This fall’s 1212 play is Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, a dialogue-rich play set entirely in the lobby of a Manhattan apartment building. Directed by Performing Arts Department faculty member Darlene Anastas, the show features four main characters whose lives intertwine during the investigation of a crime.
“Lonergan is a Tony-award winning playwright who is known for his dialogue and how he integrates ideas and action into his dialogue,” Anastas said. “It’s a very naturally flowing play. It’s fitting to set it in the lobby of a residential building in Manhattan, where people from all walks of life are passing by. It deals with interpersonal interactions, some social issues with policing, and the personal issues of the ‘lobby hero’ whose life is on display for the whole show.”
It is the first 1212 play for Anastas, who has taught at Milton since 1981—she has always worked on the larger, main-stage productions. “It was exciting to me to work in depth with just a few students and to explore the issues the play has, which are very relevant today.”
On the main stage at King Theatre for the first time, the fan favorite sketch-comedy show Wicked Sketchy will feature funny sketches and musical numbers written and performed by students.
First performed in 2014, Wicked Sketchy began as a 1212 play—a Milton tradition named for the former room in Warren Hall where pared-down, intimate performances were staged—giving students an opportunity to flex their comedy muscles. Last fall, the show moved to an outdoor tent to accommodate audience restrictions during the pandemic; for the first time, the show had a stepped-up production, said director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Peter Parisi.
“We were able to see the impact that lighting and sound design had on the show, and it just raised the stakes,” Parisi said. “It’s certainly evolved.”
This year, the show has about a dozen sketches, including some musical numbers. Students brought their ideas for sketches to the group, and together they fleshed out the ideas. Writing comedy is hard work, particularly for a show with a broad audience of students and adults.
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The magic of musicals returns to King Theatre this month with a production of Chicago, Milton’s first live musical since the fall of 2018.
Director and Performing Arts Department faculty member Eleza Kort said the show—a satire of sensationalized crime in 1920s Chicago—was chosen for its spectacle and potential for escapism.
“We wanted to do something big, something fun, something with amazing music and cool and interesting dancing, and something with an intriguing plot,” she said. “I wanted a show with a little darkness, but that’s not too dark. We wanted to invite people back to the theater with something that will razzle-dazzle them.”
The Winter Dance Concert returns live to King Theatre on March 3 for a four-show run that includes about 70 students and a wide variety of dances.
The show, which will run for a Saturday matinee for the first time, features dance styles from all over the world, including hip hop, African, Indian, Irish step, Chinese fan dancing, and modern dance, said director and Performing Arts Department Chair Kelli Edwards. The last live Winter Dance Concert at Milton happened just before the school went remote in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—in 2021, a smaller production was filmed and shared with the community.
“The cast has worked very hard this year and the student choreographers are so eager to share their work,” said senior dancer and choreographer Audrey Volpe ’22. “We’ve waited two years to get back on stage for a live dance concert and we’re so excited for everyone to come to the show.”
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Milton artists and writers received dozens of honors in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running competition to identify creative talent among students. Twenty-seven student writers received 52 awards total, including 13 Gold Key awards; 29 student artists received a total of 57 awards, 12 of which received Gold Key honors.
Senior Samuel Dunn’s personal essay and memoir piece “On Confession” received the competition’s best in category award; jurors selected it as a piece that exceeded the expectations of a Gold Key award.
Scholastic works in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and The Boston Globe to judge regional winners. Gold Key winners are welcome to participate in the regional awards celebration, which will be held on March 14 at Tufts. Gold Key work is currently being reviewed at the national level in New York City by panels of creative professionals for National Medal honors.
Rotary phones, crunchy gravel, and a tiger’s roar—well, an overturned hand drum containing a precise number of metal nuts—are among the many objects carefully arranged on the King Theatre stage as student Foley artists and actors prepare for Thursday’s opening of the winter play, Murder, Mayhem, and Mystery: An Evening of Radio Dramas.
The show tells four classic radio dramas and takes the performers back to the early 20th century, when radio plays were can’t-miss entertainment. As students perform the stories, they use dozens of handmade sound effects. A vuvuzela, extended and retracted, becomes an elephant; a train chugs into station with a combination of metals and whistles; big band music scratches out from a vintage 78 record.
