- Spring 2020 : The War of the Worlds
- Fall 2019 : Radium Girls
- Spring 2019 : A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
- Fall 2018 : You Can’t Take It With You
- Spring 2018 : Annie
- Fall 2017 : The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon
- Spring 2017 : The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- Fall 2016 : Arsenic & Old Lace
- Spring 2016 : Godspell
- Fall 2015 : Arabian Nights
- Spring 2015 : You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown
- Fall 2014 : Our Town
- Spring 2014 : Passage to the New World
- Fall 2013 : Once on This Island
Cast yourself back to the year 1938. Hitler marches into Austria, while Britain, France and Italy signed the Munich Pact, allowing Germany to partition Czechoslovakia. Franklin D Roosevelt is in office and has just established a national minimum wage. Our Town by Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize in drama. Teflon is developed. The New York Yankees defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 during the world series. And on October 30, 1938, Orson Welles broadcast his rendition of H.G. Wells’s (no relation) The War of the Worlds over the airways, panicking the populace with tales of alien war machines from the planet Mars terrorizing New York and New Jersey. As we close out the school year, the Saint Joseph Prep Phoenix Players offer their own rendition of the infamous broadcast for your listening pleasure (Listen via the player above).
Cast List: Jessica Daher ’21, Ariannie Diaz ’22, Brigid Duffy ’22, Jahcaris Lucien ’21, YueEn Ma ’22, Joshua May ’21, Isabella Millie ’22, Felicia Monteiro ’21, Annabelle Pappas ’22, Samuel Reisfeld ’22, Nicolas Williams ’21, Hao (Hank) Yang ’22
Directed and produced by: Dr. Daniel Borkowski, Ms. Nia Gipson, mr. damian israel shiner
On Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23, The Phoenix Players presented the fall play, Radium Girls by D.W. Gregory. The show was directed by Dr. Daniel Borkowski and Ms. Nia Gipson.
Synopsis: In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girlstraces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees. As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire. Written with warmth and humor, Radium Girls is a fast-moving, highly theatrical ensemble piece for 9 to 10 actors, who play more than 30 parts—friends, co-workers, lovers, relatives, attorneys, scientists, consumer advocates, and myriad interested bystanders. Called a "powerful" and "engrossing" drama by critics, Radium Girls offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth, and the commercialization of science.
Cast: Ariannie Diaz ’22 (Grace Fryer) Joshua May ’21 (Arthur Roeder) Felicia Monteiro ’21 (Kathryn Schaub) Mary-Elizabeth Blundo ’21 (Irene Rudolph/Harriet Roeder) Nicolas Williams ’21 (Edward Markley/Elderly Widow) Jahcaris Lucien ’21 (Charles Lee/Lovesick Cowboy) Brigid Duffy ’22 (Dr. Joseph Knef/Ramona Berry) Michael Reidy ’22 (Thom Kreider/Venecine Salesman) Jessica Daher ’21 (Sob Sister/Mrs. Fryer) Victory Ajaero ’21 (Reporter/Frederick Flynn, PhD.) Annabelle Pappas ’22 (Mrs. Diane Roeder/Marie Curie) Samantha Desmornes ’22 (Dr. Joseph Knef/Male Shopper) Fiona Keady ’21 (Miss Wiley/Board Member) Nataijah King-Whittle ’22 (Mrs. Alma MacNeil/Male Shopper) Thianah Claude ’21 (Dr. Cecelia Drinker/Dr. Harriet Martland/Board Member) Hank Yang ’22 (Dr. Von Sochocky/Store Owner/Photographer) Liana Ma ’22 (Dr. Wilma J.A. Bailey/Customer/Board Member) Makiah Johnson ’21 (Judge/Clerk) Ann-Coralie Daniel ’22 (Mrs. Michaels/Society Woman/Shop Girl)
On Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30, 2019, The Phoenix Players presented the spring musical, A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love & Murder by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak.
The show was directed by Dr. Daniel Borkowski and mr. damian israel shiner, with set design by Ms. Nia Gipson and choreography assistance by Ms. Michele Becker.
According to Music Theatre International (MTI): A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder is a knock-’em-dead, uproarious hit and was the most-nominated show of the 2014 season. With ten Tony nominations and four wins, including Best Musical, Book, Direction and Costumes, it also earned seven Drama Desk Awards (including Best Musical), four Outer Critics Circle Awards (including Best Musical) and one Drama League Award (Best Musical).
