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Patrick McChesney, drama teacher at Marcos de Niza High School, was nominated for the Excellence in Theatre Education award.

Patrick McChesney, drama teacher at

Marcos de Niza High School, was nominated

for the Excellence in Theatre Education award.

2015

One of the nominees at this year’s Tony Awards, being broadcast the evening of Sunday, June 7, has roots in the south Tempe community, as does the work for which he was nominated.

Marcos de Niza High School drama teacher Patrick McChesney has been nominated for the inaugural Excellence in Theatre Education Award, a presentation of the Tonys and Carnegie Mellon University.

McChesney, a 17-year veteran of Tempe Union High School District, took a few minutes recently to discuss his work with Wrangler News.

Congratulations on your nomination; can you tell us about the process that was involved?

I was not in on the process but I do know that students could either write a 500-word essay or a one-minute video entry plus three references, and whatever was entered on my behalf was enough to move me to the second round of nominees (1 of 40).

I only found out this information after the Tony awards sent me an email saying that I had been nominated.

Can you tell us about your background? I grew up in Lincoln, Neb. My first experience with acting was in Mrs. Sell’s 5th grade class, where I was cast as the Big Bad Wolf in the Trial of the Big Bad Wolf. Prior to that experience, I was not very successful in school since I was diagnosed as “hyper-active” and could not focus on anything, except driving my teachers to exhaustion.

However, Mrs. Sell changed my life and showed me something that I could invest in, focus on and put all my energy into.

I also had an amazing high school theater teacher, Mr. Rexilius, at Lincoln Christian High School that made it both challenging and fun. After that, I had to experience life a bit before I decided to go to Arizona State University to study my passion, theater. There I met Johnny Saldana, my role model and mentor for life. Somewhere in there is when I decided to teach theater as opposed to pursuing the stage as an actor. After graduating in 1998,

I taught two years at Desert Vista High School and then moved to Marcos de Niza in the fall of 2000. I also received my Masters in Education in 2008 from ASU. I love Marcos de Niza and working for the Tempe Union High School District. We have such incredible students and supportive parents at Marcos de Niza High School and that is what makes our productions special. I hate sounding like I am bragging, but one of my favorite things to hear from audience members is that they cannot believe that the performers were high schoolers. That alone makes us feel like we are all doing something right.

Can you tell us about any of your former students who have gone on to theatrical careers?

We have a student in Los Angeles working in theater after going to NYU, and now doing some TV to pay the bills; a student in New York at Marymount Manhattan College; a light student and a sound student working in New York; one as an assistant sound designer on Broadway designing for shows such as Grease, SeussicalCurtains, The Last Ship, Book of Mormon, etc.; and others acting in community theaters all over in Arizona and California.

A few (are) pursuing theater or music education to pay it forward. Mostly though, I know a lot of our students will not become actors or theater designers or pursue anything in theater, and that is alright. My hope is that they leave high school and maintain a love for theater and can always find comfort, joy and appreciation for the art form.

Can you tell us about some current students you’re particularly impressed by?

Well, we just graduated a few, but I would have to say Peiton Bursh has an amazing singing voice and is going to New York to pursue it at American Musical and Dramatic Academy. I would also say that Tuni Hernandez and Zach Mauck have an amazing sense of comedy and will rob the world of their humor if they do not collaborate at some point in their lives by writing for theater, television or film; and many students that I wish would continue on in theater or music but have unfortunately talked themselves out of the “starving artist” lifestyle to pursue a career that will provide a good life for themselves and future families.

Next year, we are excited about what the “previously outnumbered” sophomores and juniors will be bringing to the stage. I would like to thank Julie Hackman (theater instructor) at KMS and Meg Arredondo (choir instructor) at Fees College Preparatory Middle School for continually holding students to high standards and encouraging them to refine their amazing talents in high school.

What do you consider the mission of a drama educator?

To challenge students to become more than they ever thought possible to believe that they can achieve at a high level and never give up trying. To develop a love for life and an appreciation for theater. Ultimately, to become better human beings by experiencing life through the eyes of different characters, from different locations, having different beliefs/morals, but all sharing similar dreams, desires and heartaches, connecting us all.

