Sunday, November 29, 2009

GUYS & DOLLS | Hewlett High School, Long Island


For the past 2 ½ months, I’ve been doing something pretty amazing. I have been choreographing Guys & Dolls for G.W. Hewlett High School, under the direction of Walter Lastowski and Eric Williams. Walter was one of my judges in Miss Jubilee and after supporting me in Miss New York, he thought “Ah she didn’t win – she’s gonna need a job!” And the rest is history. These kids have worked so incredibly hard and it was inspiring and motivating to be a part of. 10 weeks ago, the boys were having a rough time with coffee grinders and cartwheels, and now they’re seamlessly jumping in each other’s places in absence and adding their own humor and flairs to the choreography.

After rehearsals and rehearsals, I sat in the audience on opening night and witnessed something so beautiful. To observe the parents in the lobby gushing over their kids and to see the pride on not only their faces, but the smile-streaked faces of the 80 kids in this production was just soooo neat. And their directors/teachers. I was in musicals in high school, so I get it. There is just something uniquely special about the relationship that is built between people in theatre. Walter and Eric give these kids a gift they love now, but may not completely understand until they are 23 and they return to Hewlett (or another high school) to watch a production, or even more, help choreograph or direct one. Hewlett HS and MS are so fortunate to have the blessing of these two teachers who genuinely love and care about every student who graces their stage, classroom, or office. And I’m so thankful to have been a part of the musical, yes, but more importantly, their lives. This was made possible by a relationship that formed from the Miss America Organization. You never know what you're going to get out of something. Expect the unexpected.

Stepping off the soap box and putting on my entrepreneurial cap… I wanted to give something else to the show and the kids besides dance, so I photographed their final dress rehearsal. Approximately 750 pictures later, fajitas cooked by Eric, and a moment of sleep-deprived slap-happiness with Walter, I present to you, Guys & Dolls, in photographs. HERE – we narrowed it to 500. Look closely -- you'll see Miss Jubilee's OT, Nirvanna, as well as some future Miss Jubilee & OT contestants!!


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