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Southern Florida by John Lariviere


Rising Star 07

The New World School of the Arts presents their "Rising Star" concert each year to showcase the talents of their college and high school students and faculty. The presentation allows family, friends and supporters of the program to enjoy the diverse offerings of the school in a professional setting followed by a gala reception.

The evening's program honored exiting New World School of the Arts principal Ellery Brown and "2007 Alumnus of the Year Award" recipient Wen-Shuan Yang. The selections for this performance were:

Musical Theatre:
"Another Op'nin', Another Show" from Kiss Me, Kate
"Brush Up Your Shakespeare" from Kiss Me Kate
"Real Big News" from Parade
"Kiss Me Kate" from Kiss Me, Kate

Dance:
Esplanade (Excerpts)
Vespers For Frida Kahlo (Excerpts)
The 6th Beginnings
Oxossi - The Divine Hunter
Primate
New Old World (Excerpts)

Drama:
Lysistrata
Life On Mars
Act 1 Scene 8 Angels in America Part I: Millenium Approaches

Instrumental:
"Dance of the Hours" from La Gioconda
"Apollo Unleashed" from Ticheli's Symphony No. 2

Choral
"Rodgers and Hammerstein on Broadway" medley arranged by Mac Huff.

The dance department clearly excels in modern and lyrically forms. Oxossi - The Divine Hunter, Primate and excerpts from Esplanade were all well choreographed and executed. The 6th Beginnings was memorably uncompelling, however, and one classical ballet piece would have been a welcome addition to the dance offerings. As in many dance departments, the number of well trained females far outweighs the number of males.

The instrumental selections of the evening were played with fun and passion. It is clear that the members are completely engaged in what they are doing as an ensemble. The choral selection did not equal the instrumental ones in level of difficulty, but was none-the-less pleasant. Included in the Rodgers and Hammerstein medley was an arrangement of "You'll Never Walk Alone" written in a pop style similar to what one would expect from Christina Aguilera. This featured solo, filled with ornamental pop licks, is a disappointing substitute for what should be a resilient voice able to sustain the legato line and dramatic vocal ending to this piece that is its selling point.

Audience favorites from the musical theatre category were "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and "Kiss Me, Kate." The arrangement of "Another Op'nin', Another Show" felt too contemporary in style alongside the other two numbers from Kiss Me, Kate and was undertempo for the energetic opening of a show. The number from Parade had great energy and staging but suffered from diction problems, as one could not understand the ensemble at times.

While the scene from Lysistrata was weak with poor projection and diction, and actors upstaging themselves, the scene from Angels In America was strong and mature. Scenes from Life On Mars, dispersed throughout the show, were perfectly placed to balance the showcase. This one-man play was so cleverly written and entertainingly performed that it became the theatrical jewel of the evening.

The New World School Of The Arts presented Rising Stars 07 on March 16, 2007 at the Gusman Center in downtown Miami, Florida. The New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a Center of Excellence in the visual and performing arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida. For more information on the New World School of the Arts, you may contact them by phone at 305/ 237-3135, on line at www.mdc.edu/nwsa/.


See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere



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