On Saturday, May 21, Blind Brook High School students honored English teacher and drama program director Christina Colangelo for her ten years of hard work and dedication to the community in their performance, “A Decade of Chrissy.” The event featured performances by various Blind Brook alumni who have participated in the drama program throughout Colangelo’s ten years at Blind Brook.
Although Colangelo’s impact can be seen throughout the school community, her most prominent contributions to Blind Brook have come to the drama department. Over the past decade, Colangelo has helped to shape Blind Brook’s drama program and has has touched the hearts and minds of her students in the process. In order to show their tremendous gratitude and appreciation for all that Colangelo has done for them, her students organized, “A Decade of Chrissy,” as a surprise event to celebrate Colangelo’s tenth year at Blind Brook.
Seth Schuster, a Blind Brook senior who organized the event, explained why he planned, A Decade of Chrissy.”
“Firstly, we thought that this would be a great sendoff gift from all of the seniors as she has meant so much to us throughout High School and has inspired us to become better people onstage and offstage. If this could show the smallest amount of appreciation and gratitude for what she has done for us, then it would be worth it.”
Among some of the alumni returning to Blind Brook to take part in this celebration of Mrs. Colangelo’s achievements are Jordan Singer, Stacey Lurie, and Benowich. Returning alumni were joined by current Blind Brook high school students involved in the drama program. Each student and alumnus performed song and dance numbers from a musicals in which they had participated throughout their high school theater career.
Singer, who graduated from Blind Brook in 2013, performed the song, “How Lucky You Are,” from, “Sucicle.” “I have been very close with all of the Colangelos and have spent summers working with them. The musical was always my favorite part of high school and participating in this event, which brought everyone back together on the Blind Brook stage sounded like such a great opportunity,” said Singer.
While at Blind Brook, Singer participated in many musicals and plays including, “Hello Dolly,” “The Outsiders,” “Urinetown,” and “Sucical.” After graduating, Singer still considers theater to be an integral part of his life.
“I used to be involved in theater when I was little but then I stopped and [Colangelo] was the person who brought me back onto the stage. Theater is my whole life now and she steered me in this direction and is the reason why I act,” said Singer.
Another Blind Brook alumnus, Stacy Lurie, who graduated in 2008, performed, “Whistle a Happy Tune,” from the, “King and I,” during the event. Lurie was one of Colangelo’s first students at Blind Brook and she returned to celebrate Colangelo’s impact on the school. During High School, Lurie was involved in various dramas, including, “The Crucible,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and, “The Kind and I.” Colangelo’s impact on Lurie endured throughout college, as Lurie continued to study theater at Northwestern University.
“[Colangelo] taught me how to be very confident and to be true to who I was. I have been able to take every skill that she has taught me and generalize them to my life and I will be forever grateful to her for that,” said Lurie.
Blind Brook alumnus Andrew Benowich, who is now a teacher, performed, “If I Were a Rich Man,” and, “Do You Love Me,” from, “Fiddler on the Roof,” in honor of Colangelo. Benowich shared that, “Mrs. Colangelo is my favorite teacher from high school and is now a close friend and I would do anything for her.” While in high school, Benowich participated in the Blind Brook dramas, “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “The Crucible,” in 2007 and 2008. While in college, Benowich continued to study theater and it still remains a big part of his life today.
“[Colangelo] was one of the biggest reasons why I became a teacher and has been one of the biggest influences in my life,” said Benowich.
Current Blind Brook students also showed their appreciation for Colangelo by performing musical numbers from Blind Brook shows in which they have performed recently.
Sophomore Lee Price, who performed the, “Anything Goes,” number from the musical, “Anything Goes,” said that, “[Colangelo] has been such an important part of my life and has helped me immensely with theatre. She disserves to be performed for. She has had such a positive impact on my life and has told me that anything is possible.”
Junior Julia Mullaly also performed in the, “Anything Goes,” a number from, “Anything Goes.” Mullaly said that, “I love [Colangelo]. She has changed my entire high school experience for the better and I want to give back to her in any way possible.”
Middle School English teacher, Cher Treacy, attended the event in support of her colleague and friend, Colangelo.
“[Colangelo] somehow finds a way to bring all of the performers together and puts in so much work in order to have a successful show. All of the students involved in the show are considered part of her immense impact on the school,” said Treacy.