As a general synopsis, the show involves the low-born Monty Navarro, who, when he finds out that he’s eighth in line for an earldom in the lofty D’Ysquith family, figures his chances of outliving his predecessors are slight and sets off down a far more ghoulish path. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught and become the ninth Earl of Highhurst? And what of love? Because murder isn’t the only thing on Monty’s mind....
Cast:Kira Fernandes ’19 (Monty)
Jessie Daher ’21 (Miss Shingles)
Gabriella Ribeiro ’19 (Sibella)
Bella Belarmino ’19 (Phoebe)
Sophia Pappas ’19 and Annabelle Pappas ’22 (D’Ysquiths)
Makiah ’22 (Tour Guide)
Isabel Wade ’22 (Chorus Girl)
Sam Reisfeld ’22 (Farmer)
Ari Diaz ’22 (Countess of Highhurst)
Thianah Claude ’21 (Inspector)
Fiona Keady ’21 (Magistrate)
Ensemble:Victory Ajaero ’21
Alexandra Antonyraj ’21
Alfreda Antonyraj ’21
Ananya Barton-Shiner ’22
Autumn Blundo ’21
Brigid Duffy ’22
Isabella Millie ’22
Felicia Monteiro ’21
Michael Reidy ’22
Marina Ribeiro ’22
Nicolas Williams ’21
On Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, The Phoenix Players presented the spring musical, the endearing and heartfelt production of Annie JR! Based on the popular comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, with a beloved book and score by Tony Award-winners, Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie JR. features everyone’s favorite little redhead in her very first adventure.
With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.
The show was directed by Ms. Samantha Grone and Mr. Daniel Borkowski, with music directed by mr. damian israel shiner.
The cast includes:Jessica Sitcawich ’19 - Annie
Michael Chmura ’18 - Oliver Warbucks
Lyndsey Grier ’18 - Grace Farrell
Sophia Pappas ’19 - Miss. Hannigan
Anthony Khoory ’19 - Rooster, Dogatcher
Bella Belarmino ’19 - Lily
Alfreda Antonyraj ’21 - Molly
Jessica Daher ’21 - Pepper
Sophia Rego ’21 - Kate
Mariah Johnson ’21 - Tessie
Alexandra Antonyraj ’21 - July
Mary-Elizabeth Blundo ’21 - Duffy
Jeff Chen ’20 - Drake, Bert Healy
Gabriella Ribeiro ’19 - Cecille, Apple Seller
Fiona Keady ’21 - Annette, Ushurette
Valerie Gao ’19 - Star-to-Be, Mrs. Pugh, Sandy
Thianah Claude ’21 - Mrs. Greer
Nicolas Williams ’21 - Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bundles McCloskey
Stephany Pinto ’21 - Officer Ward, Louis Howe
On Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18, The Phoenix Players presented the fall play, the wildly funny and highly entertaining production of The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon by Don Zolidis! The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are turned on their heads in this fast-paced, rollicking ride as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 stories ranging from classics like Snow White, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel to more bizarre, obscure stories like The Devil's Grandmother and The Girl Without Hands. A wild, free-form comedy with lots of audience participation and madcap fun.
The show was directed by Ms. Samantha Grone and Mr. Daniel Borkowski.
The Phoenix Players offered a fantastically successful production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee! The cast of 11 actors had the audience rolling with laughter during the performances on March 31 and April 1. The musical, directed by Ms. Kate Griffith with Assistant Direction by Ms. Michele Becker and Musical Direction by Mr. Damian Shiner, received rave reviews.
Ms. McCarvill called the show, “Absolutely fantastic!” while Ms. Gabriel said it was “Hilarious!”
The show cast, which included Jojo Duplan ’17, Yilin Lu ’17, Doris Xue ’17, Hermione Zhang ’17, Michael Chmura ’18, Gabriella Ribeiro ’19, Anthony Khoory ’19, Aleksandra Christie ’19, Carly Sacco ’19, Valerie Gao ’19, and Jeff Chen ’20, showcased their singing talent, in addition to comedy, with popular numbers like “Magic Foot” and “The I Love You Song.”
Already a funny show, the students added their own writing and some ad libbing to enhance the performance and keep the packed houses (both nights) in stitches.
On Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19, The Phoenix Players presented their Fall play, their wildly funny and highly entertaining production of Arsenic & Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring! The cast and crew had been hard at work for many weeks in preparation for their performances, and they nailed it!
When the cast of Godspell gathered in the middle of January for an initial script read-through, they couldn’t have predicted juts how remarkable a show they were to produce less than two months later. This past weekend, March 11 and 12, they realized this aspiration in two exceptional performances of an incredibly powerful show, rife with richly harmonized music and deftly portrayed characters demonstrating a wide range of emotion.
The cast members began the show working their way to the stage while answering imaginary cellphones, building to a cacophony of sound that was halted by the lone voice of John the Baptist (portrayed by Lyndsey Grier ’18) singing Prepare Ye. From that moment on, the cast was off and running under the leadership of Jesus (portrayed by Kira Fernandes ’19). Moving from parable to parable, the story unfolded through song and elaborate acting on a spartanly dressed stage. The audience was regaled by familiar hits from the show like Day by Day, Learn Your Lessons Well and All Good Gifts. Students in various roles took turns as soloists in each piece, while the songs filled out with harmony offered by the entire ensemble.
Built upon two acts, the professional lightings helped to distinguish between the disaparate tones: lighter and upbeat in the first, and solemn and heavier in the second. Culminating in a moment of hopefulness just before the impending crucifixion, Fernandes held the audience in captive silence while she sang Beautiful City, and then reprised the song after her character’s death. The entire cast added to the resurrected feel by closing the show in the same way it began, with Prepare Ye.
According to one of the cast members, Isabella Belarmino ’19, “The Godspell experience has been amazing. My fellow cast members aren't just the people that I performed with, but they are like my other family. I have so many great memories from our time together that I know I wil never forget!”
The full cast included: Grier, Fernandes, Belarmino, Brendan Brady ’19, Michael Chmura ’18, Taisha Joseph ’19, Xinyue (Helen) Miao ’19, Sophia Pappas ’19, Yuhan (Cara) Qiu ’16, Gabriella Ribeiro ’19, and Jessica Sitcawich ’19. Qiu also contributed as Assistant Director to Dr. Sara Simons who directed the entire show. The performers were guided under the musical direction of Tom Nunan, accomplished pianist and son of our Head of School, as well as Mr. Shiner, SJP’s own choir director. Philippe Legagneur ’17 served in the essential role of Stage Manager, and Zhangyuan (Harry) Qin ’19 pitched in on the technical crew for both nights of the performances. With Fernandes, Grier and Pappas choreographing all dance routines and Brady lending some electric guitar to Light of the World, this talented cast truly took ownership of the entire show. All in attendance agreed that it was indeed, a smashing success!
Audiences in Phoenix Hall were transported to the lands of the ancient Middle East in the Phoenix Players’ production of Arabian Nights. The production broke box office records for the school, with the largest ever audience turn out at the Friday night performance. This show marked another first for the Phoenix Players: the first ever double-cast production, with different students playing lead roles on Friday and Saturday night!
The classic story of the 1,001 nights goes back hundreds of years with many variations, but certain things remain the same. The great King Shahrayar (Liam Fitzpatrick ’16) has been betrayed by his first wife, and decides that no women can be trusted. He orders his faithful Vizier (Bryan Williams ’16) to find him a new wife every evening, and every morning orders the wife to be executed. The land is wrapped in fear--until the the King marries the Vizier's own daughter, a courageous young girl named Shahrazad (Joseline Pineda Ruiz ’18 - Friday, Bella Belarmino ’19 - Saturday). Each night, Shahrazad’s little sister Dinarzad (Holly Callen ’19 - Friday, Lyndsey Grier ’18 - Saturday) asks Shahrazad to tell a story, and each night King Shahrayar sits, enraptured. Just before dawn, Shahrazad leaves the story unfinished, the King orders Shahrazad’s life to be spared one more day, so he can hear the end of the story. Mingled in are many familiar tales, such as the story of Ali Baba (Phil Legagneur ’17), the story of Es-Sindibad the Sailor (McKenzie Jennette ’18), and many more. But can Shahrazad's story change the king's heart and free the land from fear?
