Students see My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center

by Abby Stern, Staff Writer

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Students were bused into New York City to see the Broadway production of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, February 13.  The students were from the advanced Theatre Arts classes as well as the Modern Drama class. The trip was organized and chaperoned by the teacher of these classes, Juliet Montalbano.  

Photo Credit: Abby Stern
Junior girls pose in front of a My Fair Lady poster. From left to right they are: Jessica Rosen, Sofia Karras, Sofia Nolfo, Dylaney Sabino, Abby Stern, Madi Willoughby, and Caroline Torpey. All are members of advanced Theatre Arts classes or are on the Theatre Company’s executive board.

Montalbano felt that this seeing this musical would be an “enriching” experience for her students, given that they read the play “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw in class.  My Fair Lady is the musical adaptation of this play, and Montalbano knew that this show would fit in well with the curriculum of both her Modern Drama and Theatre Arts classes.

Montalbano wanted her students both to read the play and have the opportunity to see the musical, saying “While My Fair Lady is a beautiful and engaging show, it, and the source play, also contain a great deal of social commentary and universal themes that would serve for valuable discussions and class activities.”

Photo Credit: Abby Stern
The chaperones pose for a picture outside the theatre. From left to right: Patricia Mahoney, Juliet Montalbano, Brian Montalbano, and John Milsovic.

English teachers Patricia Mahoney and John Milsovic chaperoned as well, along with Latin teacher Brian Montalbano.  Most of the students who attended the trip were seniors, with some juniors and very few sophomores.

Though the trip was in danger of being cancelled due to inclimate weather, “the show must go on.”  Students missed out on the Broadway workshop they were supposed to take with members of the My Fair Lady cast, but they were still able to have lunch in Manhattan and see the show.  As students dined at NYC restaurant Gossip, they were also still able to have a chat with one of the My Fair Lady cast members, Cameron Adams.

Adams played one of the maids in the show, and she spoke to the students about life as a Broadway actress.  She has been in twelve different shows on Broadway, and she was happy to share her experiences with the students of Glen Rock.  

After lunch and talking with Adams, the students were bused to Lincoln Center to see the show.  Many of the students liked that the musical stayed true to Pygmalion, however they enjoyed the extravagance of the musical more.  

Photo Credit: Abby Stern
Senior Theatre Company executive board members smile for a picture in the lobby of the theatre. From left to right: Jessica Peiser, Emily Campbell, Isabel Siggers, Zoe Shea, Ethan Mcnamara, and Free Alter.

“I thought that adding songs into it made it much more fun,” junior Theatre Arts II student, Sofia Nolfo, said.  “I think that it does stay true to the original, but all the additions were much needed, and they make the show even better.”

Catherine Bennet, a senior modern drama student, agrees with Nolfo that the musical was more interesting, however, not just because of the songs.  “My Fair Lady had more aspects to add such as beautiful costumes, and it was much easier to visualize the story,” Bennet said.

Juliet Montalbano agrees with her students that the musical was beautiful, and she has loved hearing the feedback about the show from her students.

“I know that the students loved the performance and seeing the technical elements of the show,” Montalbano said.  “They were able to make connections between the play and the musical, and analyze a lot of directorial choices – big and small.  I loved seeing how the students evaluated the stage version of a play that they had already read and become familiar with.”

Even without thinking from the perspective of her students, Montalbano personally feels that the show was incredibly well done.

“The singing was incredible, the costumes were beautiful, the actors’ commitment to their characters is always so inspiring, and the set continued to amaze me and the students,” Montalbano said. 

She was especially in awe of the show’s revolving stage, as well as the extravagant set, however she feels that what truly made the show special was “the fact that the show was filled with fabulous songs and had a strong source text” which “is what kept it grounded.”

Seniors from the Modern Drama class smile in Lincoln Center. Upper row, left to right they are: Josh Kim, Eddie Felipe, Gavin Rae, Justin Douenias, Tara Daschil. Bottom row, left to right they are: Emily Silvestri, Catherine Bennett, Caroline Pappas, and Sophia Algerio.