On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, The Varley Players of Byram Hills High School will be debuting “A Night On Broadway” in a truly unique way - Virtually. No stage. No sets. No costumes. No lighting. No cast party. But these talented students are counting on a vast audience - online.
Byram Hills did not miss a beat in keeping these students engaged during the pandemic. Sophomore Matthew Giovannetti said, “I miss the camaraderie we normally share when rehearsing a show, but it was great that we could perform songs from a wider range of musical styles and periods.” Matthew has previously appeared on the Byram Hills stage in Peter and the Starcatcher and Guys and Dolls.
“We had to do a show, both for ourselves and the community,” said Theatre Director John Lopez. “What could be possible to produce even if we were unable to attend school for the semester?” He told students to focus on learning to connect to a song’s text, perform it in their living room with heart, and record on a phone if needed.
Auditions were remote, and students chose songs to fit the general theme of their journeys, remembrances, and new beginnings - the result - a highly entertaining and memorable mix of Broadway songs. A stunning musical cabaret!
“A virtual performance can be just as fun and exciting as a live show,” said Christine Parisi, a Byram Hills junior. “We worked so hard, practicing every day until it was time to film our songs, and it all paid off.” Christine will be performing in four pieces for this production, including a solo of “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music.
Students did the bulk of the work during virtual meetings and even some carefully distanced ensemble rehearsals. Each performer, wearing an earbud to hear an accompaniment track, recorded practice versions and ultimately final recordings of all the songs from a quiet location in their own homes.
“The students have made us all proud,” said Mr. Lopez. “They managed to balance their stressful lives with the demands and responsibilities of rehearsing and recording their performances and pouring passion and joy into the entire process.”
Mr. Melso and Ms. Medrano from the Byram Hills Media Center (Producer & Editors), Mr. Gulick (Assistant Director), Mrs. Pieratti (Production Assistant), Mrs. Smith (Music Director), and Mrs. Brooks (Scenic Designer) all played a significant role in this production.