With fifteen actors representing all grade levels in the cast, and original music by Joe Aroush ’16 and Jamie Seo ’18, the show was truly a team effort. Students not only performed, but also participated in creating masks and learning shadow puppetry, which figured heavily into the telling of the story of Es-Sindibad the Sailor. Ms. Nia Gipson created an astounding shadow display, with the assistance of Michael Martinez ’16. The set was the most lavish ever seen on the Phoenix Players stage, graciously constructed by Mr. Jim Stanislaski and his daughter Kate Stanislaski ’18. The beauty of the production was also enhanced by gorgeous and colorful costumes, designed by Ms. Lori Rabeler. Truly, with so many bright colors, glittering details, and lavish textiles, the entire stage resembled Ali Baba's wondrous cave of treasures!
The Phoenix Players would like to extend their sincere thanks to all who assisted with this production, particularly Mr. Bart Paresi, and to all those who came out to see the performances!
Saint Joseph Prep’s Phoenix Players presented its fall play, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, which has been called “the greatest play of our century,” and “THE great American play,” on Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22 in Phoenix Hall. This Pulitzer-Prize winning classic tells the story of the average citizen’s life in the fictional small town of Grovers Corner, New Hampshire. Throughout the course of the play, audience members are introduced to citizens who they follow from childhood, to adulthood, to marriage, to death, and even into the afterlife. Though this town and its inhabitants may at first seem ordinary, this play teaches us the unappreciated beauty of everyday life, and reminds us to live “every, every minute.”
Our Town made history when it opened, as one of the first pieces of theatre to be performed with no set or props. It was also considered “radical” as the entire story is narrated by a Stage Manager, who frequently reminds the audience that what they are watching is simply a play. It has held a honored place in American theatre since then, as one of the most frequently produced plays in America.
On Friday, March 28, and Saturday, March 29, the Phoenix Players put on a dazzling debut performance of Passage to the New World, an original pirate musical by Danny Donabedian ’14. The audience responded with enthusiasm as the students sang original and parody versions of pop songs from the past three decades.
Set in the fictional Caribbean city of Port Royale and various pirate vessels in the surrounding seas, the audience first meets Maddie Parrot, an eighteen year old on a quest to become a pirate captain, played by Nina Forcelati ’16, as she is recruiting for her Miracle Pirate Crew. After setting out on her journey, she and her crew capture a ship on which the handsome Albert, played by Cameron Chang ’14, and his penny-pinching father Lord Pennyworth, played by Natalie Pierre-Louis ’14, are traveling. Maddie and Albert fall in love, but the evil baroness, played by Kate Orzechowski ’15, takes him hostage in a gala scene with a beautifully choreographed waltz. Maddie spends the rest of the show attempting to rescue her beloved.
Students and teachers alike were impressed by the quality of writing and the talent of the cast. Mr. Russo, a theology teacher, said, “It was laugh out loud funny. It was really well written and clever. Comedies are difficult, but the kids had impeccable timing and great chemistry on stage.”
Many students in attendance also expressed their surprise at how much they enjoyed the show. Mia Herman ’14 said, “Danny's a great writer, but I was skeptical about a student written play. I thought the show was so funny; I really appreciated the humor.”
Donabedian was grateful for all the students that came to the performances and the members of the SJP community who supported him and the Phoenix Players throughout this endeavor.
On November 22nd and 23rd, the Phoenix Players put up their production of Once on This Island, a story of love, race, class, and betrayal. Well over two hundred members of the community attended the production. This is Mariagrazia LaFauci’s (MSJA ’08) inaugural production as director, and it was a resounding success. Students and faculty alike expressed how thrilled they were with both the production value and the talent of the students on the stage. Kate Griffith, a teacher in the math department, said, “Theater in the round is a challenging environment to perform and the students pulled it off really well.” Mia Herman, SJP ’14, was really impressed by her classmates’ performance. She said, “It was so exciting to see my friends on stage. I never knew some of them were so talented.”
Phoenix Hall was transformed into a theater-in-the-round with the central space serving as the island in more ways than one. The players moved fluidly within and without the space, changing costumes and affecting voices seemingly effortlessly. The professional lighting and the creative, but simple props served to fuel the imagination of the audience, who no doubt felt transported to a warmer clime with a tropical feel. Earnestly, the players wove the story in such an effective way that the two hour show seemed to fly by. As the performance ended, it was clear both the audience and the players had enjoyed their time spent together -- the standing ovation on Saturday night says it all.
The Phoenix Players are grateful to all who have supported the show and look forward to the debut of an original student production in March.