Following a year of returns to the McAneny Theater, the Upper School students were the last to step on stage and wow audiences with their recent performances of Ranked, A Musical.
Stan Cahill, Director of Performing & Fine Arts/Design and US Theater productions says, "It was great to get back onstage after a two and a half year hiatus. Thanks to the entire community for celebrating our return; and a special thanks to the cast and crew who stuck with the project, even as we navigated an ever-changing schedule."
Scheduling conflicts didn’t slow down the amazing team behind this production. Edgar Mariano, Middle and Upper School Music Teacher, worked with students as their vocal coach on this production. Reflecting on the show, Mariano explains, “Despite all of the time and effort put into this show, I would say Ranked was the easiest to work on as a vocal director. The performers are incredibly talented, diverse in their vocal styles and are hardworking. They learned music quickly and when they had trouble, they put in the extra time to make sure they had it by the next rehearsal. One of my favorite vocal numbers was "Not Today", which highlighted three freshman soloists. This number proves that PDS Theater is in good hands as there is plenty of young talent!”
“Ranked” program, front and back pages
The student performers’ talent at PDS was certainly on full display. From choreography to difficult vocal numbers, each actor shone on stage during their individual and group performances. Check out these three student reflections about their experiences with Ranked!
“Ranked” program, interior pages
“This show has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. I was challenged to embody a character that I relate to in more ways than one, which was a very vulnerable and unique opportunity. Without having PDS theater, or any theater, for two years due to COVID only reinforced my belief that the performing arts are incredibly important in society. The connection theater provides between people is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, and on behalf of all the cast and crew of Ranked, we created magic. I am proud to have participated in a show with a strong message about academics and its effect on the mental health of teens. It’s nice to know that we started a conversation about something that impacts so many young people, and I’d like to thank our audiences, from all ages and backgrounds, for listening.” Laurel Masciantonio ’23
“Out of all the shows I’ve done at PDS, Ranked has been my favorite to work on. After a 7 month long production period, the cast pulled together like a real family and put on an incredible show. The energy backstage every night was incredible, and every time I went out on stage, I could feel the love and support of the cast and crew holding each other up. I’m so incredibly proud of the work we did on this musical, and I’m personally incredibly proud of myself and the progress that we’ve made over the course of our four years in PDS Theatre. This show also had a large number of seniors, and closing night felt like such an incredible way for us to leave the program in the hands of such capable and talented actors behind us. After two and a half years of not being able to perform on the McAneny stage, Ranked was a blessing and an experience I’ll never forget.” Joe Lippman ’22
“Working on this musical was such a cathartic, beautifully timed experience. I found a lot of myself in my character, and allowed the very real emotions that come from grieving while being a student to shine through in my portrayal of him. Performing was bittersweet, as this was my final time on the McAneny stage as an actor, but it was a perfect show to close out with.” - Andre Williams ’22