Directed by Performing Arts Department faculty member Darlene Anastas, the show includes “Sorry, Wrong Number,” written by Lucille Fletcher and made famous by actress Agnes Moorehead; a Dick Tracy suspense mystery, “Big Top Murders”; and two Agatha Christie stories, “Personal Call,” and “Butter in a Lordly Dish.” Like classic radio plays from the 1940s, the show has a “sponsor,” Tootsie Roll, and live ads are interspersed throughout.
Star Bryan ’23 plays Ms. Stevenson, the main character in “Sorry, Wrong Number,” as well as Inspector Narracott in “Personal Call,” and Julia Keene in “Butter in a Lordly Dish.” Learning the different roles within separate stories provided an interesting challenge.
“Ms. Stevenson is angry or frustrated through basically the whole story, and Julia Keene starts out flirtatious, but then takes a turn,” Bryan said. “I’m not used to playing anger or flirtation, so getting into both roles took time.”
“Art is so damn powerful,” Syrian American artist and architect Mohamad Hafez told students Tuesday during a Gold Fund presentation on campus. “Don’t do art just for the sake of beauty. That’s valid, but art is more than that. Art has the ability to cross borders, to cross hearts, to demolish walls between us.”
Hafez, who was born in Damascus and raised in Saudi Arabia, came to the United States to study architecture, later becoming a successful corporate architect. Art was initially a hobby for him and a way to process his homesickness and nostalgia when he was unable to return home following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S. Then, as he witnessed the Syrian civil war wreak havoc on his homeland and his own family—many of whom fled as refugees to other parts of the world—creating art took on a deeper and more urgent purpose.
Using found objects, careful architectural details, memories, and images of the Middle East, Hafez creates surreal, sculptural pieces with political and social messages—depicting the senseless violence of war, the baggage (physical and emotional) that refugees carry from home, and the widespread cultural losses occurring in Damascus, an ancient but advanced city critical to the history of several civilizations and world religions.
A swashbuckling tale of pirates, sword fights, and buried gold will take the stage in the chapel tent this week, as the Performing Arts Department presents Treasure Island.
Directed by performing arts faculty member Shane Fuller, Treasure Island is based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and adapted for the stage by Mary Zimmerman. It tells the story of Jim, the son of a tavern owner, who finds a mysterious treasure map among the possessions of a sailor who died at the tavern. Jim sets sail with some trusted local friends to locate the island and the treasure—and they’re accompanied by a covertly mutinous crew of pirates, including the ship’s cook, Long John Silver.
Live performance returns to Milton’s stages Thursday with the Class IV Follies, an original show called Extra-Ordinary. The show, which explores the theme of superpowers, will be held in the Chapel Tent for three nights.
Extra-Ordinary has the structure of the Class IV Follies—a series of scenes around a central theme—telling stories of some characters that the audience will recognize, like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and some that are new, said Performing Arts Department faculty member Scott Caron, who is directing the show.
“We’re navigating through a lot of characters that we know from literature, movies, and TV shows,” Caron said. “We follow their journey over the course of one hour, as they discover and unpack their superpowers.”
The Speech and Debate Team participated in their first national level tournament of the year at Yale University the weekend of September 18th. Congrats to all the students!
In Speech: Congress: Nika Farokhzad ’23, quarterfinalist; Duo Interpretation: Alexa Burton ’24 and Jack Burton ’22, 5th place; Extemporaneous Speaking: Neha Modak ’22 and Tyler Tjan ’22, octa finalists and Eliot Smith ’22, quarterfinalist; Humorous Interpretation: Jack Burton ’22, semifinalist and Talia Sherman ’22, 2nd place finalist; Oral Interpretation of Literature: Talia Sherman ’22, 1st place finalist.
In Debate: Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Andrew Tsang ’22 advanced to Doubles, Varsity Public Forum Debate: Jon Yildirim ’23 and Shiloh Liu ’22 advanced to Quarters (TOC Gold Bid), Yaman Habip ’23 and Lorenzo de Simon ’23 advanced to Triples; Junior Varsity Public Forum Debate, Emily Huneycutt ’24 and Sonya Martin ’24 advanced to Double.
