Arts in the News

Grease is the Word—and the Spring Musical—at Milton this Year

grease2More than 40 students are participating in Grease, the iconic musical set in a 1950s high school, which opens Thursday, May 18, in King Theatre. It’s a big production for Milton, says performing arts faculty member Eleza Moyer, who is directing the show.

“It’s a classic show,” Eleza says. “A lot of the students have seen the movie, and Grease Live! was on TV in the fall, which brought the show back. It’s a fun time period, with fun costumes. It appeals to a lot of people.”

Because Grease is set in a high school, the students are playing characters their own age, an opportunity not often available in musicals. Faculty member and choreographer Kelli Edwards and assistant choreographer Sophie Clivio (II) are teaching the company classic ‘50s dance routines that will be familiar to any fans of the classic film starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta.

Eshani Chakrabarti (I) plays Sandy and Spencer Evett (I) plays Danny; the show also stars Nick Govindan (I) as Kenickie, Dorsey Glew (II) as Rizzo, and Cheyenne Porcher (I) as Frenchie. Nick Gistis (I) is the assistant director.

Eshani has been in Milton productions, and has worked with Eleza, since she was in sixth grade. Having the musical in the spring allows freshman to participate—in the fall, the Class IV play takes their time—something Eshani loves.

“It’s a great way to meet people in every class. Some of the best times I’ve had at Milton have been in ensemble roles as a younger student,” she says. “A lot of the Grease cast have been together in shows for years. For the seniors, it’s a great way to end our run at Milton with such a fun show.”

Grease will run Thursday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 20, at 7 p.m.

Reserve free tickets online.

Milton Presents Yellow Face in Wigg Hall

Yellow-Face-1A cast of eight actors, many of whom play multiple characters, takes the stage in Wigg Hall for this spring’s 1212 Play, Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang.

The semi-autobiographical play tackles issues of race and assimilation and was written as a reaction to the real life casting of a white actor to play an Asian role in the hit musical Miss Saigon in 1990. In Yellow Face, Mr. Hwang’s character, played by Jonathan WuWong (II), accidentally casts a white actor, played by Ty Mohn (III) for an Asian role. He then proceeds to try to cover up his error in comedic fashion, although the humor explores complicated issues that are relevant today.

Performing arts department chair Peter Parisi, who is directing this spring’s 1212, says the play unfolds like a documentary with appearances by key cultural and political figures of the ‘90s. The play is also a part of the School’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration. There will be two “talk backs” with actors after Thursday’s and Friday’s show. Other events scheduled during the month include a Straus Dessert titled “Acting Asian American” on May 16 and an Asian Society workshop on tea culture led by Leo Jin (II) on May 22.

Yellow Face opens Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m., and shows on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 6, at 7 p.m.

Milton’s Artists and Writers Recognized for Outstanding Work

Thirty-eight Milton students received recognition—Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention—in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious arts awards for teenagers in the country. All Gold Key award work is submitted to the national scholastic competition, and those awards are announced in March.

Aditya Gandhi (II) won a Gold Key and Honorable Mention in poetry. “My interest in writing comes mostly from reading literature. I owe thanks to all my English teachers, but especially to Mr. Connolly. The two poems of mine that were recognized deal largely with identity and how it is shaped by culture and society.”


“Fish Guts” by Tony Xu (I)

Tony Xu (I) won a Gold Key award for his painting titled “Fish Guts.” “My interest in painting, specifically this type of realism painting, was inspired by visits to the fresh food markets in China as a kid, and also by my own interest in exploring grotesque and detailed images using oils. Brian Kim’s (Class of 2016) works last year were also an inspiration. I created this painting from a photograph of a real model that I made after purchasing a fish from the market.”

