U-46 board honors Bartlett High School students

Group received top spot in musical theater competition

The Elgin Area School District U-46 board on Monday night honored nine students from Bartlett High School for their first-place finish in the IHSA Drama State Series.

The students won the “Critics Choice Award,” the top honor in the IHSA Musical Theatre Revue category. The winners were announced March 23 at Sterling High School. Bartlett competed with the musical “Six,” a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England.

During the musical theater revue, three to six students present a 10-minute musical selection from a published score written for musical theater, showcasing the students’ skills in acting, singing, and dancing.

The cast included Jenna Fox, Jamielyn Opilla, Mariella Santoro, Cosette Winter, Victoria Smutek, and Ava Grace. The understudies and crew members were Clara Dean, Mia Lannon, and Emma Robin.

Cast members of the musical “Six,” from left, Jenna Fox, Jamielyn Opilla, Mariella Santoro, Cosette Winter, Victoria Smutek, and Ava Grace, which won the “Critics Choice Award,” the top honor in the IHSA Musical Theatre Revue category. Courtesy of Elgin Area School District U-46

The nine students received Accent on Achievement certificates from the board.

Ava said she’d seen a professional production of “Six” in Chicago two years ago, and when she was cast as Catherine Parr — the last wife of Henry VIII, she was “over the moon.”

“It was such a fun time, and the fact that I was working with a group where everyone is equally talented and so incredible … It’s probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in high school,” she said.

Mariella, who played Jane Seymour, said “this experience is something I’m going to cherish forever.”

“Plus, explaining history in this way was really interesting. It’s a different way of looking at history other than reading a history book,” she said.

Michael Miserendino, an English and theater teacher at Bartlett High School, directed the production. Bartlett High choir teacher Alexa Mount served as the vocal director, auditorium manager Dave Goldman served as the technical director, and Bianca Pietro served as the choreographer.

Miserendino said this was the first year that Bartlett High School competed in the IHSA Musical Theatre Revue, but more than 40 students auditioned, making for difficult choices when casting nine.

Seven of the nine students will be graduating later this month, and a number plan to pursue performing arts degrees in college.

“We could not be more proud of these talented artists. They worked so well together, pushed each other to be the best that they could be, and had a smile on their face every step of the way,” Miserendino said. “Their passion, hard work, and leadership will take them far.”

Elgin Area School District U-46 serves families in 11 communities: Bartlett, Elgin, Hanover Park, South Elgin, Streamwood and Wayne, as well as portions of Carol Stream, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Schaumburg, and West Chicago. In total, the District encompasses 90 square miles within the Fox River Valley, approximately 45 minutes west of downtown Chicago, and includes communities within Cook, DuPage and Kane counties. More than 34,000 preschoolers through 12th graders attend the 55 District schools and programs. To learn more, visit the U-46 website, or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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