Malden High School’s Play Production told the story once more by reviving the closing number from Once On This Island, their fall musical that they performed in November.
The event took place on March 19th at the Boston Opera House. The song “Why We Tell The Story,” was sung at this event by the students in Malden High’s Play Production.
Junior, Michayla Moody, a Play Production said the event is “a night dedicated towards showcasing the Broadway season for the year, which are small performances and announcements of different Broadway casts that will be passing through Boston...the reason [they] were invited is because over the summer, [they] won a $5,000 Grant from the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild and their sponsors Lexis. [They] got to go to an awards ceremony in Boston and accept the Grant which was amazing because it was really nice to see that [they] wanted to contribute to [their] program.”
Moody also said “[They] got to open the show and see backstage in the dressing rooms and meet some cool people so overall it was a really good experience and everyone loved it and really enjoyed performing on the Boston Opera House stage.”
The grant money that Play Production won was used for to pay for workshops that went towards helping Once On This Island be the best that it could be. Junior, Nathaniel Tortorella Silva, who helped out with costumes for the play did not attend at the Opera House but did attend a workshop on costumes that taught him how to make the costumes “culturally accurate”. He also mentions that “one of the ladies from the workshop helped us pick the right fabrics as well as actually sow the costumes and another lady came in and showed [them] how to do the girls hair ”.
Silva said that from this experience, he learned how to “incorporate [his] ideas with the ideas of others and how to work collaboratively by sharing them with one another.”
Junior, Michelle Chan, who is apart of the MHS Play Production, said that when they got on stage at the opera house “[she] could not stop looking up at the beautiful architecture and art on the ceiling and walls around [them]. The microphones and acoustics were incredible. Everyone’s solos sounded beautiful and [they were] all excited to perform.”
“It was a once in a lifetime experience for many of [them] since [they] may never perform on that stage again. Getting to see all the seats was definitely a surreal moment [she] will always cherish and the crew there was so supportive” Chan mentioned.
She also said that she thinks the audience “loved [their] performance” due to the fact that people “cheered before and after the performance”. She mentioned how a Play Pro student, Harrison Zeiberg, had his father and two siblings attend and Chan says his two siblings “cried of how proud [they] were and apparently so did [his] mom when [he] showed [her] the video of their performance so [she’s] assuming it gave the message [they] wanted it to.”
Sean Walsh, Play Pro’s director applied for the Grant through the METG called “World Of Promise”. The grant was set up to “help support new musical theater programs and so the Grant was made available online to schools who were in the membership and [they have] a relatively young musical theater program, only in [their] eighth year so [he] thought [they’d] be a good candidate because their are definitely some needs and resources [they] could use and [they] made a visit to the school through the site and met with [him] and Mr. Lombardi, the principal of the school at the time, and talked about how [they’d] use it and then [they] heard back [they] got it a couple weeks later” said Walsh.
He also said “Half of the money was to focus on Infrastructure and the other half on Professional Development for both kids and teachers. $2500 went to microphones, towers to do side lighting, and some of the cable light bulbs which is to hook things into place. The other money went to helping students and teachers train on costumes and puppeteering and puppetry.”
Walsh said winning the Grant was “a great feeling and experience. [They] were able to go to an event in Boston at the Paramount Theater in June, 2017 and then to be honored again to show off [their] work at the Opera House was truly exciting and the kids liked being on the professional stage and being around some professional Broadway actors and it just meant a lot.”