Bright Lights at Seven Angels
Nancy Sasso Janis
- Connecticut OnStage Critic
- Connecticut Critics Circle
Waterbury, CT - Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury CT presented their annual Bright Lights performances this weekend at the theatre in Hamilton Park. The theme of this year’s 22nd anniversary production was Angels in the Outfield. Bright Lights is an uplifting and positive program that lets young performers ages 10-18 perform songs, dances, and skits in a professional environment as it fosters their love for theatre. Seven Angels believes that the show produces passionate, professional young performers. In that spirit, this year’s show included three Bright Lights “All Star” alumni in the show.
The production team for Bright Lights included Mandy Leigh Thompson as both the writer and director, Leah Juliett as her assistant and Paul Tine as musical director. Brandon Cook was production and technical director, Nina Paganucci served as choreographer with Brianna Cavallo as her assistant, and Matt Martin as sound designer. The orchestra included Mark Ryan on percussion and Mr. Tine on keyboard. The scenery was painted by Dan Husvar and he also did the props.
Ms. Thompson called the production more than a variety show, since it was tied together with themes of baseball and togetherness. The cast wore identical baseball shirts with 7A on their backs and white caps once they decided as a group to compete in a baseball game to bring attention to their summer workshop.
The first act opened with the entire cast performing “One” from ‘A Chorus Line.’ A very funny duet by alumni Alex Niatopsky and Michael Ramalho was “You and Me But Mostly Me.” Christina Finkenzeller sang “I’m the Greatest Star” like a star and Meghan Booth, Marissa White, and alum Leah Juliett rocked on “Change the World.” The act ended with “Whipped Into Shape” from ‘Legally Blonde’ by the full cast and select dancers.
Throughout both acts were commercials with featured actors, dance numbers with student choreography and well-done solos.
The second act opened with Mr. Niatopsky doing “What You’d Call a Dream.” Mr. Ramalho performed a beautiful rendition of “Beautiful City” from the updated version of ‘Godspell’ and Mary Ryan did a superb “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Naugatuck’s Kathleen Dowling displayed her amazing singing voice with “Out Here On My Own,” and “Your Heart WIll Lead You Home.” You go, Kathleen!
The 90-minute show ended with a stirring rendition of “I Believe” complete with sign language by the full cast, followed by “I Got You.”
The cast of Bright Lights included Meghan Booth, Brianna Cochran, Kathleen Dowling, Zachary Fareira, Brianna Feliciano, Christina Finkenzeller, Linda Jimmo, Jakob Kelsey, Emily Lungarini, Anthony Marchetti, Sophia Modica, Zachary Petrarca, Ariel Pierre, Michael Ramalho, Noah Ryan, Mary Ryan, Alisha Tedesco, Julia Thies, Nicole Thomas, Dalmir Tupkusic and Marissa White.
Photo of the cast by Seven Angels