Broadway Night 2017

Erin Field, Rebekah Panaro and Jurnee Dunn perform at Broadway Night. Veritas photo

Sean Vo, Veritas Co-Editor-in-Chief

“I’m just a Broadway baby!” sang the character Hattie Walker in the musical Follies.

On Thursday, March 16, the Rockland Music Department hosted its annual event, Broadway Night, but this time with a twist.

In the past, the Broadway Night format limited music students to perform songs from just two musicals.

This year, that restriction was lifted and Broadway Night was transformed into a cabaret-style event, allowing students to audition for songs from any Broadway musical.

“There were about twenty-three (if you count the band opening) musical numbers this year, and about eighteen different musicals featured,” said David Arruda, RHS chorus teacher. Musicals included classics such as On The Town, newer musicals such as Hamilton, and even some Disney-Broadway-adapted musicals like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

Mr. Arruda who has been involved in events like these at the college, and community theatre levels, says he personally enjoys the cabaret-style chosen for Broadway Night, and “likes the mix of traditional musicals and newer ones.”

It was freshman Neleh Dunn’s first Broadway Night, and she was excited. She said she was “ready to showtune.” However, she also didn’t want to audition for too many numbers taking into account that it was her first year.

She performed “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind” from the musical Spring Awakening with senior Shandi Austin, where she really showcased her potential and musicality.

Junior Erin Field not only performed four different numbers this year, but also contributed significantly to a lot of behind the scenes work.

She worked closely with Mr. Arruda and John Piazza, the music department head, to create the set list, as well as with David Murphy and Christopher Burneika, WRPS staff, to create a list for mics, curtain calls, and songs that required tracks, rather than a live accompaniment provided by Mr. Arruda and the piano.

This year, she performed “Schuyler Sisters” from Hamilton with junior Rebekah Panaro and senior Jurnee Dunn, “Come Up to My Place” from On The Town with junior Devin Gallagher, “Broadway Baby” from Follies with senior Sean Vo, and “Little Shop of Horrors,” with sophomores Bonnie Gasdia and Megan Diver.

Field said that the transition from the two musical limit to the cabaret-style made it easier for performers to choose songs that fit more with their individual voices, but also became harder in terms of making the set list.

For each song Field chose, she had her own stories: for “Schuyler Sister,” she was just roped into doing it, but she really liked it anyway; for “Come Up To My Place,” she wanted to do something with a friend and try to include everyone; for “Broadway Baby,” she worked with another theatre group, (Break A Leg! Theatre) and wanted to do it in Rockland as a way to showcase herself in a number considered a solo; and as for “Little Shop of Horrors,” she saw a Weymouth production of Little Shop of Horrors, and she loved it.

Field concluded, “Broadway Night is an event for everyone to get out of their shells, but it truly becomes a shining night when the underclassmen break out, since they set up the future once the upperclassmen leave.”

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