When you see the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) production of “A Chorus Line,” (with performances this weekend and next) you will be seeing a group of seniors in their last musical at Montclair High School. But you may not be seeing the last of these students on stage, since many of this year’s talented group of graduates are planning to pursue performing arts degrees in acting, musical theatre, dance and music, in numbers unprecedented.

A Chorus Line. Photo: Remi Riordan (click to enlarge)

In fact, the choice of “A Chorus Line” is a fitting way for SVPA director Brenda Pepper to acknowledge an amazingly talented class of 2017. The show focuses on a group of performers, an ensemble, rather than one or two leads, allowing audiences to discover each character’s complex backstory, personalities and what drives them to perform.

Amanda Harris (center) and cast of A Chorus Line. Photo: Remi Riordan (click to enlarge)

Thrilling Combination

This year, a seasoned group of six senior actors — Maiya Blaney (playing Cassie), Sofia Happonen (Val), Amanda Harris (Diana Morales), Lilli Herrick (Judi), Brittany Hurlock (Tricia), and Sydney Miede (Sheila) will all go from playing their parts in “A Chorus Line” to pursuing performing arts degrees at schools including Pace, Muhlenberg, Boston University, Ithaca College and University of Michigan. Steven Davis (Greg) will study animation at the School of Visual Arts.

Other seniors on tech and in the band will continue their pursuit of music and theatre while studying other subjects. Lead stage manager, Julianna Wittmann, will be attending the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, while Kaitlin Griffin, one of the heads of tech, is off to Emerson this fall to study film.

SVPA Pit Band Seniors: (l. to r.) Jadyn Trayvick (flute); Caroline Creaser (clarinet); Maya Stepansky (drums); Jeremy Stepansky (keyboard); Zack Marzulli (bass); Nathan Farrell (flute, clarinet, saxophone); Sam Schuman (guitar); Sebastian Posada (baritone saxophone)

Especially exceptional about this year’s group of graduating seniors is the musical talent and accomplishments of those playing in the SVPA pit band. Jadyn Trayvick (flute) will attend Yale University; Caroline Creaser (clarinet) is going to Cornell University. Nathan Farrell (flute, clarinet, saxophone), who has been selected twice for the Grammy Camp Jazz Session, will attend Columbia University, where he will participate in their Jazz Performance program. A talented singer, Nathan also hopes to produce music as an R&B solo artist. Maya Stepansky (drums), who also attended this year’s Grammy Camp Jazz session, will be taking a year off from starting at Princeton to study jazz at the Brubeck Institute as a Brubeck Fellow, where she will serve as the drummer for the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet. After that, she plans to get a certificate in jazz studies/performance and possibly major in music at Princeton. Her brother Jeremy Stepansky (keyboards) is pursuing a dual degree at Harvard and Berklee School of Music.

Sebastian Posada (baritone saxophone) will attend Ithaca College and plans to minor in music performance. Sam Schuman will be at Oberlin College, where he plans to play in the orchestra and take conservatory classes. And Zack Marzulli (bass) will pursue a bachelors of music, majoring in classical double bass at The Juilliard School.

Maiya Blaney (playing Cassie) Photo: Remi Riordan (click to enlarge)

All these seniors and the talented underclassmen who join them both on stage and behind the scenes are the thrilling combination that is this year’s musical, “A Chorus Line.” Don’t miss it!


May 5, 6, 12, 13 @ 7:30pm, May 14 @ 3pm
The Little Theater, 141 Park Street, Montclair
Tickets at seatyourself.biz/montclairschoolarts or one hour before showtime at the box office. (This show contains some adult language)