 

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TUHSD – Community & Public Relations:

Marcos de Niza Earns Six National Youth Arts Awards and 24 Nominations

Marcos de Niza High School theater and performing arts students are being nationally recognized for their talents on stage during the 2014-15 season. They recently earned 24 nominations and six awards in the 10th Annual National Youth Arts Awards. Marcos de Niza drama teacher Patrick McChesney also received a nomination for Outstanding Direction.
Marcos de Niza's "Footloose"
More than 400 productions were considered for the awards, including shows from more than 160 different organizations in more than 70 cities spanning 13 states. Winners were selected by a panel of more than twenty-five judges and reviewers. Awards will be formally presented on stage in August.
10th Annual National Youth Arts Awards Ceremony
7 p.m. Sunday, August 16, 2015
Marcos de Niza High School
6000 S. Lakeshore Dr., Tempe, AZ 85283
Marcos de Niza National Youth Arts Award Winners
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Marcos de Niza's "Footloose"
J.Cole Shryock as Ren in Footloose
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: 
TJ L’Heureux as Walter/Edward/James in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play:
Carly Fiel as Allegra in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Eliana Magallan as Peggy Sue in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Outstanding Ensemble:
Footloose
Outstanding Set Design:
Jeff Dobbs for Footloose
Marcos de Niza National Youth Arts Award Nominees
Outstanding Production:
The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 

Marcos de Niza's "Footloose"

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: 
J.Cole Shryock as Ren in Footloose 
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical:
Eliana Magallan as Ariel in Footloose 
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play:
TJ L’Heureux as Walter/Edward/James in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical:
H-Tubtun Hernandez-Elenes as Shaw in Footloose
Zach Mauck as Willard in Footloose 
 
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical:
Peiton Bursh as Vi in Footloose 
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play:
H-Tubtun Hernandez-Elenes as Roy in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Zach Mauck as Hollister in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Mason Paschke as Lawrence in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play:
Alexandra Boles as Justine in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Peiton Bursh as Connie in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Carly Fiel as Allegra in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Colleen Jacobson as Edith in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Eliana Magallan as Peggy Sue in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Mercedes Zamora as Beatrice in The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Outstanding Ensemble:
Footloose
The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Outstanding Costume Design:
Beth Jacobson for Footloose 
Outstanding Lighting Design:
Donna Petersen for Footloose
Outstanding Set Design:
Jeff Dobbs for Footloose
Jeff Dobbs for The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens 
Outstanding Choreography:
Amanda Paige for Footloose 
Outstanding Direction:
Patrick McChesney for The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens
Marcos de Niza’s 2015-16 theater schedule includes “More Than Meets the Eye” by Fred Carmichael (Nov. 18-21), “Legally Blonde: The Musical” (March 2-5) and “Night of Shorts” (April 23-24). You can also check out upcoming events at http://www.mdnchoirdrama.org.

– See more at: http://www.tempeunion.org/MdN_Earns_6_National_Youth_ArtsAwards_24Nominations2015#sthash.yjUOjTvr.dpuf

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Wrangler News

Choir, drama students team up

Goodwill of Arizona and Marcos de Niza High School’s Choir and Drama Program have teamed up for the second year in a row, providing an opportunity to empty those overstuffed

closets and garages while helping underprivileged families at the same time. The event is scheduled 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. Goodwill collection trucks, along with choir

and drama students, will point the way to the sale location on the Marcos campus. Marcos de Niza High School is at 6000 S. Lakeshore Drive, Tempe.

Becky Ottinger, president of the school’s choir and drama parents support group, said last year’s effort brought in 25,000 pounds of castoffs—four truckloads—and was the

biggest drive to date, resulting in Goodwill bumping up to $3,000 its payoff to the school. According to Ottinger, Marcos de Niza boasts an award-winning choir and drama program, emphasized by

its A cappella choir singing in Times Square and at the U.S.S. Intrepid Museum in New York City over Spring Break last year. Although it was a costly trip for many Marcos musicians and thespians,

the Goodwill funds helped offset a portion of the cost for every student making the trip, according to Ottinger.

The money raised at this year’s drive is aimed at supporting the spring musical “Footloose” and helping create enhanced décor for the lobby in the school’s auditorium.

