Summit, NJ - Jacob Lesser and Sophia Blanchard, both from Long Hill Township and freshmen at Watchung Hills Regional High School, were among the 90 students selected to perform in a very special - and surprise - production of the Broadway Musical CHICAGO at The Ambassador Theatre on Tuesday March 21, 2017. Both members of Pixie Dust Players, a youth theatre company, they were 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).
Sophia and Jacob made their ‘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. Betsy Moreland, Sophia’s mom said “It was a night never to be forgotten...and a wonderful way to support the importance of the arts for our children!”
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 spring Jacob and Sophia performed in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at WHRHS, and were seen together this past fall in THE WEDDING SINGER with Stony Hill Players and last year in Central Middle School’s SEUSSICAL JR. As members of Pixie Dust Players, Sophia Blanchard has appeared in The Summit Playhouse’s productions of HUNDRED DRESSES, THE JUNGLE BOOK, and FOOTLOOSE and Jacob performed in YES, VIRGINIA, played Fagin in the pilot production of OLIVER JR, and will be appearing in this summer’s pilot production of CINDERELLA. Jacob will also be appearing in The Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory Main-stage show NEW VOICES 2017.
Pixie Dust Players’ founder, Lindsay Maron, was asked by iTheatrics to bring her youth group to New York City for this special night. iTheatrics adapts Broadway musicals into junior versions for performances by elementary, middle and high school aged children. Lindsay and Pixie Dust have piloted multiple MTI Broadway Junior and KIDs titles for iTheatrics and worked with Stephen Schwartz to create the adaptation CHILDREN OF EDEN, JR. She also worked closely with iTheatrics on the adaptation of OLIVER! JR and presented the world premieres of both of these productions at The Summit Playhouse. This coming summer, Lindsay will be producing and directing a new youth adaptation of R&H’s CINDERELLA for iTheatrics.
The mission of Pixie Dust Players is to share the magic of theatre with performers and audiences alike. They strive to produce high quality productions performed solely by children and teenagers for audiences of all ages. Pixie Dust had 23 performers at CHICAGO: Sophia Blanchard, Sydney Brenton, Karenna Breslow, Ben Errig, John Ertman, Katherine Ertman, Maya Fortgang, Dexter Kennedy, Jacob Lesser, Charlotte MacMurray, Cameron Matheson, Mia Montero, Jack Nissen, Will Nissen, Natalie Pereira, Alex Pereira, Grace Petersen, Nina Randazzo, Darby Ryden, Ally Salort, Wasif Sami, Maya Slaughter, and Charlotte Wesson.
CHICAGO, playing at the Ambassador Theatre, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary on Broadway and is the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. The show is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.
With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, CHICAGO is directed by Tony winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Tony winner Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse.
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