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 St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School, hosted by former Teenys winner and professional dancer Ryan Rodiño.
Last year’s spring musical was canceled due to the pandemic, but this year the drama students were able to put on a Broadway revue, featuring many upbeat numbers from popular musicals.
Augusto, a student who had been cast as Scarecrow in the canceled production of “The Wiz,” was overjoyed that the show would go on this year.
“What’s so important for me was that my parents in their country never got the chance to do the arts,” he said. “They’ve always pushed me to do the arts...it makes me proud to be doing this for them.”
Another student, Catherine, missed not being able to share her talents last year and poured her focus into this year’s production.
“When you think about a musical or a production, it’s something that takes months and months to prepare,” she said, “but if you have a team of really dedicated and hardworking individuals, you can put on an incredible show...in just a couple weeks.”
Theater student Jenna is involved in the musical every year and is co-president of the drama club.
“The musical has always been really loving and welcoming, like a second family,” Jenna said.
Kaitlyn feels the same, calling this year’s production one of the best experiences of her life, despite the challenges of mounting a show safely during a pandemic.
“In the end, we all came together and not only worked as a cast, but worked as a family,” Kaitlyn said. “We were able to really put on a great show and I'm really proud of it.”
Vincent Whitfield has produced the last 11 spring musicals at St. John the Baptist’s. The school’s musical theater program debuted in 1969 and has been going strong ever since.
“We planned and planned and decided to do something a little bit smaller this year, and put on a phenomenal Broadway revue,” Whitfield said. “If there’s one thing I've learned about our students over the years is not only how incredibly gifted and talented they are, but how resilient they are as well.”
Congratulations, St. John the Baptist Class of 2021! To see the full Teenys program, including clips from “Seussical,” “Cabaret,” “Matilda,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and “Hairspray,” student interviews, 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.