Northeast Times

Local students present a musical revue Dec. 13 at Kimmel Center

Kev­in Guz­man

This Fri­day even­ing, Dec. 13, youth­ful tal­ent will be on dis­play at the Kim­mel Cen­ter.

More than 40 area stu­dents in grades nine through 12 will present a mu­sic­al re­vue that show­cases their tal­ents in singing, dan­cing and act­ing.

This free per­form­ance is the cul­min­a­tion of an after-school pro­gram called Show Stop­pers, sponsored by the Kim­mel Cen­ter Edu­ca­tion De­part­ment.

Two of the par­ti­cipants are North­east res­id­ents. They are Bri­an­nie Mir­anda, 17, a Holmes­burg res­id­ent and 11th-grader at the Frank­lin Learn­ing Cen­ter, and Kev­in Guz­man, 17, a Castor Gar­dens res­id­ent and seni­or at the Phil­adelphia High School for the Cre­at­ive and Per­form­ing Arts.

Au­di­tions were re­quired, and both stu­dents were de­lighted to be ac­cep­ted in­to the pro­gram.

“I thought, ‘Wow! I get to per­form at the Kim­mel Cen­ter,’ ” re­called Kev­in.

For Bri­an­nie, there was also the “wow” factor.

“I was very ex­cited,” she said. “This seemed like the first step to my dream.”

She has big dreams in­deed - she hopes to per­form on Broad­way some day. The ini­tial ex­cite­ment was fol­lowed by weekly after-school ses­sions with teach­ing artists. Then came re­hears­als at the Kim­mel Cen­ter.

The re­vue they re­hearsed is an ori­gin­al work by teach­ing artist Jen­nifer Blaine, whose spe­cialty is put­ting fo­cus on so­cially rel­ev­ant top­ics through com­edy.

Al­though the show is fic­tion­al, the theme is in­deed rel­ev­ant for these stu­dents. It deals with the ef­fects of budget cuts on an ima­gin­ary school.

“It takes place in an ima­gin­ary city, but it’s based on real is­sues,” said Kev­in. “All of this happened to us, so it’s a re­mind­er of our own struggles be­cause of budget cuts. I hope it makes the audi­ence more aware of how these cuts af­fect us here in Phil­adelphia.”

He plays a news re­port­er who in­ter­views stu­dents about their feel­ings con­cern­ing the budget cuts and the ef­fects on their schools.

But all this is done in the con­text of a spir­ited mu­sic­al that in­cludes singing and dan­cing. The songs, ex­plains Kev­in, are ad­ap­ted from mu­sic­al shows. One such song is Corner of the Sky from the mu­sic­al Pip­pin. For this, Kev­in and two oth­er stu­dent per­formers each have a solo. For an­oth­er num­ber, he sings in four-part har­mony.

Bri­an­nie, too, is a ver­sat­ile per­former for this re­vue.

“I play a stu­dent who acts very up­pity,” she said.

But she also sings and dances.

The stu­dents began their pre­par­a­tion for the show in Oc­to­ber, and it was a chal­lenge to get everything ready for the Dec. 13 per­form­ance while still keep­ing up with home­work and as­sign­ments.

“We only met once a week and we had to learn the lines, songs and the cho­reo­graphy in a very lim­ited time,” said Bri­an­nie.

But both these stu­dents are troupers who can surely meet the chal­lenges.

Bri­an­nie was barely 5 when she fell in love with West Side Story.

“I was ob­sessed with it,” she said. “I wanted to be just like An­ita.”

Her fam­ily has videos of young Bri­an­nie dan­cing, singing and even act­ing.

By the time she star­ted high school, the as­pir­ing per­former was ready for the stage. In her fresh­man year, she landed the lead in Teen An­gel. Since then, she’s been cast in nine oth­er school shows. 

The Show Stop­pers will be her first ex­per­i­ence per­form­ing at the Kim­mel Cen­ter. The stu­dents will be on the stage of the Perel­man Theat­er, one of two theat­ers in­side Kim­mel Cen­ter.

ldquo;In third grade, our class went to the Kim­mel Cen­ter to see a Christ­mas show,” said Bri­an­nie. “Now it’s ex­cit­ing to know that I’m go­ing to be on that same stage.”

Like Bri­an­nie, Kev­in’s in­terest in mu­sic began at an early age.

“As a child, I listened to my dad play­ing the bass in a band. The mu­sic soun­ded beau­ti­ful, and it in­spired me to want to be­come a mu­si­cian.”

Later, he be­came in­volved in var­ied mu­sic­al activ­it­ies, in­clud­ing singing with the Phil­adelphia All City Choir. He’s per­formed in all the mu­sic­als put on at his high school, and he’s also a mem­ber of a stu­dent band called Blue Crim­son.

The busy stu­dent-mu­si­cian, who is His­pan­ic and speaks flu­ent Span­ish, also is in­volved in pro­du­cing His­pan­ic mu­sic with a group of stu­dents.

“The lyr­ic­al vocab­u­lary of Span­ish mu­sic is so beau­ti­ful,” he said.

Both Bri­an­nie and Kev­in are eagerly look­ing for­ward to Fri­day even­ing’s per­form­ance, the in­aug­ur­al one for Show Stop­pers. Both are de­lighted to have been par­ti­cipants in the pro­gram.

“It’s been a great ex­per­i­ence,” said Kev­in. “You get to work with stu­dents who are very tal­en­ted, and you learn from them. Then you can ap­ply what you learn and be­come a bet­ter per­former.”

“I’ve met such amaz­ing stu­dents,“ agreed Bri­an­nie. “It’s a very tal­en­ted group. And it’s been in­spir­ing to see how every­one put this show to­geth­er.” ••

IF YOU GO …

A mu­sic­al re­vue, presen­ted by stu­dents in the Kim­mel Cen­ter’s Show Stop­pers mu­sic­al theat­er pro­gram, takes place this Fri­day even­ing, at 7 p.m., at Kim­mel Cen­ter.

For in­form­a­tion on Show Stop­pers pro­gram, vis­it kim­mel­cen­ter.org/edu­ca­tion/showstop­pers.php

You can reach at rrovner@aol.com.

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