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GMS students headed to NYC theatre camp

These Gilford Middle School theater students will be going back to New York City this summer to take part in Broadway, Jr. From left to right: back row: Ella DeCarli, Maria Uicker, Brenna O'Connor, and Sydney Eastman. Front row: Ella Denney, Carter Laliberte, Addy Wernig, and Hunter Bell. Not pictured is Christina Pingle. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
May 09, 2019
A group of Gilford Middle School students will get a real life Broadway experience after being accepted to a theater camp in New York City for kids across the country.

Hunter Bell, Carter Laliberte, Sydney Eastman, Brenna O'Connor, Ella DeCarli, Maria Uicker, Ella Denney, Addy Wernig, and Christina Pingle recently traveled to New York City to audition for the "Broadway, Jr." theater camp. The annual camp in tests shows written for Broadway, Jr. shows, which will be performed by students across the country. Most of the Broadway, Jr. shows are existing productions adapted for a younger audience.

Theater teacher Matt Demko nominated students to go to New York for the audition, joining other students from across the US.

Most of the GMS students who auditioned have done this before though a number hadn't.

Denney said when she first got there she was really nervous, though when she got into the audition she felt more relaxed than she usually does in a school audition.

Bell also said she was intimidated coming into the experience, but she relaxed once she was there.She said it was one of the best auditions she's had.

"I realized all the kids were in the same situation as us so it kind of comforted me," DeCarli said.

Laliberte said it was comforting going down there with familiar people.

"Being near new people auditioning, it was weird but it was definitely nice," Laliberte said.

O'Connor has done this before and said she was nervous coming in.

"Once we got downstairs and we started warming up with everyone, that went away," she said.

She said it was calming watching others from Gilford taking part.

"It's also nice when you're with new people because you don't know what you're getting into, you don't really know anything about them," Uicker said.

O'Connor said it was overall nice to be back in New York City and going back to the building she has gone to before.

"I remember how nervous I was for my first year, so I liked giving advice to them like, 'Its okay you'll be great,'" O'Connor said.

Out of the students who had never done Broadway, Jr. before, it was the first time in new York City for a few of them as well.

Laliberte said he was scared of getting mugged, though after spending some time in the city that fear relaxed. Some highlights included finding some great boba tea and a hotel elevator that scanned their keycards.

Eastman said so many people were there.

One common experience were seeing the people in character costumes in Times Square.

All of the students who auditioned got parts and will return to New York this summer. There are some nerves going into this summer.

"I'm scared to death," DeCarli said. "There are a lot of people I don't know and that's what scares me the most."

Bell said she's more nervous about being in New York in general.

Those who have done this before said they did make friends with other students. Uicker said going down with friends means they aren't really alone. She has made friends in different years of the camp. Eastman said she started this afraid she wasn't going to make friends.

"Suddenly in a snap you just make a friend," Eastman said.

O'Connor said she still has an online group chat with the friends she has made in previous years.

"Making friends is kind of hard but also really easy," O'Connor said.

Wernig said she is nervous, but excited for this experience. This show in New York will be her third ever time being in a show.

"It's going to be scary making new friends, but I'd definitely like to make some new friends especially in New York so I can't wait to be inside the show," Laliberte said.

Garnett Hill
Parker Village
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