The Weber School presented “You Will Be Found: A Musical Showcase” in three performances Nov. 23-25.
The group included 12 students, a technical director, a musical director, and a director/choreographer. Together they created a unique and upbeat show that featured some very inspiring and hopeful youths that could be bound for a “big time” theatrical career.
Director/choreographer Brad Bass said, “We have been working on developing a show based on training the performer as an actor, singer, and a dancer without the confines of playing a specific character. We are celebrating the unique talents of the individual. As the director, I wanted these students to perform using attributes from their own lives. What we ended up with is a wonderful night of musical storytelling in vignettes.” He later thanked the parents for “shlepping” the kids to practice four days a week.
The cast performed songs from Broadway shows, including: “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Newsies,” “Aladdin,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “South Pacific,” “The Greatest Showman,” “Mamma Mia!” “The Addams Family,” “City of Angels,” and a rousing opening “My Shot” from “Hamilton.” The show’s title “You Will Be Found,” from “Dear Evan Hansen,” brought down the house for the closing number.
The cast was: Liana Bernstein, Miriam Burmenko, Jake Friedman, Eliana Glusman, Caroline Goldman, Amelia Heller, Jordan Joel, Dov Karlin, Sammy Lebowitz, Jordan Liban, Hope Lindner and Naomi Kuropatwa. The technical crew was Isaac Lambert and Scott Leaderman.
Goldman, the only senior, studied musical theater at Carnegie Mellon University’s pre-college program and has eight credits in well-known shows such as “Rent” and “Avenue Q.”
Musical Director John Burke, a Grammy-nominated pianist and composer, sparkled on the keys and sang “Happy/Sad” from “The Addams Family,” as a special treat. He was most adept in supporting the various performers in multiple keys and the backbone of the show’s verve.
Director Bass was raised on a Virginia tobacco farm, formally trained in New York and performed for 14 years before realizing that teaching and writing were his passions. Score one for Weber for landing Bass, who performed “You’re Nothing Without Me” from “City of Angels” with student Liban, both of whom were nothing short of spectacular. Liban held his own in this powerful duet. Later, Bass soloed “Feelin’ Good” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd” as we were all transported by his charisma and projection.
Each student introduced a segment sharing their dreams. Many talked about “catching the acting bug” early on at The Davis Academy, The Epstein School or summer drama camp. Lebowitz joshed, “At two months old, I was doing Shakespeare on the street before I became the understudy for Brad Pitt.” Lebowitz was more on the level with his performance in the all-male numbers. Karlin, a Weber freshman, said he was smitten with performing after participating in “The Music Man.”
Bernstein nailed an emotional “Safer” from “First Date.” Heller, who was interested in drama since third grade at Epstein, stood out in the girls-only number “Mama Mia!” Burmenko performed a difficult confluence of two unrelated songs.
A stunner, Joel killed it in several group numbers and his own emotive “Santa Fe” from “Newsies.”
Friedman, with his groovy pompadour and great range, charmed in “There is Nothing Like a Dame” from “South Pacific” and in the guys-only Hamilton number.
And Kuropatwa, a pianist and band member, played and sang “A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell, which was used in film and TV.
Lindner, an 11th-grader, shared that performing helped her discover “her true authentic self.” Prior to the show, mother Marcia Lindner noted, “The Weber theater program has supported our daughter’s dream of performing and allowed her to better define her adulthood, while challenging her academically to be able to get into the best colleges.”
Karlin’s father Michael said, “The program here has been fantastic. Being able to work with Bass has elevated them all.” Dov Karlin has appeared in the Atlanta History Center production of “Falsettos” and “Elf: The Musical” at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, among others.
Glusman made her debut with this show and specializes in hip-hop and modern dance.
One could well ponder 10 years from now, “Who could believe that I saw the Tony winner X at The Weber School production in 2019?”
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- The Weber School
- You Will be Found
- Brad Bass
- Jake Friedman
- Dov Karlin
- Sammy Lebowitz
- John Burke
- Hope Lindner
- Eliana Glusman
- Liana Bernstein
- Amelia Heller
- Miriam Burmenko
- Avenue Q
- Mamma Mia!
- Dear Evan Hansen
- South Pacific
- Naomi Kuropatwa