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Shelter Island spring musical dazzles at the school

What could possibly follow an earthquake and an eclipse on our Island?

Possibly a miracle, as in “Miracle in the Park,” the new musical presented by the Shelter Island School Drama Club this past weekend.

Miracle refers to the title, but not the production — that is more like magic, which unfolds thanks to weeks of hard work, talent, skilled writing, directing and guidance for the young performers.

When that combination meets the spark of enthusiastic appreciation from the audience of family, friends and neighbors, a magical explosion indeed occurs, as happened when John Kaasik’s original play was staged on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon, to accommodate the popular demand.

The show shined a spotlight on the cast of young performers, mostly high-schoolers, with some notable exceptions. Nicholas Labrozzi, an alum, returned in the central role of Max Wendel, a homeless man literally at the heart of the story.

Several cast members played multiple roles, acting, singing and dancing in original numbers. Through John Kaasik’s direction and Laura Dickerson’s choreography, this ensemble brought to life the story of a community realizing the beautiful gift of kindness: Liam Sobejana, Eli Green, Alexis Bartilucci, Sadie Green-Clark, Rosie Hanley, Kylie Kuhr Leonard, Brookelyn Gulluscio, Ari Waife, Henry Springer, Kaitlyn Gulluscio, Mackenzie Speece, Madison Quinn Sobejana, Elsie Mae Brigham, Juliana Medina, Lily Brigham, Nathan Cronin, Lily Potter and Lionardo Napoles.

The cast spent weeks being guided, coached and encouraged to give their best by dedicated volunteers, in addition to the director and choreographer. This year, they included producer Anu Kaasik, vocal director Sara Mundy and drama coach Susan Cincotta.     

The annual production would not be possible without the small army behind the scenes,  including stage manager Harper Congdon and stage crew Alfie Brigham, Betsaida Campos, Daniel J Hernandez, Susanne Kane, Michael Kotula, Elliott Schack and Byron Vasquez.

The set artist and designer of the poster and playbill cover is Peter Waldner. Costumes were designed and produced by the team of Julia Brennan, Anu Kaasik, and Laura Dickerson.

The Kaasik family are the secret to the spring musical’s success, with Marcus helping John (who spent his spare time on set design and construction) with lighting; Anu handling sound and assisting with program and publicity as well as costumes; Johanna on microphones; Karl serving as videographer and the indispensable Humor Consultant.

All-important sales were handled by the box-office team of Lisa Goody, Susan Cronin, Eda Kaasik and Jane Roberts.

And thanks to the enthusiastic ticket buyers who filled the school auditorium, the sound of applause let the cast and dedicated team know how deeply their successful alchemy was appreciated.