Caroline Massey (II) won Silver and Gold Keys for photography and a Silver Key in art. “I’ve taken photography at Milton since my sophomore year and fell in love with the medium. Working with photography gives me an appreciation for and fascination with people and light, and these two things ultimately became the main focus of my work. ‘Eleanor,’ my Gold Key photo, is a picture of my cousin Eleanor sitting in a pool with her head tilted upside down toward the camera. My cousin is my favorite subject to photograph—she’s always a very enthusiastic, cooperative and goofy model! When taking this photo, my main goal was to capture the light reflecting off the pool water as well as Eleanor’s compelling posture and beauty.”

Hannah Neri (II) won an Honorable Mention, Silver Key and Gold Key for her photography, as well. “My family likes to travel a lot, so photography is a great, portable way to document our trips and the different cultures, in a way that is unique to me. My photography is inspired by the people and places around me. All three recognized photographs were taken on trips—two of them when I was in Malawi visiting an orphan school and one of them in Bologna, Italy.”

Complete list of award winners
(GK: Gold Key; SK: Silver Key; HM: Honorable Mention)

John Albright (III): SK Poetry: Building Gaskets with My Father

John Albright (III): HM Poetry: How I Learned Politics

Keisha Baffour-Addo (I): SK Photography: Annabell’s Hand

Eloise Baker (II): SK Photography: Mannequin

Eloise Baker (II): SK Photography: Stormy Sunset

Mark Bodner (I): HM Digital Art: A Progression

Andrew Chan (II): HM Poetry: Caught in Amber

Andrew Chan (II): HM Poetry: Haikus for a Houston Suburb

Letitia Chan (I): GK Writing Portfolio

Claudia Chung (I): HM Drawing and Illustration: Unveiling

Claudia Chung (I): SK Drawing and Illustration: Flaws

Malia Chung (IV): GK Poetry: Waking

Emma Comrie (I): SK Photography: Sharon Springs 29

Emma Comrie (I): HM Photography: beach 6

Michelle Erdenesanaa (I): SK Poetry: Cattle Drive

Michelle Erdenesanaa (I): SK Poetry: Cold War Children

Serena Fernandopulle (III): HM Poetry: ICU

Aditya Gandhi (II): GK Poetry: A Hindu in Catholic School

Aditya Gandhi (II): HM Poetry: Migraine

Hannah Hachamovitch (II): GK Painting: Post-Thanksgiving

Kaja Hartwell (I): HM Photography: missing person: identity unknown

Katie Rose Hoffman (I): HM Poetry: Do you Wish to Save Your Work

Chloe Kim (I): GK Writing Portfolio

William Kim (III): SK Critical Essay: Technology Trap

Julia Lebovitz (I): SK Photography: Reflection

Max Li (II): SK Poetry: Gas Station

Caroline Magann (II): HM Digital Art: Sunrise Lake

Caroline Magann (II): SK Digital Art: Sunrise in an Open Room

Caroline Massey (I): SK Photography: Vogue

Caroline Massey (I): GK Photography: Eleanor

Edward Moreta Jr (II): GK Poetry: Surname X

Edward Moreta Jr (II): HM Poetry: Bridges

Edward Moreta Jr (II): GK Flash Fiction: Homes

Hannah Neri (II): GK Photography: Bologna

Hannah Neri (II): HM Photography: Her.

