Broadway Comes to St. John with “World of Dreams” on January 27

Get ready for Love City’s preeminent musical production of the year on Friday, January 27, at the Westin Resort and Villas when Broadway Comes to St. John for the second year in a row.

Five professional actors, dancers, choreographers and singers return to Love City this week for the second annual St. John School of the Arts fundraiser. Last year’s original production “Dream, Wish, Believe” was a jaw-dropping spectacle with fourth graders from all three of the island’s schools, as well as SJSA students, putting on a professional Broadway-caliber performance.

This year is sure to impress as well with a brand new original musical production and a new cast, but with the same professional New York mentors and the same level of excitement.

“We’re really looking forward to the second annual Broadway Comes to St. John,” said SJSA board of directors vice president Ronnie Lee. “Last year’s show was such a smashing success and this year we have a complete new group of fourth graders who will get the opportunity of furthering their arts education.”

Laura Barnao, Donna Drake, Michael Shawn Lewis, Rhonda Miller and John Tartaglia, all with impressive performing credentials on Broadway and beyond, will be back on St. John this week to start a three-week intensive training with the island’s fourth grade classes.

The team will work with students on songs, narration, puppetry, choreography and dance as they teach the numbers to the brand new production “World of Dreams.”

Fourth grade students at Guy Benjamin School, Gifft Hill School and Julius E. Sprauve School will start their training on Monday, January 16, for the musical.

“The actors and singers are working with the kids for three weeks this year; one week longer than last year,” said Lee. “They felt the opportunity would be served even better with three weeks of rehearsals. It’s a real heartwarming experience.”

Also new this year is an anticipated solo performance, Lee added.

“This year I know they are hoping to have a fourth grade girl who will sing something special,” he said. “It should be a jump up from last year and we hope that all of the fourth grade parents and parents of all kids in school will come out for the show.”

The students will train in intensive lessons until the big opening night on January 27 at the Westin Resort when the cast will perform two shows.

SJSA will sell 100 tickets for the first show, at 6 p.m., for $200 each, which gets one a champagne reception and dinner at one of Love City’s finest restaurants — Da Livio, Fatty Crab, Fish Trap, La Tapa, Lime Inn, Morgan’s Mango, Ocean Grill, Rhumb Lines, Spyglass or ZoZo’s.

“Those are angel tickets,” said Lee. “That is as near as you can get to becoming a Broadway angel, which is an investor. People who buy angel tickets are investing in the fourth grade students of St. John.”

Proceeds will go to support SJSA’s many arts programs both at the art school at all three island schools.

The second performance of the night, at 8 p.m. is free and open to the public. SJSA would appreciate any donations of support for that performance, but they are not mandatory, Lee added.

The “World of Dreams” performance promises to be something special and the funds raised through the show will ensure that island children continue receiving critical arts education.

“This is really a rare opportunity on St. John,” said Lee. “What SJSA does extends far beyond the number of students who come to the school for classes. It extends into all three schools and the entire populations of GHS, GBS and JESS.”

“We have programs in all three schools which involve all students,” he said. “There are hundreds of kids on St. John getting some form of arts education through the school and this show will help us be able to continue to do so.”

Also back this year is the exciting raffle drawing for St. John Goes to Broadway. Raffle tickets are $100 each and only 150 tickets will be sold for the chance to win two round-trip tickets to New York City, three night’s hotel stay, tickets to “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, “Chicago” and a third show to be announced, back stage tours of one show and dinner at Sardi’s and Etcetera Etcetera, worth a total of $5,000.

Stop by Starfish Gourmet and Wines this Friday, January 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. to meet Barnao, Drake, Lewis, Miller and Tartaglia and purchase those raffle and angel tickets. For more information, call SJSA at 779-4322.