Thursday, March 28, 2013

Manatee Players not the only thespians in the news this week

Manatee and Lakewood Ranch students. (provided photo)
Lakewood Ranch and Manatee high school students. (provided photo)

A performance of Miss Saigon will inaugurate the opening of the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton tonight.

The Manatee Players are big news this week with long anticipated opening of the new theater.

Also making some drama news are students from Lakewood Ranch High School, Manatee School for the Arts and Manatee High School.

Each of the schools was represented in Tampa at the International Thespian Society Florida State Thespian Festival . . . and did very well.

It was a friendly competition. The teachers from each school have close personal relationships. How close? Roxane Caravan of Lakewood Ranch is the mother of Katy Knowles of Manatee High School. Roxanne is also close friends with Pat Ross of Manatee School for the Arts.

We don't have all the results yet, but as we get them we'll add to the blog post.

Here's what Roxane told us:

"Our students represented Lakewood Ranch High School, Manatee County, and our district thespians in a outstanding way both from a behavioral standpoint and competitively speaking. We also were chosen to participate in a master class and exhibition flying performance based on the theme of the festival "The Greatest Show on Earth" and our students became part of a circus performance which included aerial flying.

"It was pretty spectacular to see these kids flying through the air.  Video to come! Please congratulate these students on a job well done. All students performing received at least 1-4 superior ratings from their performances.  So very proud of their work!

"The cast and crew of "Nuncrackers" received straight 'superior" ratings on their one act performance.
Channing Weir received straight "superior" ratings on her solo musical and she auditioned for scholarship money and was chosen as one of the 14 scholarship recipients in the state of Florida out of hundreds and was awarded $1,000," Roxane said.

Other Lakewood Ranch results:

Lakewood Ranch's Small Group Musical "She's in Love" from Disney's "The Little Mermaid Jr."  received straight "superior" ratings.

Large Group Musical "Run Freedom Run" from "Urinetown" received "excellent" ratings.

Duet Acting "DMV Tyrant" received "excellent" ratings.

Ensemble Acting "Playwriting 101" received "excellent" ratings.

Costume Construction "Seussical the Musical" received "excellent" ratings.

Among the Lakewood Ranch students were: Kasey Blanco, Katie Ciemniecki, Melina Cuffaro, Rebekah Frey, Sabrina Gallien, Justina Gomez-Guadalupe, Rachel Gross, Joseph Grosso, Jalbelly Guzman, Kylee McKinney, Kristen Mendez, Cassandra Rankin, Kylee Risdon, Jillian Smith, Ciara Vitaioli,
Ethan Weaver, and Channing Weir.

Patricia Ross of Manatee School for the Arts reported her results:

"As a result of attending the District 6 Competition that was in October (schools from Bradenton to Naples) Nick Drivas,  of MSA was selected from all 997 kids attending to represent District 6.  Nick does a performance of Bring Him Home from Les Miserables  If  you have ever been to the Straz in Tampa you know how magnificent that theater is. It was an overwhelming experience to see one of our students take that stage as a soloist and receive a standing ovation from 5,000 people, not once but twice!!

"One of our Costume students Ardelia MacPhail constructed a beautiful costume, depicting the lead character in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. As a fresham she received a perfect score of straight superiors…not one point off," Patricia said.

"As we attended the festival we then had to deal with Nick’s entourage of fans asking for photos and giving him phone numbers. It was really an adventure. You may have seen Nick Drivas in some community theater productions. He is an excellent yet very humble performer, " Pat said.

Among the Manatee School for the Arts students were Nick Drivas – Straight Superior – Solo Musical - Representing entire District, Ardelia MacPhail – Costume Construction – Straight Superior, Devin Fuentes / Jessie Muns  Duet Acting-- Superior, Katelyn Priest/Nick Drivas -  Duet Musical – Superior, Teagan Duncan – Solo Musical – Superior, Brittany Bauer – Costume Construction - Superior
Julia Thompson – Solo Musical – Excellent, Julie Hereford – Costume Design – Excellent, and
Katelyn Priest – Solo Musical – Superior.

As we get more results and photos, we'll add to the blog.
Manatee County thespians in Tampa. (provided photo)
Manatee School for the Arts students Brittany Bauer , Julia Hereford , Costume Coach: Lisa Sherer , Ardelia MacPhail, Mandolin MacPhail. All competed in Costume Design/Construction. (provided photo)
Manatee School for the Arts troupe and sponsors: Patricia Ross & Michael Bajjaly.
(provided photo)

Manatee and Lakewood Ranch students. (provided photo)

Manatee School for the Arts' Ardelia MacPhail won straight superior in costume construction.
(provided photo)


  1. Manatee High School students also received ten superiors at District competition: 4 Superiors Solo Musical (Holly Rizzo (star of Miss Saigon), Paul Hernandez, Steven Drake, and Anna Trinci (Best In Room, 1 Superior for Large Group Musical (Dirt from The Sweet Smell of Success), 2 Superiors for Small Group Musical (What a Game from Ragtime and Go Into Your Dance from 42nd Street), 1 Superior for Pantomime (Killam Johnson and Bonnie Miller, Best In Room), and 2 Superiors for Duet Acting (Dyshawn Brinson & Mary Ellis, and Tommy Goldsworthy & Killam Johnson).

    At State Festival, Manatee received 3 Superior ratings, 1 for Large Group Musical (Dirt from the Sweet Smell of Success) and 2 for Small Group Musical (What a Game from Ragtime, and Go Into Your Dance from 42nd Street).

  2. Among the Manatee Students were: Paul Hernandez, Keston Law, Bonnie Miller, Holly Rizzo, Steven Drake, Anna Trinci, Killam Johnson, Dyshawn Brinson, Mary Ellis, Sarah Baeder, Alexa Velez, Samm Wilburn, Tommy Goldsworthy, Bryce Register, Lauren Albrest, Karen Clifton, Noel Maslin, Katherine Dye, Cj Mohr, Jacob Henry, and Demmy Eufemia

  3. I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of Manatee School for the Arts and Lakewood Ranch High School, I am very close, as well as tons of my troupe members to these 2 schools. However, I felt it was a little rude that you feature all 3 schools in this article, but you only note the accomplishments of 2 of them...We were a young department, only 2 years old, and we were so happy to have the victory we had. Now if no one provided you with the information, that is fine, but I was really agitated that we were left out of the picture. But there is the info for you, maybe you can add it to the article. Thanks!