A Beautiful, Wonky, Inside-Out Arabian Night

Classnight 2020 was a success. This year’s theme, “never been done before,” was strikingly true; it was the first time ever that there was a daytime performance (limited only to the students), but no nighttime performance for the parents and the community. Even though the coronavirus COVID-19 caused many changes to the event, each grade performed to the best of its ability and put on a spectacular show. The talent of each grade shined through, and all of the dances, costumes, scenery, and skits were nothing short of amazing. The seniors claimed first place with their take on the classic Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. The juniors came in second place with their hilarious rendition of Willy Wonka. The freshmen clinched third place with their clever take on another Disney classic: Aladdin. And, finally, the sophomores came in last place;  however, their portrayal of the Pixar movie Inside Out was witty and wonderful.

The fact that it was their first classnight did not stop the talented freshmen. They took the classic movie Aladdin and put a new twist on it; their skit showed the life of Jasmine (Lola Sokolsky) and Aladdin (Adam Samuel) in the future. The skit began with Jasmine and Aladdin singing a very impressive rendition of the Aladdin classic “A Whole New World,” and the skit that followed did not disappoint. It centered around the kidnapping of the daughter of Jasmine and Aladdin (played by Bridget Maloney) by Jaffar (Jaiden Moreno) and featured a subplot where their son (Hannah Seideman) struggled to tell his father that he did not want to be king. In addition to the well-written skit, the dances were impressive and woven in very well. The kickline girls started off the dances in the skit as snakes that were Jaffar’s accomplices. Freshman chairperson Dylan Baltes said that “the kickline dance was [her] favorite” because it was “really clean.” The talent of the ninth-grade dancers shined through during their girls’ dance as well, as the girls took the floor as genies on the “council of genies.” The boys’ dance portrayed a workout class to help the son of Aladdin and Jasmine get into shape. Finally, their couples’ dance came at the end of their skit, and showed the happy ending for Jasmine, Aladdin, and their family. The talent of the freshmen was evident throughout their skit; the acting was on point and the dances were well-choreographed and in sync. Baltes thoroughly enjoyed her first classnight and explained her favorite part about the event: “The actual performance [was my favorite because it] was fun.” She added that she enjoyed “watching the other grades [perform].” It may not have been the Classnight that the freshmen envisioned; however, their excellent performance granted them third place. 

The sophomores took a great movie, Inside Out, and added their own flair. The elaborate and colorful art added to the aura of the performance and made it more exciting. The five main characters were played by Danielle Vito, Lexi Capitali, Zack Cohen, Jack Carol, and Matt Sollitto, and they demonstrated their skills by doing a great job acting out the emotions of their respective characters. The skit focused on Joy (Vito), who runs away because of the stress put on the emotions. The other four emotions go to find her and eventually succeed in bringing Joy back to “headquarters.” The dances were all well-choreographed, and the kickline dance had a handmade, large jack-in-the-box that added to the performance. Sophomore chairperson Jaden Harvin explained that his favorite part of the overall performance “was the kickline dance” because he “just really enjoyed it and had so much fun watching it.” Because there was only one performance, the goal was to make it as perfect as possible during the day. Therefore, when the music stopped during the girls’ dance, no one stopped dancing. Sophomore Chair Rachel Belmont shared that her favorite part of her grade’s overall performance was “the girls’ dance because even though the music stopped, they did not give up. They kept dancing like nothing was wrong.” The sophomores also incorporated jokes about Shrek, their skit from last year, into this year’s performance. They had a multitude of other witty jokes that added a comedic element to their skit. Belmont explained that she enjoys “working with [her] grade and spending time with them.” She added that she “love[s] seeing the messy dances and forgotten lines become a well performed skit.” Through hard work and determination, the sophomores did a great job portraying Inside Out

Following the sophomore performance, the battle of the upperclassmen began; this is historically where most of the Classnight controversy lies. Based on the classic Willy Wonka, their skit began with Charlie Bucket (James Gilmartin) owning the famed Wonka Chocolate Factory. Charlie himself was struggling with creating a new candy bar, so he decided to invite all the previous golden ticket winners–Veruca (Alicia Villadiego), Mike (John Bertolini), Violet (Sahdae Burke), and Augustus (Leo Finkelstein)–back to the factory to see if they can help him. Following the arrival of his guests and having quite a debacle with each of them, Charlie finally realized that he did not need the other golden ticket winners; he just needed to believe in himself. He was determined and wound up making a fantastic new “bucket bar.” Junior Classnight chairperson  Maeve Mooney stated, “My favorite thing about Classnight has always been the inclusiveness of it! Every year, so many different people from different groups [of people] contribute.” As for this year specifically, Mooney explained that her favorite things “included the girls’ dance and making/ordering costumes.” Mooney added, “Our girls’ dance always brings so much energy to our performance, and this year it was over the top; everyone had so much fun! I made the costumes this year, and it was amazing to see the reward after!” With the unprecedented changes this year, the role of the Classnight chairpersons became even more difficult as they had to cope with the news of the changes and try to remain the pillars of strength for the grade. “After being told about the Classnight changes this year, I was definitely upset. I couldn’t believe it; it felt unreal. I am so thankful for accommodations made by Mr. Rainis, Mr. Sorosy, and Mr. Brescia to still make Classnight happen. It may have hurt in the moment, but we will love and be thankful for the moments and memories we made that day,” said Mooney.

The seniors, as part of a grade that defines the love and joy of Classnight, made their last performance definitely one worth remembering. Class chair people  Jolie Sebel and Donovan Molinaro led the seniors to make their take on the beautiful tale of The Beauty and the Beast truly a crowd-pleaser. In their skit, the classic characters were cursed and again become inanimate objects after Gaston (Cameron Fabel) convinces the Enchantress (Kayleigh Stalter) that the Beast (Brennan O’Grady) did not learn his lesson the first time in a scheme to steal Belle (Kara Vito) from the Beast. The character asks the town librarians and Belle’s father (Aidan Smithwick) and his team of scientists for help, but no one can figure out how to lift the curse. However, after Chip (Caroline Ridings) and Sulten (CJ Sollitto) discover a clue, the team is able to figure out that Gaston was the one who placed the curse. After one last celebration following the discovery of the source of the curse, the characters realize how bittersweet the reversal of the curse is; it means that they must go their separate ways and move on with their own lives after all of the fun they had together. Molinaro commented, “My favorite part of the skit was being able to work with a fun group of kids I grew up with. During the three weeks, everyone becomes closer, and it’s amazing to manifest something that can happen. Each participant in the skit pulled through with something amazing in the end.” With the unprecedented events, the seniors at first found it difficult to find the light in the end of the tunnel after learning their final Classnight would be different from the rest: “Being that this was our final performance and the amount of work we put into the show, we were extremely disappointed. I am glad that with the rising epidemic that the school took a precaution to protect us and our families. Despite having no nighttime show, we gave our all to the day performance, and we are proud we got to enjoy one last amazing Cassnight performance that can at least be enjoyed by the community through video,” said chairperson Jolie Sebel.  “Winning our senior year felt like all the hard work was worth it. It was wonderful. Everyone knows our grade has changed the face and level of Classnight, but it was nice to finally receive the win. And, we owe it all to each and every one of us, especially [our class advisors] Mr. Tranchina and Ms. Reinert for helping us and believing in us,” added Sebel.