Said Ottinger: “Fine arts in public schools struggles with reduced funding and support. Yet student involvement in the arts has been shown to be crucial for a successful life after high school.”

In 2009, she said, Americans for the Arts presented a report that showed students who participated in the arts in high school were more likely to complete a college degree, get a job

and be a community volunteer than those who did not. Additional studies find that arts instruction enhances cognitive reading skills, writing and math learning and retention, Ottinger noted.

Marcos de Niza Choir and Drama Parents is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

 

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‘Little House of Horrors’ actor Zach Mauck was part of the MdN cast recognized for excellence with a National Youth Award.                                    — Photo courtesy Marta Wilmoth

Marcos thespians honored Two of Marcos de Niza High School’s theater arts productions have received major accolades as part of a National Youth Awards competition among schools and youth theaters around the country. Marcos thespians received 18 nominations, five of which resulted in awards. The fall play Almost, Maine and the spring musical Little Shop of Horrors were the productions reviewed by NYA judges. Awards were formally presented the NYA Western Regional Ceremony in Phoenix early in September. NYA is an organization that reviews productions nationwide and nominates participating youth and adults for its yearly awards. For the 2013-2014 season, more than 400 productions were reviewed by a panel of 25 judges in 60 cities.   Marcos de Niza, a new member of NYA, was the only Tempe high school receiving nominations, and one of three Phoenix area schools to be recognized at the Western Regional ceremony. “It was amazing last year when we found out that Marcos had been nominated for the National Youth Arts Awards without even expecting it,” said Patrick McChesney, who is in his 15th year as director of MdN theater productions and teaches drama and TV production. “However, this year we knew they were coming but were not prepared for so many nominations and wins, especially against some reputable theater companies and troupes in Phoenix. I am so proud of our students.” Marcos received its first six NYA nominations in 2013 for the spring musical 42nd Street. One award, Best Actress in a Musical, went to Madison Ottinger as Peggy Sawyer. The 5 NYA award winners for 2013-2014 are: For Almost, Maine: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Alexandra Boles as Gayle and Rhonda For Little Shop of Horrors: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: ZachMauck as Seymour; Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Jordan Scott as Audrey; Outstanding Ensemble: Marcos de Niza Performing Arts; Outstanding Set Design: Jeff Dobbs. Additional Marcos nominees were, for Almost, Maine: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Zach Mauck as Dave; Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Clark Schaeffer as Steve; Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Lindsey Allemang as Marci; Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Alice Gadau as Marvalyn; Outstanding Ensemble: Marcos de Niza Performing Arts; Outstanding Set Design: Jeff Dobbs; Outstanding Direction: Patrick McChesney. For Little Shop of Horrors: Outstanding Production: Marcos de Niza Performing Arts; Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Sam De La Ossa as Mushnik; Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Avery Jones as The Voice of Audrey 2; Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Emily Spindler as Crystal of the Split Chicks; Outstanding Set Design: Jeff Dobbs; Outstanding Choreography: Amanda Paige; Outstanding Direction: Patrick McChesney. Marcos’ 2014-2015 Performing Arts season opened with the annual Broadway Show, A Night on the Town, on Oct. 1. The Fall play, The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens, runs Nov. 19-22 in the school’s auditorium.  The play combines murder mystery, comedy and interaction with the audience. The public is welcome at Marcos performances. Tickets are never more than $10, with further discounts for students with ID and for seniors. Information: mdnchoirdrama. org or Becky Ottinger via email to president@mdnchoirdrama.org.

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Marcos de Niza performing-arts students bound for NYC

Although the choir, band and orchestra have traveled regionally to perform in competitions, some members never have been outside of Arizona, or on an airplane or to New York City. Luggage will definitely include check-in baggage, because the males wear tuxedos and females perform in long black dresses.

“I’m so excited!” tenor Samuel De La Ossa said. “This is my first plane ride. There’s no way I’m not going to be in a window seat as the plane takes off.”

The choir rehearsed a South African number, “Dubula,” a one-time anti-Apartheid anthem that now celebrates unity.

Choral director Darin Shryock is traveling with most of his choral student members, only a few staying behind.

Band director Drew Erickson and orchestra director Scott Glasser had to choose among their many students and build concert-performance groups with members who might be playing together for the first time. Twenty-five band members are part of the tour. The orchestra is sending 50 students.

