By Janee Law
Students from Huntington-based theater group From Stage to Screen Performing Arts Academy commanded the stage at Five Towns College on July 22 as they dazzled the audience for the ninth annual Summer Intensive program, performing “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
“The show was fantastic,” Gene Forman, program director and director of “Legally Blonde,” said. “It had a live band, full sets costume, sound, it was like Broadway shows for kids.
The performance, held at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center at Five Towns College, follows a four-week program, during which students study 18 master classes with different professionals in the performing arts industry.
“The first half of the day is spent taking master classes and the other half is spent rehearsing the show,” Forman, of Greenlawn, said. “They have to put up a full blown musical in 16 days.”
Classes include scene study, musical theatre, acting for film, stage combat and improvisation.
With 400 students enrolled at the academy, there were 48 kids ranging ages 9-18 cast in the production.
Julia DeVita, 15, who played the role of Elle Woods, said it was tough to put the performance together in a short time, but it was worth it.
“It was very rewarding, and it was a fun role,” DeVita, of Centerport, said. “It’s really fun whether you’re in a small role or a big role and you make a lot of good friends.”
DeVita added that, although she gets nervous on stage, she enjoys performing with her friends because it helps her grow as a person and a performer.
“They’re all so great, they’re so supportive and we all just want to make sure we’re having fun too,” she said. “I just have to know that I’m sticking to my gut and I have all my friends up there with me.”
Forman said additional shows last Friday and the following evening both received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Parents were also offered the opportunity to have some fun, producing their own, adult production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” on July 23.
“The adults did their own production of the musical because they’ve been watching their kids perform for so many years that they asked me if we would ever consider a show, and one of my seniors offered to direct it,” Forman said. “It was awesome.”
The academy, which is located at 589 West Jericho Turnpike, offers classes year round from September to June.
“I think they do a very good job making sure it’s not only a great production but they make sure you grow and learn,” DeVita said. “They really care about you and they want you to grow as a person and a performer."