The Teenys are back! For 12 years, the Islip Arts Council’s Teeny Awards have celebrated local high school theatre students and given them a platform to show off their tremendous talents. This year’s multi-part virtual celebration, called “Islip Arts Council’s Teenys Revisited,” continues with East Islip High School, hosted by former Teenys coordinator Brianna Coccio.
On the cutting edge this year, East Islip High School was among one of the first schools to stage the newly licensed “Anastasia the Musical.”
Marie, a senior, played the title character, Anya, also known as the Grand Duchess Anastasia.
“I didn’t even know we were going to be doing a show at all, but if we were going to do a show, I wanted it to be something uplifting,” Marie said.
She was thrilled to play a lead role in the show and the experience has inspired her to pursue musical theatre as a career.
Aiden, a junior, played Gleb Vaganov in the show, a role created for the Broadway production of the beloved animated musical.
“Expressing yourself is a main part of life,” he said. “It helps you show people who you are.”
Playing Anya’s love interest Dmitry, theatre student Andrew agrees that expressing yourself creatively is an important part of life.
“I think that we had some really great performances this year ー some of our best in any year, regardless of the pandemic,” Andrew said. “I'm very proud of what we did this year.”
Tenth-grader Tristan, who played the role of Vlad Popov, acknowledged the challenges of producing a musical amid pandemic concerns.
“The biggest one was definitely social distancing. All choreography had to be separated. We couldn’t even hug for romantic scenes,” Tristan said. “It was difficult, but it was fun.”
Chorus and theatre teacher Bethany Affelt couldn’t be prouder of what her students accomplished this year. In the fall, she led a virtual production of a monologue-heavy play called “10 Ways to Survive Life In a Quarantine.”
“This past spring, I was so thankful to be able to put on a full-scale production of ‘Anastasia the Musical,’” Affelt said. “It was definitely challenging.”
Students relied on tape boxes on the stage to maintain the proper spacing and clear masks to contain respiratory droplets while allowing facial expressions to be seen. The pit orchestra pre-recorded the music safely distanced.
Many teachers in the school pitched in to make the production happen, including band, orchestra, art, and video production. It was a real group effort.
“I’m so grateful that we were able to do it and very thankful to work in a district where we have that level of support,” Affelt said. “I’m so happy to be here in East Islip...where the arts are heavily valued.”
Congratulations, East Islip Class of 2021! To see the full Teenys program, including scenes from “Anastasia,” interviews with students, and more, click the video above.
The 2021 Islip Arts Council Teenys Revisited is made possible by the support of Suffolk County, Five Towns College, The Rotary Club of Islip, and from viewers like you. Please visit isliparts.org and make a donation so that we can continue to keep the arts alive in our community.