“It was challenging but doable with the (musical) numbers we have that are appropriate for the season for St. Patrick’s Day, songs with an English flair,” Erickson said.

The band has been working since October on its Armed Forces Salute, to be played with band, orchestra and choir at the retired USS Intrepid, now a Sea, Air and Space Museum.

The orchestra’s performance set contains classical and contemporary pieces that include a Brazilian number and Tchaikovsky piece. Each of the traveling groups will attend classes and workshops with professional vocal and instrumental musicians. With the New York City Philharmonic, the band and orchestra will perform with a conductor, participate in a clinic and have time for a question-and-answer session.

“We’ll get to pick the brains of some of the principal players to see what it’s like to be in that kind of career,” Erickson said.

Glasser says that his students will be part of a master class, which will add to the thrill for students who have never been outside of the state.

Shryock’s choral students will participate in workshops with cast members of current Broadway shows, learn choreography and songs, then perform for a music director from the group Broadway101.com. Drama students will experience stage-combat workshops.

Their travel plans include seeing three Broadway shows, a dinner cruise around Manhattan, a walking tour of the 9/11 Memorial and a behind-the-scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall. The jam-packed schedule was planned in conjunction with student requests and experiences of Shryock, Erickson and Glasser.

All of the funds, about $1,600 per student, were raised with sales of baked goods, candles, coupon books and family contributions. Twenty-two chaperones will accompany the group.

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Marcos ‘army’ takes on ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Special for The Republic | azcentral.comThu Feb 27, 2014 10:37 AM

A man-eating plant? In Marcos de Niza High’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” the featured creature in the spirited musical comedy is “Audrey 2,” a carnivorous plant. Marcos de Niza’s entire performing-arts department supports the production, to be performed Wednesday through Saturday, March 5-8, at 7 p.m. in the school’s refurbished auditorium. “A whole army of people every Saturday and, quite often late at night, have been building the sets,” production director Patrick “Chez” McChesney said. “Even some parents whose students graduated still help out because they love it.” Architect Jeff Dobbs designed the sets. The production includes a cast of 20, plus 15 in the pit band, and still others on the backstage and technical crews. The pit band, directed by Drew Erickson, is out of view but a featured part of the performance. Scott Glaser is assistant director of music. “It’s a lot of work (playing in the pit band), but it’s worth it,” bass guitarist Ariel Rendon said. He said he enjoyed learning “slap bass” for the production with its funky, Motown sound. Hearing every actor will not be an issue in the 800-seat auditorium. Music director and sound designer Darin Shryock is inaugurating a sound system with student Abby Twyman directing the sound crew. All actors have a microphone. A closed-circuit television system is new, too, so audience members who might need to step out with a fussy baby can still see the production from the lobby. Performers are triple threats — singers, dancers and actors, Shryock said. The talented cast has been preparing for the demanding roles since early January. First an off-Broadway hit and then a popular film in 1986, “Little Shop of Horrors” is a musical that has been popular for more than 30 years. The screenplay featured comedian Steve Martin in a memorable sequence as a sadistic dentist. Cole Shryock plays the dentist and will transform himself for the part with dark hair. Avery Jones plays the exuberant Audrey 2 and, since he is offstage and doesn’t dance, he focuses on his voice, which he hopes to parlay into a career doing voiceovers and documentaries. Peiten Bursh, Reina Montalbo and Emily Spindler are the “Split Chicks Trio,” who serve as narrators and part of the action. To reach Marcos de Niza’s professional standards they received special choreographic training. Parents are avid supporters, says Becky Lynn Ottinger, president of Marcos de Niza Choir and Drama Parents, which raised funds to support the $5,600 rental package for Audrey 2, a series of Audrey 2 puppets, as well as a dentist chair. McChesney says that although the Tempe Union High School District remodeled the lobby, installed video monitors, painted the facility and replaced carpeting in the auditorium, the district left the drama department to pay for Audrey 2’s rental. The department received a grant from the Tempe Diablos that will cover new LED lighting and other needs, but the parents’ group still had to find funds. McChesney personally underwrote some of the costs with the parents pledging to pay him back. Tickets: Marcos de Niza High School Bookstore, 6000 S. Lakeshore Drive in Tempe; by mail at mdnchoirdrama.org; at the door on show nights, March 5-8. Prices are $10 for adults, $5 for students and adults 60 and older.
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Congratulations to Marcos de Niza High School

