts & Entertainment

Union Catholic's Makay Johnson Excels on Stage and on the Track

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Makay Johnson of Union Catholic has a leading role in the school play and school musical, and owns the school record in the 100-meter dash. Credits: Jim Lambert
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SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Whether he’s on the stage or at a track and field meet, Makay Johnson is seemingly always doing something remarkable with his feet.

Johnson, a senior at Union Catholic, has a unique combination of speed and performing arts skills.

Last spring, Johnson ran 10.76 in the 100-meter dash at the Union County Championships to shatter the school record, won the 100 at the South Jersey, Non-Public A Championships, and was second in the 100 at the state Non-Public A Championships.     

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Recently, Johnson landed the lead roles for UC’s Performing Arts Company in both the Fall Play and Spring Musical. In the Fall Play, “Peter And The Starcatcher,’’ Johnson plays Peter, and he will play John Jasper in the Spring Musical, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.’’   

“Peter And The Starcatcher,’’ with Mr. John Rotondo ’07 directing and Mrs. Maryann Carolan ’86 serving as the assistant director, will be presented on Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:00 p.m., and on Oct. 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Union Catholic auditorium. ‘“The Mystery of Edwin Drood’’ will be presented this spring.

Johnson, who lives in Roselle, said landing the lead roles in the school play and musical is very rewarding.

“It means a lot to me,’’ said Johnson. “I’ve working really hard and I prepared for the auditions hoping to get these parts, and to end my senior year at UC with these roles really means a lot to me. It’s very exciting.’’

Johnson, who has certainly come a long way in four years, wasn’t sure he would join UC’s Performing Arts Company until he attended one of their shows four year ago. 

 “I saw UC’s show Shrek at the Grammar School Show when I was in eighth grade and I just loved it,’’ said Johnson. “After that I knew I wanted to join PAC. I went to the Newark Boys Chorus School in fifth and sixth grade, but after I left there I didn’t do any signing or dancing or anything until I got to UC. I just love being on stage. I always get excited just being on the stage, even at rehearsal. It brings me so much energy and I’m just so happy up there.’’ 

Johnson, who serves as the Vice President on PAC’s Executive Board, is on the Tech Crew, and is a Student Ambassador, said Union Catholic gave him the chance to flourish.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunities that this school has provided,’’ said Johnson. “Union Catholic has really shaped me into a different person. I never thought that I would be so interested in the performing arts, and I never thought I’d be this good on the track. This school brought out the talents in me and I discovered myself and figured out what I want to do in the future. I’m so thankful for that.''    

Johnson said he will take his talents as far as he can.

“I’m not going to stop performing and running track,’’ said Johnson. “I plan to pursue my passions and see where it takes me.’’’

Mr. Rotondo said Johnson is naturally gifted and has a very promising future on the stage.

“Makay is definitely one of those people that has real natural raw talent,’’ said Mr. Rotondo. “He blew us away as freshman when he was cast with one of the lead roles in Hairspray. He has a bright future ahead of him and we’ve been very fortunate to help train him and help begin him on his journey.’’ 

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