BWW Blog: Christopher Panella - Adios, 2016! My Favorite Moments
2016 is officially ending, and while much of the year was filled with major upsets (RIP David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Carrie, Alan Rickman, and many others) and some seriously stressful moments (2016 presidential election, I'm looking at you!), the year had bright moments too! Thus, I run through a few of my favorite moments of 2016.
2016 began with Fort Lauderdale High School's Stageplayers performing at Walt Disney World. This February event was one of the highlights of my high school theater career. Aside from meeting business professionals, participating in workshops, and receiving career advice, the Stageplayers performed at Disney Springs, gaining real experience. This amazing opportunity granted the Stageplayers with a workshop and performance certification and promoted our drama club to the next level. In March, we showed our audiences just how professional we were with "Seussical: The Musical." (You can watch "Seussical: The Musical" at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5gTbsvF26g ) The colorful and eccentric mainstage was utterly fantastic and a musical experience unlike any other. With vibrant sets, defining performances (Esther Reyes, I'm talking about you!) and dedication from the best crew in the world (Gabriela Cornejo, your leadership and lighting made this production happen!), "Seussical" was a message that the Stageplayers could do so much more than a high school musical.
The next few months were full of Stageplayer performances from our audition-only, exclusive American Musical Theatre class. AMT performed across Broward County and South Florida, leading into the summer and fall of 2016. Some highlighted performances include the Fort Lauderdale High School National Anthem performances of May 2016 and the Constitution Day performance of September 2016. The fall of 2016 featured a packed schedule for the Stageplayers, as "The Drowsy Chaperone" began rehearsals, our Thespian troupe began preparing for competition, and our AMT class began performing and fundraising for different state and national trips.
In December 2016, our Thespian troupe, Troupe 6912, earned a total of 24 superiors (the highest per-capita in District 7!) at our District competition and 19 excellents. Thespian competition is never easy; it's a long day of performing against talented solos and groups. Troupe 6912 came out on top and will head to the Florida Thespian State Festival in 2017 (my second time heading to the State Festival!) to compete with Thespians from across the state. In the span of a few weeks, the same group of talented Stageplayers performed "The Drowsy Chaperone," a musical-within-a-comedy. The cast and crew spent months tackling the mature and hilarious production and it was well worth the effort.
You can watch "The Drowsy Chaperone" below!
"The Drowsy Chaperone" was my last Fort Lauderdale High School mainstage and I can safely say it was the most challenging production we've done.
2016 was a rollercoaster. I am grateful for many things this year gave me (for instance, the opportunity to be a BroadwayWorld student blogger!) and despite its not-so-fun moments, it's been a year to remember. I hope your 2016 was memorable and I hope 2017 will be much better. Happy New Year!