February 28, 2013

Filed Under: chamber choir, Charlie Huero, fulton homes, High School, marcos De niza, Music Department, Noon Salute

From Charlie Huero of kool.cbslocal.com

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Wrangler News

Student production challenges creative, technical ingenuity

Story by M.V. Moorhead

wn111613Even in these cooler months, Tempe seems pretty far away from rural Maine. But playgoers can get a breath of cool wintry New
England air at Almost, Maine, this year’s first production at the Marcos de Niza High School Little Theatre. They’ll even get a few glimpses of the aurora
borealis. The play, written by the actor  John Cariani, debuted at the Portland Stage Company in 2004, had a brief run Off-Broadway in 2006, and has since become one of the most frequently produced high school plays in the country—it’s said to have recently overtaken Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in that regard. It’s a romantic comedy or, rather, a collection of nine short, eccentric romantic comedies on the theme of “falling in and out of love,” all set in the tiny title town—fictitious, although playwright Cariani hails from the far-northern Maine town of Presque Isle, which translates as “Almost an Island.” Between these sketches, projected images of the aurora borealis, the famous light phenomenon normally seen only by those at arctically high latitudes, are used as a transitional device. The show plays Thursday, Nov. 14 through Saturday, Nov. 16, and again
Thursday, Nov. 21, through Saturday Nov. 23, in the Marcos de Niza Little Theatre, 6000 S. Lakeshore Drive in Tempe. All curtain times are 7 p.m. After the opening night
performance, audience members who want another cool treat may meet the cast of Almost, Maine at nearby Yoyo’s Neighborhood Yogurt on Guadalupe. Mention Marcos de Niza while
ordering, and part of the proceeds from your purchase price will benefit the school’s Choir and Drama Program. After the Thursday, Nov. 21, show, the cast and crew will be at the Dairy
Queen at Rural and Elliot, and the same deal will apply. I recently had the chance to learn a bit more about Marcos de Niza’s Almost, Maine from the director, Patrick McChesney.
Wrangler News: Tell me about why you chose Almost, Maine. Patrick McChesney: Usually we do larger shows that have name recognition and use the large stage for
the performances. However, this year, due to complications of scheduling and the desire for something different, I decided to choose a play that could be performed in the drama room (a.k.a.
The Marcos de Niza Little Theatre). While reading the play, I found myself getting pulled in to the many plots presented through the various vignettes. I love it when I read plays
and I can either emotionally connect to the story or begin to envision the production elements of costumes, sets, etc. I loved the author’s style. WN: Are your actors attempting
New England accents? PM: We decided not to create characters that were “backwoods”Maine or use New England accents because the playwright requests that anyone producing the play be
respectful of the characters by treating them as everyday individuals. He did not want the characters to be over the top or cliché. However, since they do live pretty far away from “civilized”
areas, we did take some costuming liberties since the citizens of Almost would probably not be fashion templates. WN: How are the aurora borealis effects being accomplished?
PM: We plan to use audio visual projections that we purchased from a company called Drake Creative, that created different aurora borealis looks for each scene in Almost, Maine.
They are very cool. In addition, when getting the scripts, rights and royalties from Dramatists Play Service, we also secured the rights to use the composed music by Julian Fleisher that was
created for this production. Ultimately, we hope to entertain the audience with a lot of sensory experiences. WN: In light of recent controversies, I’m wondering how you
handle judging the appropriateness of a play for high school students? PM: When I first started at Marcos de Niza some years ago (13 to be exact), the principal sat me down
and we discussed the themes and social issues that could be or should not be presented at a high school…at least our high school. We came up with a list of“no-no’s,” and that list is used
every time I select a show. Although theatre is usually a place that can represent real life, and many times pushes the envelope of social issues to teach or preach, the high school stage
should be a place for young people to produce quality works and learn the craft to grow individually and professionally. We have a conservative audience and, frankly, many
plays are just not appropriate for young children, so I have to be mindful of content and plot. Plus, most of the colleges and universities will give young actors that exposure if
they decide to pursue theatre.