Hannah Neri (II): SK Photography: Jacaranda

Beatrice Ojuri (II): GK Poetry: NEVER MY HOME: A History of White America

Alexandra Paul (II): GK Poetry: On The Curb Outside of Al Punto

Benjamin Pratt (III): SK Poetry: Thoughts From Supermax

Benjamin Pratt (III): SK Poetry: That Blueblack Night

Lily Reposa (II): SK Photography: Unexpected Reflection

Joseph Schuster (I): HM Photography: The Board of Directors

Maxwell Seelig 7 GK Short Story: Faith For Tomorrow

Kailee Silver (II): HM Drawing and Illustration: Swim Meet

Caroline Strang (I): SK Poetry: Fourteenth Birthday

Caroline Strang (I): SK Poetry: Home

Caroline Strang (I): SK Poetry: Moon Scuffle

Nathan Strauss (I): SK Photography: Harbor Scene

Nathan Strauss (I): HM Photography: Rigging

Evita Thadhani (IV): HM Personal Essay/Memoir: Alive Again

Evita Thadhani (IV): HM Personal Essay/Memoir: A Voice for the Migrants

Alexandra Upton (II): GK Short Story: Loch Ness

Alexandra Upton (II): HM Short Story: Tickets

Abigail Walker (II): HM Poetry Elegy

Jessica Wang (II): SK Poetry: In the Kitchen with My Mother

Jessica Wang (II): GK Poetry: third street promenade in santa monica

Catherine Wise (I): HM Poetry: Other

Catherine Wise (I): SK Poetry: Bound

Catherine Wise (I): GK Poetry: Insides

Jonathan WuWong (II): HM Sculpture: Ghost

Jonathan WuWong (II): HM Photography: Sight Seeing

Haozhou Xu (I): GK Painting: Fish Guts

An Annual Highlight: The Winter Dance Concert

17-02_dance-rehearsals-01From hip-hop, jazz and tap, to a hybrid of modern dance and traditional Chinese fan dancing, student choreographers and dancers are preparing for this weekend’s Winter Dance Concert.

One of the most popular productions each year, the concert features 65 dancers in 15 dances, plus several students working as tech crew, stage managers, light and soundboard operators, and backstage crew.

One of the concert’s main draws is that it’s “quintessentially Milton,” involving trained dancers who take dance classes as part of their curriculum, alongside students who are dancing for the first time, says performing arts faculty member Kelli Edwards. “We have students for whom dance is really a priority, and then others who took a chance and auditioned,” Kelli says. “That combination makes it a richer experience for everybody.”

Student dancer and choreographer Annie Auguste (II) says the Dance Concert is a great way to build relationships with students across class years and to connect with adults on campus. “It’s also nice to be part of something that everyone in the community can appreciate and enjoy watching,” says Annie, who is choreographing the finale piece. “For the choreographers, it’s a really great leadership opportunity, and a great outlet for self-expression.”

The Winter Dance Concert opens in King Theatre on Thursday, March 2 at 7 p.m., followed by performances Friday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m.

Reserve tickets online.

This Weekend, Students Direct One-Acts

The student one-act plays are a much-anticipated performing arts event and are a venue for student directors and actors to showcase their talents in a broad array of plays and topics. This year there are three one-acts, completely directed, acted and tech-supported by students.

This is the second year that Henry Claudy (I) has directed a one act. This year he chose the play “Face Divided” by Edward Allan Baker. The drama takes place in a Providence emergency room, where a mother brings her injured young daughter, but questions arise about the injury when the father arrives. Henry says most of his Milton theater experiences focused on comedy, so he wanted to try something different.

“I love directing,” says Henry. “It gives you a lot of skills that can be applied to your life outside of theater. I love doing the auditions. It’s fun finding a scene for the actors and seeing how they choose to perform it. This play has some real challenging scenes, especially between the husband and wife.”

Alex Chen (II) is directing “English Made Simple” by David Ives.  “I chose the play because it is a funny, short play about the little details of English conversation.  A guy and a girl meet at a party and proceed to have a standard conversation.  However, as the play progresses, the audience is made aware of their true history.  Then there is a third character, who acts more like a teacher, teaching the audience about how English speech works and what generally meaningless small talk actually means.  I love how the play starts out like an instructional video teaching viewers how to chat with others and ends up with a couple with a newfound love for each other.”

Dorsey Glew (II) is directing “Yesterday” by Colin Campbell Clements. “I chose it because it was written in the 1920s, so I could play with the time period and with this story, the actors and director can play with the characters’ many different nuances.”

The One Acts begins in the Studio Theatre on Thursday, February 23, and Friday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 7 p.m.