Center Stage Seniors

Jarnae Harris2023, Arts, Seniors, Theatre, University, Upper School

St. Luke's center stage performs Mamma Mia.

Showtime for Center Stage Seniors.

orld Theater Day is a day to encourage children to connect to live performances and appreciate the essence, beauty, and importance of theater arts! St. Luke’s offers many theater classes to its Upper School students, including Center Stage for stage actors and Theater Production for theater technology and design enthusiasts. To celebrate World Theater Day, we chatted with Elly Musial and Alex Portella.

Acting can be complex because actors work on their emotions and personalities. Unlike some artists that work with other disciplines to create objects, actors work on themselves to create performances. Theater fans will tell you there is a bit of magic that comes together in theater as with St. Luke’s recent stage production of Mamma Mia. Elly and Alex agree that there are many valuable reasons why students should give Center Stage a try. Acting gives people a voice they would not have otherwise had and it’s a fantastic way to connect with peers and gain confidence with public speaking. While you leave the persona of your character in the dressing room, that exuberant confidence seen on stage finds its way into day-to-day life. Theater is personal and real. It brings people together.

Elly became involved in the arts at a young age, first being exposed to music in KinderMusik as a toddler. As she grew up, she continued to take voice lessons and became a member of the local choir. At the age of 9, she made her debut performance in a production of Annie. Alex became involved in theater in seventh grade in order to join her friends. Her first performance was Cosmic Law during her freshman year.

With years of experience, comes knowledge. Both girls have learned that it’s a MUST to drink water before the curtains rise. Elly says, “It never fails that my throat dries up as soon as I step on stage due to nerves. I’m never as hydrated as I am right before a show.” Alex also takes a few deep breaths to help calm her nerves. (We’ve never thought that either of them appeared nervous in the slightest!)

Now that their final production at St. Luke’s has come to an end, Elly is looking forward to attending Marymount Manhattan College in New York City to further her acting career and will be pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and minoring in Creative Writing. Alex will be attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She does not plan on doing professional theater but would love to continue doing community shows.

Elly and Alex both really appreciate how hard St. Luke’s Center Stage Director, Ms. Ottolino, has worked growing the theater program. And we, the theater fans, will forever appreciate and remember Elly’s and Alex’s great acting as it brought characters to life and allowed us to connect with the stories on deeper levels. It is through their skillful performances that we were moved, entertained, and inspired. Cut!