Actors, artists and stagehands from Woodhull Intermediate School and Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School came together under the banner of a unified theater arts club and presented an enchanting series of performances of Beauty and the Beast Jr. last weekend.
Sellout crowds over multiple days gave the students repeated standing ovations. More than 150 cast and crew members worked for months to make this one of Huntington’s most memorable musicals ever.
“It was a fabulous performance by a spectacular group of children,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “I have had the privilege of knowing so many of them since the day they entered the district as bright-eyed kindergarteners. It made the personal experience about much more than the talent and passion on stage, which were, in fact, extraordinary. I found it hard to maintain a dry eye during the final number.”
The actors and stage crew members worked closely with teachers Allison Von Vange and Todd Hiscox, who directed the show. Huntington High School senior Alyssa Befumo and high school freshman Sarah Biernacki served as student directors. Eighth grader Ally Kustera volunteered countless hours as a student helper.
Spread across 13 delightful scenes, the Woodhull and STEM students shined and their families and friends loved every minute of it. “I was overwhelmed with the talent this year,” Ms. Von Vange said. “Every performance was better than the next. It is a privilege to watch the students grow from the shy students when they audition to the confident actors on stage.”
This marked the last theater arts club production for Ms. Befumo, who will be heading off to college after she graduates in June. She performed in Grease, The Music Man Jr. and Aladdin Jr., was a student helper for The Little Mermaid Jr. and Willy Wonka Jr. and a student director for Annie Jr., The Lion King Jr., High School Musical Jr. and this year’s show.
“I am sad to see Alyssa Befumo leave after nine years with us,” Ms. Von Vange said. “Sarah Biernacki will be filling in her shoes starting next year.”
So many youngsters played a role in the success of the production. Student art club members created remarkable scenery for the show. The group included Ariella Katigbak, Adrianna Abbatiello, Ariana James, Cindy Alvarez, Ellie Kaufman, Riley Murtagh,Keira Coulter, Marley Joseph, Reese Rinaldi, Jada Joseph, Lea DeVoe, Ava Tizzio, Emma Bellew, Jennifer Lopez, Lily Froggatt Bale, Jordanna Paniccia, Jake Schmitt, Sophia Tine, Rebecca Guardado, Eli Soric, Ben McNerney, Brooke Farasciano, Julia Henderson, Kaylee Adams, Brandon Malone, Kaylee Adams, Danna Flores-Guillen, Michael Donatelli, Emely Veliz ,Katherine Estrada, Olivia Polinsky, Dean DeFalco, Jordan Rose, Daniel McNulty, Sebastian Ramirez, Neurdia Osias, Dominic Roldan and Kate Barba.
“Congratulations to Ms. Von Vange, Mr. Hiscox, the incredible student performers and stage crew, our high school student directors and all staff members who assisted,” Mr. Polansky said. “It was another proud Huntington weekend!”