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From the TUHSD Newsroom

Marcos de Niza Wins National Competition

TEMPE, AZ. – Marcos de Niza High School has been recognized by the National Youth Arts Awards (NYA) for the school’s production of the classic musical, “42nd Street.” The school collected one winner and six nominations making it the only Tempe high school to be honored. The trophies were handed out during an awards presentation in July.“This is an exciting honor for Marcos de Niza and I couldn’t be more excited for our students,” said Patrick McChesney, Director of the MdN Theatre Program and the production. “I want to thank the NYA for recognizing the hard work of our students, their parents, the designers and all of the volunteers who give so much to make our productions the highest quality possible.” Partnering with McChesney is Darin Shryock, the school’s Director of Choirs, who oversaw the musical performances.This is the first NYA award for Marcos. The cast members and directors didn’t realize an NYA critic had seen a performance and were taken by surprise at the nominations and award as the school is not a member of the NYA. But in the audience one evening last spring was Rob Hopper, the executive director of the NYA. “I just saw the show with a friend who is friends with one of the moms. We’re allowed to nominate youth shows that aren’t members (of NYA) for one year if they’ve never been a part of it before, and I had a great time at the show!” said Hopper. The National Youth Arts Awards began in San Diego in 2000 and today, members of the group review performances of high schools and youth theatres around the country. More about the organization can be found on its website, http://www.nationalyouththeatre.com. Here is the complete listing of the 2013 award winners and nominees: http://www.nationalyouththeatre.com/news/news_nya_awards2013.asp From Marcos de Niza Performing Arts: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Madison Ottinger as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street Nominee and winner Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Luke Powell as Billy Lawlor in 42nd Street Nominee Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Chandler Corley-Essex as Maggie Jones in 42nd Street Nominee Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Zack Meyers as Abner Dillon in 42nd Street Nominee Outstanding Ensemble: 42nd Street Nominee Outstanding Set Design: Jeff Dobbs for 42nd Street Nominee Outstanding Choreography: Amanda Paige for 42nd Street Nominee Marcos de Niza is preparing to kick off its new season on October 3rd with its annual Broadway Show-“A Night on the Town” featuring popular songs from many well-loved hit musicals in a multi-faceted performance filled with music, dance and lights. This dynamic evening also includes the biggest fundraiser of the year by the Performing Arts Booster Club, Marcos de Niza Choir and Drama Parents (MdNCDP). Prior to the show will be a silent auction filled with great items for show goers to bid on and fantastic raffle baskets. In past years, the auction has included such coveted items as a guitar autographed by Maroon 5, golf outings, aesthetics packages and unique artwork. The fall play, “Almost Maine,” will be presented November 16-18 and 21-23. In the spring, the smash stage hit (and popular movie), “Little Shop of Horrors,” hits the stage in the MdN Auditorium March 5-8. All performances are open to the public and tickets are never more than $10 with discounts for students (with ID) and seniors. ABOUT MdNCDP: Marcos de Niza Choir and Drama Parents and Friends (MdNCDP) is a recognized 501(c) (3) Non-Profit organization made up of passionate individuals that help the amazing Choir and Drama Directors, Darin Shryock and Patrick McChesney by raising funds for great shows, travel expenses, and production equipment. We also help physically during pre-production phase of the fall play and spring musical (costumes anyone?), and we actually have a lot of fun doing it.

 

