After Sachem North teacher and drama club director Jonathan Chiaramonte appeared on earlier this year, opportunities began opening up for him and his students.
"After attending a workshop that Ellen Degeneres sent my kids and I on with BroadwayClassroom.com, I became so impressed with what they do for students and the arts in general," Chiaramonte said. "As we left, I expressed my high hopes for their program to continue to spread the positives of having cultural arts a part of the school day for our students to excel."
Last month, Broadway Classroom, a division of Broadway.com that offers workshops to educate student groups that visit Broadway, as well as the cast of the show Memphis, invited Chiaramonte's students to take part in a performance for the Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA) that displayed what Broadway Classroom offers students.
Chiaramonte's students learned dance moves for the performance from Bryan Langlitz, who currently plays in Memphis. Afterwards, they had the opportunity to hang out with castmembers from Jersey Boys and Spider-Man, as well as the writer of Wicked, Stephen Schwartz.
They also shared a dressing room with stars from over 120 different Broadway shows including Chicago, Mary Poppins, The Lion King and Anything Goes.
"Where else can my kids say they got to hand a soda to one of the Jersey Boys and see Mary Poppins eating a chicken wrap," Chiaramonte said.
The Sachem students that attended all said this experience was something they will never forget.
"The cast of Memphis was so nice and it was such an honor to be able to perform with them," Taylor Newsom said. "This has helped me learn how professional Broadway actors put on a show and we even got to hear some of their backstage stories. After this day I was never more certain that this is what I wanted to do when I got older."
"Broadway Classroom helped us learn what it would be like if we were thinking about having a career in theater," Alyssa Tripi said. "It was such a great experience being able to work with Broadway stars and learning the choreography from a Broadway show."
Debbie Santiago couldn't believe she was on stage with Broadway performers.
"I felt like I was dreaming in my sleep but then I realized it was all real," she said. "I hope in the future that more students have these once in a lifetime opportunities. It's a great way to teach students and grasp what these talented performers have and hopefully these students will live on the strive and passion while performing in future generations."
Chris Isolano shared similar feelings to his classmates.
"Performing with the cast of Memphis was like a dream," he said. "Not only the performance, but the whole day and process of preparing for our 50 seconds of fame was truly a dream come true ... I will definitely never forget this once in a lifetime day thanks to the Broadway Classroom and our drama advisor Jon Chiaramonte."