Summer at Crossroads’ Musical Theater Program Goes All Out Online
Two-act performance showcases diverse talents from a distance.
“Clap for them!” exulted co-director and choreographer Fred Pinto as he introduced the Summer at Crossroads musical theater production on July 17. Fred and co-director Ronnie Anderson have been producing summer musicals for years, but there had never been a show quite like this one. Debuted on Zoom to over 100 attendees, the two-act performance featured a cast of 13 rising Middle and Upper Schoolers who proved how successful an online show can be.
Soon after Summer at Crossroads announced the program would be held entirely online this year, Ronnie and Fred came across the newly released “The Show Must Go Online.” With a book by Jessica Penzias, lyrics by David Hudson and music by Denver Casado, the musical is about a group of children who save their drama department by producing an online version of a dental hygiene-themed show-within-a-show called “Brushes With Greatness.” As this musical was geared toward younger performers, Ronnie and Fred developed a second act to highlight the Upper Schoolers’ talents as well.
“We chose songs where the kids could express themselves either vocally or through dance,” said Ronnie of the second act. “We truly went out of our way to highlight every performer so each cast member felt special and part of an amazing group of young actors.”
Over just three short weeks, the cast not only rehearsed their songs and choreography but also enjoyed virtual guest instruction from professional Broadway and Hollywood actors, including Rachel Eskenazi-Gold ’11 ("Phantom of the Opera"). Then, Crossroads summer instructor Caitlin Tortorici ’05 and the students collaborated to edit the performances together.
“What I enjoyed most about the show was seeing everyone put their personality into their scenes,” noted performer and rising ninth grader Bodhi-Lala Rosen.
Bodhi’s classmate Sofia Trejo was also impressed with her fellow actors. She added, “Unlike real theater, these videos are forever, and they needed to be outstanding. All we wanted was to make the show amazing, and I’m sure we did just that!”
Watch the Summer at Crossroads musical theater performance here.