On September 23, Milton’s Visual Arts Department hosted an opening reception for the first Nesto Gallery show of the 2021–2022 academic year. This exhibit features two longtime New England artists and educators—Charles Goss from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and Jocelyne Prince of the Rhode Island School of Design—who have created artwork in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milton’s performing arts faculty and students found creative solutions to bridge distances and time zones to offer a full slate of performances this fall, including the plays Macbeth, The Illustrated Bradbury, and this weekend’s Class IV play, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
Performing Arts Department faculty member Eleza Kort, who directed the Class IV play, said about one-third of the 15 cast members are international students, so meetings and rehearsals were scheduled to accommodate different time zones. Each student received a green screen and filmed themselves performing in front of it. Faculty member Shane Fuller edited the scenes together to look as if the actors were in the same place
Two student films were accepted into the All American High School Film Festival in the drama category. Dash Evett ‘21 and Jace Fuller’s ‘21 film, The Grievance, featured Conner Hartman ‘21, Ben Simpson ‘21, and Charlie Volpe ‘20. Evett’s’s film, Guy, featured himself and his brother Spencer Evett ‘17. Normally, the films would be presented at a live festival in October in New York City, but this year it will be virtual.
The Grievance is a story about a man named Liam, played by Hartman, who gets trapped in a supernatural cemetery. A bullying incident from his past comes back to haunt him. Evett and Fuller did all the shooting, writing, music, and editing. “A lot of hours of shooting were outside in the cold, and sometimes in complete darkness,” said Evett. “It was my first time making something with a horror vibe, so it was cool to film in a dark cemetery.”
“One of my favorite challenges in filmmaking is giving the audience a proper scare; one that curdles the blood and raises the heartbeat,” said Fuller. “With a low budget of zero dollars, we both agreed we couldn’t show scary monsters or frightening circumstances. Instead, we had to make a psychological horror that could play with scares without showing anything.”
Ordinarily, the National Speech and Debate Association’s (NSDA) year-end tournament is a blockbuster, in-person event: Thousands of students and their coaches take over a host city for a week of end-to-end competition that determines the best student speakers and debaters in the country.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was held virtually. Five thousand students from 1,300 schools competed from home for NSDA recognition. They included seven Milton students: Jana Amin ’21, Jack Burton ’22, Tim Colledge ’21, Miranda Paiz ’21, Nyla Sams ’20, Benjamin Simpson ’21, and Tyler Tjan ’22.
In Nicole Darling’s Technology, Media and Design class, students are learning about typography, which is the art and technique of type design, lettering, and calligraphy.
“It is arguably one of the most important components of graphic design. It requires designers to have the ability to make messages readable while expressing, emoting, and projecting concepts to the audience,” says Darling.
The unit consists of three different projects designed to help students develop their sensitivity to type, and increase their appreciation for different type-anatomy and aesthetics.
Performing Arts Department Chair Kelli Edwards has found creative ways for her Advanced Dance Choreography students to continue to learn and grow as dancers from the confines of their homes. For a recent assignment, students had a choice between creating a tight-space dance or creating a ritual dance.
Alli Reilly ’20 chose the first option, for which the instructions read: Embrace even more your lack of space and make a movement study based on a very tiny amount of space. No more than 3 feet by 3 feet. Your movement must include level change and traveling! And some sort of “big” movement that you would never think could fit in that space.
Rural, tucked-away places contain rich stories, but they’re not often found on stage in modern theater, playwright and Tony Award-nominated actor John Cariani told Milton performing arts students this week.
Cariani wrote Almost, Maine, a play told through nine stories about love and loss in a remote, fictional Maine town. Milton students performed the show in February; Cariani joined members of the cast and crew—along with others who had planned to put on Milton’s spring musical, Urinetown—via Zoom to talk about the play and his career in theater and television.
Small-town life hasn’t always been ignored—plays from the middle of the 20th Century depicted nuanced suburban and rural lives—but political divisions seem to have created an “us vs. them” rift in American culture, with rural people often depicted unfairly as simple or ignorant in current media.
