Arts & Entertainment

West Orange High School Alumni Starring in “Amazing Grace” on Broadway

West Orange High School Alumni Starring in “Amazing Grace” on Broadway Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Mike Evariste, former West Orange resident and alumnus of Hazel, Roosevelt, and West Orange High Schools, is starring in the Ensemble Cast of “Amazing Grace,” opening on Broadway on July 16.

“Amazing Grace” tells the story of John Newton, an 18th Century Englishman who worked in his family business – the slave trade, and how he ultimately became an abolitionist preacher and penned the iconic spiritual, “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

Evariste and his family lived in West Orange until 2001, moving back to Florida after completing his sophomore year at West Orange High School.

Sign Up for E-News

“I loved my high school experience,” said Evariste.

“During that time in my life I was very focused on being a trumpet player,” he said. “When I was 10 years old I was accepted into the Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program. I went to Juilliard for five years up until my family made the move to Boca Raton, Florida.”

“I was in the marching band my freshman year when we took First Place at our National Championships for our division,” said Evariste. “Ironically, our theme was “Les Miserables” and I also made my Broadway debut in "Les Miserables" as Montparnasse. I was in the chorus, jazz band, concert band and performed in the WOHS 2000 Spring Musical, “Evita,” and in the 2001 production of “Anything Goes.” 

Evariste’s passion for theater grew, and in addition to “Les Miserables,” he has appeared on Broadway in “South Pacific,” “Hair,” “Disgraced,” and now in the original musical, “Amazing Grace.” Tours included “Fame,” “Rent,” and “The Book of Mormon.”

Evariste said he still has “a ton of family and friends” who live in West Orange. He currently resides in South Harlem with his wife Tiffany several blocks north of Central Park North.

When asked what advice he could offer to aspiring actors, Evariste said, “Continue to train. Take voice lessons and utilize vocal coaches to work on material for auditions/ callbacks. Take dance and acting classes.”

He added, “Whatever song you sing at auditions, make sure it's a song you absolutely love to sing. Every song in your book should be a song you know inside and out. If you are truly connected to the song and truly genuine, then that's what will make you stand out and at least, hopefully, get you a callback. Getting a callback is what you aim for. The rest is out of your control.”

“Be nice and respectful to everyone you work with in this business,” he added. “It's a very small circle and everyone knows everyone. You never know who you're talking to.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Lola's Buy 1 Regular Soft Serve Cone or Cup, Get One 50% Off With Coupon

May 26, 2018

FAIRFIELD, NJ - Lola's Ice Cream and Sweet Shoppe is offering Buy One Regular Soft Serve Cone or Cup, Get One 50% Off with coupon. Lola's Sprinkles are always FREE! 

The coupon expires on June 18, 2018, and coupon offers cannot be combined. All guests must present this coupon to redeem.

Lola's Ice Cream and Sweet Shoppe is located at 244 Route 46 East ...

Free Flavors Soft Serve Ice Cream (Jr. Cup or Cone) With Coupon

Fairfield, NJ - Flavors Homemade Ice Cream is offering a FREE soft serve ice cream (jr. cup or cone) when you spend $10 or more with coupon.

Flavors Homemade Is located at 653 Rt 46 West (1.98 mi) in Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 next to Jose Tejas.

*Homemade Ice Cream

*Italian Ice


*Fresh waffles 

*ice ...

Philip Roth's Childhood Home Still Stands in Newark

May 26, 2018

NEWARK, NJ — The house at 81 Summit Avenue in Newark's Weequahic neighborhood is otherwise unremarkable expect for a sign attached to its faux flagstone facade noting that the home has been designated a historic site—the childhood home of celebrated author Philip Roth, who died Tuesday at the age of 85.

There were no crowds outside the home to pay homage to ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, May 28, 10:00 AM

Township Hall, West Orange

2018 Memorial Day Observance

Community Calendar


Mon, May 28, 8:00 PM

West Orange High School, West Orange

Board of Education Meeting

Community Calendar Education


Tue, May 29

Essex County

Primary – Vote by Mail deadline

Clarifying Points Made in Article About WOHS Air Quality Issues

May 14, 2018

Dear Editor, 

I am the advisor to West Orange High School's student newspaper, The Pioneer. My Editor-in-Chief, Anna Favetta, is the student who researched the topic and wrote the article bringing this issue to light. She worked on the article for 4 months before she had adequate and proper information for it to go to print. 

An article on the BOE presentation of the ...

What It Means to Me - A Baseball Story

We are all in amazement of the dedication and talent of our young West Orange athletes. One of the goals of our youth sports programs is to develop our players so they are ready for high school and are prepared for success at that next level of play. Throughout the course of the year we will be featuring some of our talented young athletes and coaches. This week we have the perspective of ...

West Orange On Three!

The spring season is in full swing, and we are excited to debut this new column focusing on all things youth sports!  We thought we would kick things off with an overview of the programs West Orange has to offer, and then go behind the scenes to see what makes youth sports tick.

West Orange Police Athletic League (PAL) and Mountain Top League (MTL), together with the West Orange ...

Summer 2018 Events at the West Orange Public Library

May 15, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Beginning in June, the West Orange Public Library will offer the following events for area residents of all ages:

Dinosaurs’ Rock!                                             

Monday, June 11, 4:00 p.m.

Field Station Dinosaur visits with the ...

10-Year-Old Cancer Patient Receives Donation from Randolph Hockey Family

May 21, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real-life battles off the ice, there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the members of the Randolph varsity hockey team, when they came together to ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...