By: Kevin Biggiani
Over the March 18th weekend, the Oyster Bay Fine and Performing Arts Department thrilled the audience with a spectacular performance of the Broadway hit play, Pippin, a story of self-discovery in a young man seeking his life’s purpose. Alongside the immensely talented cast, the set designers, stage crew, and pit band all came together seamlessly to put on an extraordinary show.
Pippin is a story about a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. The story is told by a traveling troupe of actors led by the cunning and charming Lead Player. The scenes of the play invite the audience to be a part of Pippin’s journey as he attempts to cure the chronic emptiness in his life.
Sophomore Franchesca Alejo played the part of the Lead Player. Throughout the show, Alejo wowed the audience with her fabulous voice and acting skills. She and the entire cast opened the play by singing its signature song, Magic To Do. Alejo and the ensemble performed the song beautifully, making it clear right from the beginning that the audience was going in store for a very special performance.
Talented junior, Jaiya Chetram, was phenomenal in his title role as Pippin. With his tremendous vocals and superlative acting, Chetram gave a resounding portrayal of a prince in search of his life’s fulfillment, which he finally achieves at the end of the play.
Other notable roles include Pippin’s father, King Charles, played by junior Ryan Capone, and Lewis, his dim-witted stepson, played by freshman Omar Figueroa. Figueroa expertly captured the humor of his role as Lewis, along with his mother Fastrada, played by senior Michaela Lester, plotted to oust the king and take over his throne. Figueroa, Lester and Capone play their respective parts magnificently.
Junior Paige Sweeney, who played Pippin’s wise and witty grandmother, had the audience enthusiastically clapping in participation as she beautifully sang the show’s enormously popular song, No Time At All.
Junior Grace Curry showed the tremendous range of her talent in acting, singing, and dancing by playing multiple roles, including the lovable Theo, a young boy devoted to his pet duck.
In Act II, sophomore Brooklyn Matt stepped into the role of Catherine, a young widow that finds herself discovering new love with Pippin. Throughout the act, there was wonderful chemistry between Matt and Chetram. Matt displayed her beautiful voice singing a solo and a love song duet with Chetram.
At the show’s close, the entire cast serenaded the audience for the final time and were celebrated by a well- deserved standing ovation from the audience.
The talented cast also included Hazel Maldonado, Nicole, Krumholz, Maria Bubulinis, Mary Vera, Ella Reardon-Rizzo, Emma Hampton, Finn Trotman, Julia Milos, Katarina Dynda, Maalika Mehta, Mosie Bradley, Mikal Memon, Riley Baehr and Scarlett Fredrickson.
Student musicians in the Pit Band included Michael Pannella on trumpet, Anna Pace on flute, Jack DiFiglia on drums, and Kevin Biggiani on the trombone, who all masterfully performed alongside the cast for the duration of the performance.
The stage managers, stage crew, and set artists included Dakota Matt, Jillian Milo Pascucci, and John Purcell, Ava DeAngelis, Caitlin Dias, Chloe Gheerow, Omek Kumar, Joseph LaRosa, Sunny Salese and Madison Wilson. Their talents ensured that each performance went as smoothly as possible.
The production would not have been possible without the dedicated faculty advisors, which included the Director and Choreographer, Teriann Chiappardi, the Assistant Director, Virginia Kemp, the Producer, Anthony Femino, the Vocal Director, Christopher Fludd, the Stage Crew Director/Assistant Producer, Maria Randazzo, and the Pit Orchestra Director, Alexandria Muller.
As is the tradition at Oyster Bay High School, after the Sunday performance, there was a touching “rose ceremony” during which the underclassmen recognized graduating seniors and faculty advisors in the production by rendering heart-felt speeches to them and handing out roses.
In the Director’s notes in the show’s Playbill, Ms. Chiappardi summed up the whole experience for the students who participated in the show when she stated, “Your enthusiasm and love for what each of you brings to the stage is inspiring.” For the graduating seniors who participated, she stated, “It will not be easy to see you graduate and move on from our stage at OBHS; each of you has been a role model for the younger members of the cast, crew and pit. I know that you will always be a part of our theater family.”
It is quite clear from this performance that Oyster Bay High School is filled with magnificent talent that will thrill audiences in school musicals for years to come.