Even when they’re fully committed to a character, the best improvisers bring their own personalities to their performances, says Gemma Soldati ’09.
Soldati and her comedy partner, Amrita Dhaliwal, visited improv classes taught by Performing Arts Department teacher Peter Parisi before spring break. The performers shared the joy and connection present in clowning. As students performed—improvising as chickens and horses, and taking audience cues for their characters—they added telling flourishes: a Shakespearean flair, comic movement, and a confrontational “neigh.”
“These things are real, they’re part of who we are,” Soldati told the students. “You have to bring the truth of who you are to the stage. You’re not going to be successful onstage if you’re trying to hide.”
When Maxwell Seelig ’22 auditioned for his role of Theodore “Laurie” Laurence in the Wheelock Family Theatre’s production of Little Women: The Broadway Musical, he was worried that his self-described clumsiness would make him a bad fit. After all, actors like Christian Bale and Timothée Chalamet have portrayed Laurie as a suave and worldly member of nineteenth-century society.
“I was one of the youngest people there, and there were actors from the Boston Conservatory auditioning, there were professionals from New York auditioning, and so I thought ‘This has been fun. I will not be getting this part,’” Max says. “But they told me they were looking specifically for a kind of quirky, awkward teenage energy.”
Two minor characters from one of the most well-known tragedies in theater history take the comedy spotlight in this year’s fall play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The 1966 Tom Stoppard play follows the story of the title characters, messengers from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who are bewildered by the events around them.
“The entire play is from their point of view, and tries to explain who they are, but they don’t even know,” says performing arts faculty member Darlene Anastas, who is directing the show. “They don’t get their names straight. They know they’ve been sent for, but they don’t know why. You ponder life and death with the characters, but it’s really very funny.”
Two birds in flight, a swimming shark and a fanged fish are just a few of the sculptures that make up the “Creatures Great and Small” exhibit outside of the Art and Media Center (AMC). Each of the eight pieces is done by a different artist in materials such as bronze, granite, steel and resin. Pamela Tarbell of PR Tarbell Fine Art curated the exhibit, which is on display throughout this school year.
One of the pieces, “The Understudy,” by local artist Bob Shanahan, is housed inside the AMC. The sculpture, built out of natural materials such as bark and twigs, depicts a Diatryma, a dinosaur that roamed New England millions of years ago.
The other pieces line up in front of the AMC. Morris Norvin’s “Piscator II” is the largest —steel, painted gray and bent into the shape of swimming shark. The smallest is the sleek “Epoxy Cheetah” by Wendy Klemperer. New visual art faculty member and Netso Gallery director Shirin Adhmai says a favorite of the younger students on campus is “Toothed Fish,” composed of granite and quartz by artist Thomas Berger.
This fall’s 1212 play, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, is a comedy that tackles issues of colorism, colonialism, beauty standards, and the social hierarchy among teenage girls.
“Our play immerses the audience into the world of black girls, something that never happens,” says Nyla Sams ’20. “It also tackles societal problems that are, for the most part, ignored by everyone other than the group they affect. It is so exciting to bring this conversation to Milton, and on top of all that, it’s a fun play.”
This year’s Class IV Follies, a revue highlighting the performing arts talents of the Class of 2023, follows the theme of masks, director and performing arts faculty member Eleza Kort says.
The production, which opens on Thursday night of Parents’ Weekend, features pieces related to the masks people wear and the six universal facial expressions: happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and surprise.
The performing arts department shifted its fall production schedule this year so a limited run of the Class IV Follies is scheduled for Parents’ Weekend. The show runs Thursday, October 24, and Friday, October 25, with both performances at 7:30 p.m. in King Theatre.
Milton presents two comedy productions this fall, including Tom Stoppard’s Rosencratz & Gildenstern Are Dead and Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. Class III, II or I student interested in auditioning should attend one of the two audition times. The performing arts department opens the season with the Class IV Follies, an exciting original show compiling Broadway showtunes, scenes from plays and live music. Class IV students who want to act, sing, dance, play music, or any combination of it all are welcome to join the first meeting.
