Fourth and fifth graders on St. John will sing and dance their way into the audience’s hearts when Broadway Comes to St. John for three performances, two on April 5 plus an ‘Angel Performance’ on April 6.
The St. John School of the Arts (SJSA) is again funding the three-week program designed to give all the children on St. John an opportunity to study with Broadway actors, voice coaches and choreographers, culminating with a series of performances for parents and community members.
Since the program’s beginning, performances have been held at the ballroom at the Westin Resort, but because of extensive damage from Hurricane Irma, that space is not yet ready for showtime.
This year, all performances will be held at the St. John School of the Arts next to the Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay. Since the venue is so much smaller, only 100 tickets will be sold for each performance, and tickets must be purchased in advance.
The program includes students at the Julius E. Sprauve School, the Gifft Hill School, the St. John Christian Academy as well as children who are home-schooled. Because of the disruption caused by Hurricane Irma, the program was not offered in 2018, so this year it’s available to fourth graders and to fifth graders who missed out last year.
In addition to giving the children the skills to come together as a team and the confidence to perform on a stage with lights and props, the program serves as a major fundraiser for the SJSA.
There will be two performances at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 5; tickets are $20. There will be an ‘Angel Performance’ on Saturday, April 6; tickets are $50. “Angels are people who financially back Broadway shows,” said Ronnie Lee, a resident of St. John who founded the program in 2011 and has a long history in Broadway theater.
Ticket-holders for the ‘Angel Performance’ will start their evening with a champagne reception at 6 p.m.at the SJSA. The show will begin at 7 p.m. Five notable Cruz Bay restaurants will provide a complimentary glass of wine (or non-alcoholic beverage) to angel ticket-holders who want to dine after the show.
To take advantage of this offer, ticket holders must contact Ronnie Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will make a reservation for them for an 8:30 p.m. seating at Extra Virgin, La Tapa, Lime Inn, Morgan’s Mango or The Terrace. Also, Angel ticket-holders will be given a voucher for free parking at the Lumberyard or Slim Man’s.
In addition to Broadway coming to St. John, the SJSA is promoting St. John Goes to Broadway, a raffle to win two tickets to a preview performance of “Moulin Rouge,” an upcoming Broadway production at the Al Hirschfeld Theater in New York City. Preview performances will be held at the end of June.
The raffle winner will also win $1,000 for airfare and hotel, and dinner for two at Etcetera Etcetera, a trendy restaurant located a block away from the theater. The drawing for the raffle will take place at the Angel Performance on April 6; the winner does not need to be present.
Tickets for all performances and the raffle are on sale between 2 and 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays, on the second floor of the Marketplace on St. John. They are also available through the St. John School of the Arts at 779-4322 or online at the school’s website www.stjohnschoolofthearts.org by clicking the tab at the top for Events and choosing Broadway Comes to St. John.
This year’s show, entitled “Rebuild the Rainbow,” echoes elements of the recovery process following the storms of 2017. Perhaps because the theme has resonated so strongly with the children, the number of participants grew by 20 percent during the first week of rehearsals.
This year, the three-week program is co-directed by two dynamic New York performers, Will Thomason and Andrew Hanley. “I’m mostly a writer, composer and lyricist,” said Hanley. “Will’s also a writer, director and dancer.” Both have worked extensively with school children in New York City — Hanley with Artists Striving to End Poverty and Thomason with Inside Broadway.
The two had only met briefly once before being recruited to work with SJSA, but both said they were excited to see how the children of St. John were stepping out of their comfort zones and showing their talents as they auditioned for individual segments of the show.