Valentino Musumeci Earns Senior Spotlight

Montclair High School Senior, Valentino Musumeci, teams up with the School of Visual and Performing Arts to direct his own drama show.

Left: Jacob Sailor, Georgia Garrison, Lily Feinberg, and Valentino Musumeci Collaborating. Right: Director, Musumeci // Photo Courtesy of Blake Broder
Left, Clockwise: Jacob Sailer, Georgia Garrison, Lily Feinberg, and Valentino Musumeci Collaborating. Right: The Plays’s Director, Musumeci // Photos Courtesy of Blake Broder

As part of the Career Internship Program at Montclair High School Valentino Musumeci is directing Gruesome Playground Injuries, a fully student-run play spotlighting graduating seniors Georgia Garrison and Jacob Sailer. Additionally, Lily Feinberg will serve as stage director for the play. There is an age-old tradition of graduating seniors taking on the role of director in the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA) – Valentino Musumeci is excited about the opportunity to carry on this tradition. The four meet five times a week and rehearse four hours each day. When asked about the demanding schedule, Musumeci explains that he is “trying to put together the most professional show as possible in the span of four weeks.” At every rehearsal, the group runs through the entirety of the eight scene show and then have a group discussion. Valentino Musumeci leads the actors through numerous exercises aimed at helping them dive deeper into their character. Jacob Sailer describes Valentino’s directing methods as “intense but very hands-on.”

Valentino Musumeci, Jacob Sailer, and Georgia Garrison have shared the stage many times in the past – all are SVPA alumni with shows such as A Chorus Line, House of Blue Leaves, and Chicago under their belts. Sailer felt specifically inclined to act in this show because “in the SVPA program you only get to act in one dramatic production every year since the other two shows involve singing and dance.” Sailer and Garrison both prefer drama shows over music theater and are grateful for one last opportunity to act in the Little Theatre.

Stage Manager Lily Feinberg’s favorite aspect of the internship is the opportunity to “do something [she] loves with [her] really good friends” – “We get to make our own hours, which helps us be more productive but also means everything is very flexible and gives us time to relax.” Actress Georgia Garrison believes that her internship is the ideal “way to close off [her] SVPA experience.” Over the years, Musumeci sat in the audience for several student-run plays and has looked forward to directing one of his own for a long time.

For the next four years, Valentino Musumeci will be attending Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama where he will be majoring in Acting. He believes that directing a show has given him a much deeper appreciation for the directors that have directed him in the past and feels it will help him move forward with understanding their role and how important their communication is with the actor.

In the fall, Georgia Garrison will be attending Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She plans on double majoring in Theater and Sociology. Jacob Sailer will study English at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Lastly, Lily Feinberg will pursue her love for Theater and Humanities at Northwestern University.

Valentino would like to thank Brenda Pepper and Deborah Garrison for helping get the show on its feet and giving him the opportunity to do what he loves.

The student-run show Gruesome Playground Injuries will be showcased on June 14th and 15th at 7 PM in the Little Theater at Montclair High School’s Freshman Building.

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