The 1212 play presents a return of Wicked Sketchy, an original production made up of 14 sketches, written and performed by students. For this production, Wicked Sketchy veteran Lyndsey Mugford (I) took on lead writing and directorial roles in this collaborative project. Stage manager Evan Jenness (I) will be running the light and sound cues.
The 20-student cast pitched ideas to each other and wrote draft skits in small groups, eventually choosing the final ones, which each student had a hand in editing. “These students come from all four grades, and the process’s collaborative nature really means that everybody gets to have a hand in the final product,” says Lyndsey. Performing arts faculty member Peter Parisi is directing.
Robert Skinner (Class I) likens the campus-favorite Winter Dance Concert to a new episode of a beloved television series.
“There may be some familiar styles of dancing year after year, but the concert brings entirely different components with the choreography, new dancers, costumes and storylines,” Robert says. “It’s fun to see people performing a style of dance you never thought they would do, and it’s even better to see them performing that dance well.”
Dancers, choreographers and tech crews have worked hard throughout the season to put together a show that combines a rich variety of performance styles, says Robert, who balanced preparing for the Dance Concert with playing varsity basketball this winter. “It can be challenging because of the limited amount of time we have to practice and perfect the choreography together,” he says. “Balancing multiple activities with academics can get hectic at times, but the end result is worth it.”
The student one-act plays 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. Jennifer Lim (II) is directing “A Game” which stars Brie Lewis (II), Charlotte Kane (I), Calvin Bonomo (IV) and Talia Sherman (IV).
“I chose ‘A Game’ because this play demonstrates the complexity of the human mind and human emotion, and the play’s high intensity would also capture the audience’s attention,” says Jennifer. “In addition, our own interpretations of what the human mind and consciousness is to us would leave room for interpretation. This play demonstrates the power and impact of our words.
“Directing this past season has been a positive experience for me. I have staged managed for Milton productions, but I did not have directing experience. Watching Mr. Fuller, Mr. Parisi, and Ms. Anastas direct in the past has helped me a lot. It was a very exciting and rewarding experience for me to be able to apply what I have seen and learned in the past.”
A “remarkable” number of student writers and artists were recognized in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running competition to identify creative talent among students. Earlier in the week, Ms. Baker and Mr. Torney announced the winners at assembly.
Scholastic works in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and the Boston Globe to judge regional winners. Gold and Silver Key winners are welcome to participate in the regional awards celebration, which will be held on March 16 at Tufts. Gold Key award-winning work will be exhibited at the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards regional exhibition at Tufts University from March 16 through March 25.
Gold Key work is currently being reviewed at the national level in New York City by panels of creative professionals for National Medal honors. National Medalists selected by these panelists will be announced on March 13.
On Friday evening, the Milton Academy chamber orchestra will join the roster of musicians and other performers who fill Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace with sound and entertainment, and it’s all for a good cause.
The students are performing to raise money to buy musical instruments and equipment for students at Boston’s Dr. William Henderson Inclusion School, including mallets and iPads that will help students of all abilities produce musical sounds. The event is one piece of a partnership that Milton music department chair Adrian Anantawan hopes will expand opportunities for disabled and typically developing student musicians to make art together.
A long-standing tradition this time each year, Milton Academy’s winter music concerts prove to be welcomed gifts on these chilly, short December days. Orchestras and vocal groups have been busy in Kellner these past weeks preparing for the Winter Vocal Concert on Friday, December 7, and the Winter Orchestra Concert on Sunday, December 9, in King Theatre.
On October 27, Milton Academy speech students gathered with 313 high school participants from 17 area schools for the Dighton Rehoboth Festival of Imagination Speech Tournament. Overall, Milton garnered 16 awards, including Third Place Sweepstakes in the Large School category.
This fall’s 1212 Play has student actors drawing upon millennia of theater history. Yet Sophocles’ Antigone, while centuries old, explores universal themes that remain relevant today, says director and performing arts faculty member Peter Parisi. Its depiction of the danger of authoritarian politics, blind loyalty, and division among families are as familiar in modern society as they were in ancient Thebes.
