January 10, 1014
Drama is fast approaching and I would like to take this opportunity to share some background information about our program and some details that will help everyone moving forward.
First, would like to share with you how drama came to be at BJAMS. Back in 1999, our drama teacher Richela Renkun Fusco began teaching two classes per week, way back when our school was housed in the Crosby Center over at Holy Cross Church for our upper school students. Shortly thereafter, our then-language arts teacher Mrs. Nolan was looking for a way to make Shakespeare “come alive.” She enlisted the help of Richela Renkun Fusco (mother of Giovanni, ’08) to lend a hand. Mrs. Nolan was familiar with Richela’s background in drama as an NYU graduate with concentrations in both theatre and education. What she may not have known initially is how experienced Richela is in working with students and adults in both theatre and movie productions. Not only does Richela have the degrees to support her work here, she has extensive experience with acting and film production. She reads and edits movie scripts and does casting work with her husband, John, who is a world-famous writer and producer. Richela has close to thirty years of experience in this field and we jumped at the chance to have her work with our students!
Richela rolled up her sleeves and dug right in that first year, helping to create BJAMS’ first-ever production. This production was well-received by the entire community and a drama program was born! Each year, the program grew a little more, resulting in a very positive reputation both within our school community and beyond. Drama has had an incredible impact on our students – and those who have been part of our BJAMS drama program have gone on to their high schools and have earned lead roles (LUHS, St. Johnsbury Academy, and Rice, just to name a few!) in nearly every production for which they have auditioned! These students have also enjoyed the benefits of drama: poise, confidence, execution, interpretation of literature, empathy, point of view, and perspective. Additionally, the educational perspective is vital; Shakespeare, after all, was meant to be seen and not read!
What’s more is that Richela works at our school as a volunteer. She has never asked for, nor has she ever received, any monetary compensation. She funds the entire production of each play: the costumes, lighting, make-up, staging, play copyrights, snacks, transportation, drama outings, music, and the DVDs. The ticket prices and DVD sales do not even come close to putting a dent in all she contributes!
Fast forward to this year’s production. We will need your help! We will need some folks to volunteer their time to supervise structured study halls during auditions and regular practice, assist backstage at our March production, lend a hand with various tasks during drama practice, and healthy snack assistance. Can we count on you? I hope so!
Please plan to attend a mandatory parent meeting on January 31st at 3:15 pm to learn how our drama program will run. It’s important that we share this information at the start of drama and give parents the chance to ask questions and learn about what makes this program shine! The meeting will be brief – please mark your calendars now!
The school published the drama schedule for the month of January in this week’s Friday Notes; but in case you missed it, here it is again:
January 13 & 14 Drama auditions 3:15-6:00
January 15 Drama callbacks 3:15-5:30
January 21 – 24 Rehearsals 3:15-5:30
January 27-30 Rehearsals 3:15-5:30
January 31 Mandatory Parent Meeting 3:15-4:00
I look forward to another spectacular production of the BJAMS drama program! See you on the 31st!
Head of School