Divine Melody Meets Ethereal Drama in Milton’s City of Angels
Each year, Milton’s performing arts and music departments collaborate on a challenge that becomes the ultimate crowd pleaser: a full-scale musical, created from start to finish in just two months. This year’s production, City of Angels, will not disappoint.
“The play includes a great script and a fun and challenging score,” says director and performing arts faculty member Kelli Edwards. “Everything is a double entendre—all very clever and funny.”
Premiering on Broadway in 1989, the play is set in Hollywood in the 1940s. The production unfolds as two stories happening simultaneously: a comedy revolving around the filmmaking industry of the time, centered on the screenwriter Stine; and the fictional film world of Stine’s creation—a detective drama and murder mystery.
The show’s cast comprises about 30 students—representatives from all four classes. Staging a musical “takes a village,” as Kelli puts it. Nearly every member of the performing arts and music faculty has a role in creating the magic, from music to choreography, film elements, lights and costumes.
Lovers' Quarrels Play Out in Wigg Hall
This weekend’s 1212 play, Lovers’ Quarrels, was Moliere’s first successful comedy, originally published in 1656. Fourteen Milton actors will perform the English translation by Richard Wilbur. The script is challenging: The entire play is written in rhyming couplets. Performing arts department chair and director, Peter Parisi, says that the play is a light and fun story, though with a complicated plot: A girl disguises her gender to obtain an inheritance, all while loving the boy who is due the inheritance and is courting her sister.
Hip-Hop, Ballet, Jazz and Modern
The tradition of Milton’s 1212 Plays began over 30 years ago in room 1212 of Warren Hall. The performances evolved from play readings to fully-staged productions under the direction of late faculty member Nina Seidenman. When Warren Hall was renovated, and room 1212 became an English classroom, the productions relocated to Wigg Hall. The space may have changed, but the philosophy is the same: intimate productions with small casts, minimal technical demands, and challenging material for both actors and audience.
Performances of Lovers’ Quarrels begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, May 2 and 3; and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.
Excitement has been building for weeks, and not just among the dancers. The Winter Dance Concert may be the biggest draw on campus all year. Through 15 dances created specifically for the program, 70 student dancers bring their energy and creativity to the stage for this year’s concert. Student choreographers begin work mid-autumn: preparing dance pieces, submitting proposals to director and dance teacher Kelli Edwards, auditioning and choosing dancers.
Milton Students Take You East of Easton
This year’s concert includes a mix of modern dance, hip-hop, ballet and jazz. The show will even feature a toy shop come to life. The first time the dancers perform their pieces on stage—during “tech week” leading up to the show—is a new experience. Student choreographer Grace Kernohan ’13 explains, “You don’t have the mirror you’re used to, the stage is shaped differently from the studio floor, and you now have an audience. That moment of surprise eventually comes, when the dance has been performed, and you say, ‘Wow, I really did all that.’”
The Dance Concert opens in King Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, and Friday, March 8. Curtains go up at 7 p.m. for the performance on Saturday, March 9.
In a series of one-acts, seven student actors take their audience down Route I-95 South to the southeastern suburbs of Boston, specifically the old industrial town of Taunton. Rick Dionne (III) and Oona Newman (I) are the student directors of this winter’s 1212 play, East of Easton, by local playwright William Donnelly.
“The stories are about everyday life and the way different people deal with realistic situations,” says Rick. “Some of the stories are very funny with lots of comedic elements, and other stories are more serious and low key. There are some overlapping characters and common settings that tie the pieces together.”
Watch a scene from the play.
Winter Play Brings Intrigue to the Stage
A student ensemble cast unspooled a classic who dunnit murder mystery in this year’s winter play, Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. Faculty director Dar Anastas says the 90-minute production offered some “light-hearted fun during these cold February nights.”
The complicated plot was filled with twists and turns, and the audience enjoyed a few surprises. Faculty member Shane Fuller designed the elaborate set and Swap-It items were well represented on the stage, from bookcase items to the sofa and desk. Oddly, the script only provided lyrics, not music, so faculty member Ted Whalen wrote original piano music to accompany the actors.
Speech Competitions Are a Team Effort
Watch the performance of Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.
Harry Wood (I) is performing at the top of his game in speech tournaments this year, but he is more interested in focusing the spotlight on the Speech Team as a whole. This winter, the team traveled to George Mason University for a nationally renowned tournament.
“We had a fantastic tournament as a team,” says Harry, who is one of the team captains. “We placed ninth out of 104 teams, which was huge. Almost everyone on the team ‘broke,’ meaning they moved on to the next round of their category.”
Harry came in first place in both the Humorous Interpretation event and the Original Oratory event. He finished second in Prose and was a semifinalist in Dramatic Interpretation. This achievement earned him one of five individual competitor awards, which recognize strong performances in four or more events.