“Antigone challenges us to question where our responsibilities lie when the law requires something we know is wrong,” Peter says.
The 1212 play is a Milton tradition, offering an intimate theater experience, typically involving small casts, minimal technical demands, and often challenging material for the performers and the audience. Science department faculty member Gabrielle Hunt and Jocelyn Sabin (I) are assisting with the production. Andrew Willwerth (II), plays Creon, the king of Thebes, and said the play has challenged the cast with its dark themes and the characters’ complex motivations.
Visitors to King Theatre this week may wonder about the hints of something spooky onstage: skulls, gothic décor and, wait… is that a torture rack?
The macabre pieces set the scene for the Addams Family Musical, this year’s fall production from the performing arts department. The musical comedy chronicles chaos visited upon the Addamses when daughter Wednesday brings a “normal” boyfriend home to meet the family. The show, which features the iconic, close-knit family and a Greek chorus of their undead ancestors, gives every actor a chance to shine.
This is the second year for the Class IV Follies, a revue of songs and scenes performed by Class IV students. The theme this fall is “The Four Seasons,” and the show will cycle through a year, beginning in spring. The performances range from acting to singing to instrumental music, says faculty member Eleza Kort, who is directing.
The new tradition began after years of discussion among performing arts faculty about how to best showcase the artistic aptitude of an incoming—and largely unknown—class of freshmen.
Milton Academy’s jazz program hosts A Celebration of South African Jazz this Thursday evening in the Kellner Performing Arts Center. Led by music faculty member, Bob Sinicrope, Milton’s Advanced Jazz students will perform a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela, honoring the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The group has been feverishly preparing for the concert event over the last few weeks in Mr. Sinicrope’s Kellner classroom. Sounds of Free Nelson Mandela, Bring Back Nelson Mandela, Mandela by Abdullah Ibrahim and Full Nelson can be heard from the Arts Commons as students rehearse a medley of these songs. The group is also planning to play other Abdullah Ibrahim songs including The Wedding, The Mountain, African Market, Soweto is Where It’s At, Mannenberg and Tsakwe/Royal Blue. Also included on the bill are Meadowlands, Yakhal Inkomo and a special version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Mbube.
Milton’s performing arts department has announced its fall productions. In addition to the Class IV Follies, students in Classes I–III will present The Addams Family and Antigone during the fall semester.
The Addams Family is a musical comedy and Antigone, a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles, will be presented as a 1212 Play. The 1212 play is a Milton tradition, offering an intimate theater experience, typically involving small casts, minimal technical demands, and often challenging material for the performers and the audience.
What do a couple of ogres, an ensemble of fairytale characters, a magical curse, an evil lord, and a Pulitizer Prize-winning Milton alumnus have in common?
They will all be part of Milton’s production of Shrek The Musical, which opens Thursday, May 17, in King Theatre. David Lindsay-Abaire ’88, who wrote the Tony-nominated book and lyrics to the musical, is scheduled to attend the final performance and spend some time with the cast.
“There’s some pride among the cast and crew in knowing that he is one of us,” says director Peter Parisi, chair of Milton’s performing arts department. “It is a little intimidating to perform for the person who created the show, but it’s exciting for the students because they have Milton in common.”
On Thursday, February 22, Milton hosts an opening reception in the Nesto Gallery from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for a new exhibit, Artificial Atmospheres, featuring the work of Deb Tod Wheeler and Robert Tod. Using video, sound and light exclusively, the artists spotlight our relationship to the environment.
“Their work is poignant and plaintive,” says Nesto Gallery Director Larry Pollans. “Even though their work focuses on the dangers of a deteriorating environment, the aura is still optimistic. In the Renaissance, artists insisted that beauty in nature was a sign of the sacred. Wheeler and Tod insist that beauty is a sign that we must work to protect the environment and hence our future.”
More than 40 Milton students received recognition in the 2018 Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The students earned 78 Gold Key, Silver Key or Honorable Mention accolades in the competition, a “banner year” for the School, says English department faculty member Lisa Baker. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious awards for teenagers in the country. Milton’s 21 Gold Key pieces are submitted to the national Scholastic competition, and results for the national contest will be announced in March.
