Dancing With The Stars: Belmont High’s ‘Chicago’ Bring Homes Musical Gold

Photo: The “Chicago” cast in one final pose.

They can tango, do the bunny hop, the shimmy shake, razzle dazzle, and, when need be, perform a reverse standing somersault.

And for all that jazz, the dancers in the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s Spring musical production of “Chicago” walked away with serious bling at the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild’s annual Musical Theater Award Ceremony – think the Tony’s for Bay State high schools – recognizing excellent work by Middle and High Schools on Saturday, June 24.

Nominated in seven categories including the prestigious “Best Overall Production,” BHS PAC took home four awards:

  • Lighting Design and Execution
  • Specialty Ensemble: Featured Dancers
  • Dance: Choreography and Execution
  • Student Orchestra

See a video preview of the show here.

“Congratulations go to all of the cast, crew, and staff who worked on the show. Being nominated for ‘Best Overall Production’ is an honor that is shared by the whole production team for strong work across the board,” said Ezra Flam, “Chicago”s producer/director.

The individual winners are:

  • Lighting Design and Execution: Lighting Designer Chris Fournier, and Lighting Crew Chiefs Addie Leabman (BHS ’17) and Daphne Kaxiras (BHS ’17).
  • Student Orchestra: Band Director Paul Ketchen.
  • Dance Choreography and Execution: Choreographer Jenny Lifson
  • Specialty Ensemble: Featured Dancers: Aidan Hamell, Alex Aleksandrov, Alyssa Bodmer, Alyssa Allen, Amelia Ickes, Andre Ramos, Becca Schwartz, Cheyenne Isaac, Edward Stafford, Elana Chen-Jones, Grace Curtis, Izzy Lazenby, Julia Cunningham, Julia Giatrelis, Kseniya Dzhala, Lennart Nielsen, Liz Biondo, Megan Bodmer, Molly Thomas, Nicole Thoma, Noam Bar-Gill, Raffi Manjikian, Wonyoung Jang and Zoe Armstrong.

“I want to thank to all of the students in the PAC, the parents and community members who support our work and the Belmont faculty and administration,” said Flam.

‘While the recognition for ‘Chicago’ is nice, I am most grateful that I have the wonderful opportunity to run a theater program where the focus is on giving students a strong education in theater and building a community where all students feel welcome and supported,” he said.

At the ceremony, Lea Grace Swinson (BHS ’17) performed “When You’re Good to Mama” to represent the production in the “Best Overall Production” category.

BHS PAC’s ‘Chicago’ Nominated for Best High School Production

Photo: One of the best show’s this year; BHS PAC’s “Chicago”

Belmont High’s Performing Arts Company’s production of the musical “Chicago” has been nominated as one of the top show produced by a high school this year.

Wednesday, May 31, the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild announced nominations for its annual Musical Theater Awards and Chicago was nominated in several categories including:

  • Best Lighting Design and Execution
  • Best Stage Management
  • Best Student Orchestra
  • Best Dance Ensemble
  • Best Specialty Ensemble: The Featured Dancers
  • Best Featured Actress: Miriam Cubstead at Hunyak
  • Best Overall Production

“A huge congratulation goes first and foremost to the entire student cast and crew of the show,” said Ezra Flam, the high school’s Theater Specialist, and “Chicago”‘s Producer/Director

“As the Best Overall Production nomination indicates, every element of our show was strong, not just those that were nominated. It’s a testament to the hard work of all of our students who put so much of their time, energy and passion into the show,” he said.

Forty-eight high schools across the state submitted productions for consideration this year.  Each production was seen by three adjudicators who scored the shows in some categories.  In each category, the five or six highest scoring productions/individuals were nominated for their work, and five shows were selected by a panel as nominees for “Best Overall Production.”

Flam also congratulated and thanked the adults “whose contributions to the show and worked with the PAC is an essential part of what we do” including Allie Lutkevich, Vocal Director;  JennyLifson, Choreographer; Paul Ketchen, Pit Band Director; Chris Fournier, Lighting Designer;  Anna Moss, Scenic Designer; Ian O’Malley, Technical Director; and Lila West, costume designer.

“More than the public recognition, I am proud of the show and of the work of the Performing Arts Company as a whole.  I am lucky to work every day with a wonderful group of students and colleagues,” said Flam.

The MET Award Ceremony will be held June 24 at the Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston. All the nominees are recognized, with an award presented to the top scoring school in each category.