This past weekend twenty students involved in the Performing Arts at Morris Catholic performed in The Scarlet Pimpernel at Lincoln Center. I was beyond excited when Ms. Bauer invited me to be a part of such an amazing experience. Since I am not the strongest singer I felt very honored to be a part of this event. This entire trip would not be possible without Ms. Bauer’s dedication and passion for the arts. She has provided countless opportunities for the department to grow and for her students to engage in new experiences.
Rehearsals started in late October, Mr. Brockman (an alum who graduated in 2014) graciously dedicated so much of his time and effort to ensure we all learned our voice parts and were confident when we began to rehearse in New York. As a student looking to pursue the arts as a career, it was an honor to work with professionals and see the similarities and differences between a high school performing arts department and a professional Broadway team.
Manhattan Concert Productions made this entire experience possible by inviting Morris Catholic to be a part of the show’s chorus, and it was an amazing learning experience. The entire Manhattan Concert Production team was extremely kind and considerate. They were in constant communication with Ms. Bauer, ensuring that we safely arrived in the city and knew any rehearsal or script changes along the way. The Ensemble Service Coordinators ensured that each ensemble member was happy, healthy, and ready to continue rehearsing over the long weekend. They truly went the extra mile to make this experience memorable. I really enjoyed working with the music director and conductor of this production, Mr. Howland. It was amazing to see how he could manage over two hundred students in the chorus, ensure the Broadway stars knew their cues, AND conduct a full orchestra! He brought positive energy to the rehearsal room even with bumps and hiccups along the way.
The members of the Broadway cast were some of the kindest and most considerate people I have ever met. They knew that they had a job to do, but they were also playful. It was reassuring to see that even professionals make mistakes and have similar struggles that less experienced performers have. Norm Lewis, a Broadway actor and singer who played the show’s antagonist Chauvelin, was extremely kind. When he was not in a scene you could find him among the chorus cracking jokes or engaging in conversations with us. He took extra efforts to make us feel welcome and at ease during the rehearsals, as did the rest of the cast.
Even though the concert was a one night event, I find myself missing the experience more and more as each day passes. I will never forget this experience and have left with an even stronger desire to perform!