On Saturday, February 10, Milton Academy jazz musicians took part in the 50th Annual Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston. The event is the country’s largest high school jazz festival with over 225 student groups, made up of 3,000 students from 13 states, participating in the day’s activities. The competition included high school ensembles from every corner of the map from California to Washington, D.C., and New England to Puerto Rico. The groups’ performances were judged by a panel of Berklee faculty. Competing in the medium- to large-sized high school combo category, Milton’s senior combo placed third and was awarded scholarship support for two students to attend Berklee College five-week summer music program. Coalter Palmer (I) also received a judge’s award for outstanding musician of his combo.
Milton’s Upper School Speech Team had a strong start to the school year at the Gracia Burkhill Memorial Tournament at Natick High School. Senior Alexandra Upton earned first place in Dramatic Performance for her new piece, titled “Blonde Poison.” Alexandra worked on...
Milton’s fall performing arts schedule features original comedy sketches, a new Class IV musical tradition and Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers.
Inspired by the Ziegfeld Follies and other revue shows, the Class IV play is a collection of songs, poetry, short scenes and music, specifically tailored for the Class IV actors. The material explores the journey from birth to death and the production is titled: The Class IV Follies: The Tree of Life. There are songs from modern musicals and the classics; scenes from plays, sketch comedies and films; and poetry ranging from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou. The Class IV play is a long-standing performing arts tradition involving the entire class.
Adrian Anantawan has toured the world as a violin soloist and performed on some of the most prominent stages, but this year marks the beginning of a different kind of adventure: being a house parent to the boys of Forbes House.
“Sitting down at a dinner table and hearing young men talk about things that are really intellectual, and at the same time really having fun, is wonderful,” says Adrian, Milton’s new music department chair. “Getting to know them is a highlight.”
Adrian takes the baton from Don Dregalla, who retired after more than three decades of teaching music at Milton. Adrian is teaching the Middle School strings and winds, Upper School orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and general music in the Upper School.
Born in Canada, Adrian has been playing the violin since he was around 10, and he performed professionally for the first time at 15. He has performed at the White House, in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in both Athens and Vancouver, and at the United Nations. Audience members have included Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama.
When George Luo (I) wrote his first screenplay at the end of his freshman year at Milton, he rounded up about 20 people who said they’d be interested in helping him make the film. Over that summer, interest fizzled, and George never made the movie, which is OK, he jokes, because, “It was probably the worst screenplay of all time.”
A few more attempts failed; it was hard to manage the process alone. So, during sophomore year, George and some friends founded the Hollywood Filmmaking Club, which has lent structure to film projects, he says.
Last year, the club, which is made up of actors and students interested in directing and writing, worked together to make George’s film, “Under the Wound,” which was accepted in several film festivals. Over that Columbus Day weekend, six members of the club went to New York City, where the 20-minute-long drama was an official selection of the All American High School Film Festival, an event that honors the best of high-school films from all over the country.
Three student jazz groups take to the stage in King Theatre on Thursday night to perform in Milton’s 27th annual fall jazz concert. Curtains open at 7:30 p.m. for this celebration of Latin-American jazz.
“We will play sambas, bossa novas, mambos, cha-cha-chas and boleros. Some of the tunes will make you want to dance and some will make want to cry (for good reasons we hope),” jokes music faculty member, Bob Sinicrope. “This promises to be a spirited and educational experience as we will share with our audience background information on the tunes.”
This is the only major on-campus performance of the year scheduled for these groups. All are welcome to join in the fun.
Beginning on Friday, September 15, the newly renovated Arts Commons in the Kellner Performing Arts Center features Ubuntu, an exhibit by photographer Frances Scanlon. Ms. Scanlon’s body of work includes images captured over the years during the Milton Academy jazz group’s biennial tour of South Africa.
“What started out for Frances Scanlon as documentation of the Jazz South Africa tours crossed the line into art,” says Nesto Gallery Director Larry Pollans. “Frances finds structural energies that define South African culture. She also captures the spirited link forged between our students and the South Africans. There is a palpable sense of adventure in the images.”
More 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.
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A 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.
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.”
From 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.”