Westfield Show Choir Puts on 'Disney Dazzle'

Westfield Show Choir Puts on 'Disney Dazzle'

Westfield High School choral students are ready to dazzle the community with "Disney Dazzle," a song and dance spectacle highlighting songs from favorite Disney productions that will be presented May 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. in the school's auditorium.

The 50-member cast includes the school's Spotlight Show Choir and other Westfield choral students who were chosen by audition. More than 16 songs will be performed including "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from "Mulan," "When You Wish Upon a Star" from "Pinocchio," "You'll Be in My Heart" from "Tarzan," "God Help the Outcasts" from "Hercules," and "Hakuna Matata" from "The Lion King."

ONE OF THE many highlights of the show is a medley of songs from "Newsies," with the singers dressed as turn-of-the-century newsboys as seen in the Disney film. The performers will be accompanied by a live professional band.

Since January, the "Disney Dazzle" cast has been rehearsing several times a week to create a program that will entertain audiences of all ages. The show features intricate harmonies, challenging choreography, solos by Westfield singers, and a castle set that spans the width of the stage.

"What's really great about the show is that it will appeal to all ages, and is not necessarily geared to children, though children will obviously enjoy it," says Jessica Lardin, Westfield's director of choral studies.

Senior Shannon Holland, 18, is doubling as a performer and co-dance captain, along with Erika Lans, 18. "It's been fun creating dances that match the Disney songs and helping the singers to become characters," Holland said. She choreographed "Written in the Stars," from "Aida."

Many of the cast members are combining their work on "Disney Dazzle" with a host of other activities and academic activities, learning a valuable lesson in time management. Barry Armbruster, 18, who is also playing Curly in "Oklahoma," auditioned for the show because he really wanted the chance to work with his choir friends in a musical review. "I don't normally participate in Show Choir and so this is my chance to sing and dance in this type of production before I graduate," Armbruster said.

ALL-STATE choir member Kevin Manship, 17, is the featured soloist on "I'll Make a Man Out of You," from "Mulan," which features the men in an amusing take on the song, complete with military regalia. Kevin relished the chance to learn new dance skills in the show. He will attend Elon University next year as a musical theater major. "This is been fun because we're learning a lot of different types of dancing, which will help me in my career," Kevin says.

Freshman Alex Kruszewski, 15, is awed by the complexity of the show. "The sets and technical aspects will really add to the quality of everything. I love to perform so this has been a cool experience for me," Alex said.

Brittany Martin, 16, has loved Disney movies and songs since she was a little girl. "I guess I like dancing the most since I do a lot of that with Encore Performers out of school, but I like to sing too," Brittany said. She'll attend the Virginia Governor's School for Performing Arts this summer.

Junior Josh Burke, 17, sees "Disney Dazzle" as a time to spend time with friends. "I like being able to put our own spin on the different Disney characters. It's been a creative process and a fun time," Josh said.

"'Disney Dazzle' music brings back great memories for me. This is the music we grew up with, so I'm really excited to perform all those songs in this show," Nicole Bonfiglio, 18, says, "I'm singing a duet with Kevin Jia — we often sing together because we're both tall," she laughs. She adds that young kids will love the show because they watch the Disney movies over and over and know the music by heart. "And parents will know all the songs because they've heard them too," Nicole, who will attend Virginia Tech next year, said.

Senior Stephanie Woo, 18, said that the cast is ready to put on a fabulous show and she knows that audiences will love it. Stephanie, also bound for Virginia Tech, said that she is sure that all those rehearsals will result in a terrific show.

"'Disney Dazzle' is good, clean family fun," adds Melissa Caskey, 16, a sophomore, who is enjoying her first musical theater experience. She is especially looking forward to wearing the beautiful costumes.