  Story by Bill, Becky Ottinger 6Marcos de Niza High School has been recognized by the National Youth Arts Awards for its production of the classic musical, 42nd Street. The school collected one winner and six nominations, making it the only Tempe high school to be honored. The trophies were handed out during an awards presentation in July. “This is an exciting honor for Marcos de Niza, and I couldn’t be more excited for our students,” said Patrick McChesney, director of the MdN Theatre Program and the production. “I want to thank the NYA for recognizing the hard work of our students, their parents, the designers and all of the volunteers who give so much to make our productions the highest quality possible.” Partnering with McChesney is Darin Shryock, the school’s director of choirs, who oversaw the performances. This is the first NYA award for Marcos. The cast members and directors didn’t realize an NYA critic had seen a performance and were taken by surprise at the nominations and subsequent award. Although the school is not a member of NYA, the organization’s executive director, Rob Hopper, was in the audience. “I just saw the show with a friend who is friends with one of the moms,” said Hopper. “We’re allowed to nominate youth shows that aren’t members (of NYA) for one year if they’ve never been part of it before, and I had a great time at the show.” The National Youth Arts Awards began in San Diego in 2000. Now, members of the group review performances of high schools and youth theaters around the country. Marcos award nominees, all from their 42nd Street participation, include: • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Madison Ottinger as Peggy Sawyer; • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Luke Powell as Billy Lawlor; • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Chandler Corley-Essex as Maggie Jones; • Nominee Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Zack Meyers as Abner Dillon; • Nominee Outstanding Ensemble: 42nd Street • Outstanding Set Design: Jeff Dobbs; • Outstanding Choreography: Amanda Paige. Marcos is preparing to kick off its new season Thursday, Oct. 3, with its annual Broadway Show, A Night on the Town, featuring songs from hit musicals in a multifaceted performance filled with music, dance and lights. The evening also includes the biggest fundraiser of the year by the Performing Arts Booster Club, Marcos de Niza Choir and Drama Parents. Prior to the show will be a silent auction, which in past years has included such items as a guitar autographed by Maroon 5, golf outings, aesthetics packages and unique artwork. The fall play, Almost Maine, will be presented Nov. 16-18 and 21-23. In the spring, the stage hit (and popular movie), Little Shop of Horrors, is due to hit the stage in the Marcos auditorium March 5-8. Performances are open to the public and tickets are never more than $10 with discounts for students (with ID) and seniors.

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Wrangler News

Marcos stage show gets a boost from a Broadway pro

 

It can’t be said that the choir students at Marcos de Niza High School put on anything that could be called an “average” choral show. With a top pro engineering next month’s performance, the students are tuning their windpipes and practicing their dance moves to put on one of their best shows ever, said choir teacher Darin Shryock.

“This is the first one we’ve had choreographed by a Broadway professional,” Shryock said. “She (Amanda Paige) was on Broadway for 16 years, and so to have the real deal for the kids, it makes all the difference.”

The performance, scheduled for Oct. 7, will consist of classic Broadway hits ranging from the 1950s to today’s contemporary songs. A group of about 120 students, who independently practice in three separate choir classes and one chamber group, will perform 16 songs during the show. Paige assisted in instructing the varsity choir group.

“It’s not a regular choir concert; it’s basically a show,” said Shryock, who has been teaching choir at Marcos for 20 years. “The annual show is called ‘A Night on the Town’ and it has a different theme each year.”

The performance this year will feature an outside function, with a silent auction put on by parents. “There’s going to be a reception and food,” Shryock said. “They decorate the courtyard, and the silent auction is part of that, which is actually our biggest fundraiser for our choral program.”

With singing and dancing mixed into the show, Shryock said it something that’s unique compared to most other high schools.

“This particular event is our music theater program, where they get training in choreography and singing, and many are in drama classes as well, so it’s that triple threat,” Shryock said.

And this performance will be particularly exciting for Shryock, as two of his own kids, one freshman and one junior, will be in the performance.

“It’s going to be great, and as a parent, I recognize the importance of the silent auction,” he said. “I know what writing checks is all about.”

Leslie Fields, a senior at Marcos who has been a choir student throughout her high school career, said she’s excited for the annual Broadway performance.

“It’s going to be our first time on stage since last year, so it’s just going to be really fun to get back up there,” she said.

“It’s also fun to see the new freshman choir students come into the program.”

Joey Green, another senior in the program for his fourth year, said students are committed to putting on a great show this year.

“We have really devoted people, from Mr. Shryock, the director, and Amanda Paige, the choreographer,” Green said. “All of their work is really appreciated – they make us look great.”

Shryock described the performance as something unique to the Tempe Union High School District.

“I certainly don’t see any other high school insane enough to try to do what we do on stage,” he said.

Information: Tickets are $10 for the performance, and the audience is asked to dress in formal or semi-formal evening attire. Silent auction and raffle items will be available for bidding prior to the show and during intermission. Silent auction begins at 6 p.m., with the performance starting at 7.