Hometown Weekly Correspondent
The Wellesley Performing Arts students’ fall musical production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot” was a huge hit with audiences who were treated to four hilarious, nearly-sold-out performances.
“Directing was very difficult, but I learned so much in the process that it helped me become a better actor,” said senior Ryan Magrisi, who was the student director and played Lancelot for one cast. “Spamalot” marked Magrisi’s directorial debut. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything,” he continued.
Some students were new to the spotlight altogether, while others are veterans of the stage. Senior Lydia Tusler acted in “Beauty and the Beast,” “What’s Fair is Fair,” “Sweeney Todd,” and last year’s one act plays. “This show was a lot of fun,” she said of this year’s experience. “Such a great show for the actors we have.” She credited the students’ “great connections on and off stage” for helping the performances to come together so well.
Senior Kai Wilson, another veteran of the stage, played the role of Sir Bors in all four productions. The role required a great deal of physicality. When asked if it was difficult to perform the many flips and physical acting scenes required for the role, Kai replied: “I do a lot of physical stunt work as a hobby for my YouTube videos, and it was a nice transition to bring my skills to the stage.”
Senior Jessica Cheng, who played Concorde for four performances, was another veteran with two previous WHS fall musical productions under her belt. “When I performed for the first audience on Thursday, it was great to see and hear the laughs,” she said. “Mrs. Sullivan has done such an amazing job - we are proud of her.”
Senior Liliana Sydorenko, who played Lady of the Lake for two performances, displayed the depths of her talent and rich performing history. For the role of Lady of the Lake, the actor portrayed a diva, and her powerful vocals, comedic presence, and dramatic flair had the audience convinced that she was a college actor or hired actor; her stage presence and performance were deemed every bit the equal of a more mature actor.
In addition to the many talented senior actors, two juniors gave powerful performances. With several senior performing arts students leaving to pursue other endeavors at year’s end, it is likely audiences will get to see more of both Sydney Braunstein, who played The Lady of the Lake for two performances, and Keith Robinson, who played King Arthur. The two actors are no strangers to the stage, and both put forth excellent performances, showing growth and maturity that are sure to enrich the performing arts program.
If you missed the WHS production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” the Wellesley Schools Performing Arts Department has a full offering of exciting performances on the calendar in November and December, including WMS’ fall musical, “Aladdin, Jr.,” from November 29 through December 1. For show dates, times, locations, and ticket information, along with a complete calendar of upcoming events, visit www.wellesleypops.org.