By JAMES DILLON
NRHS Performing Arts student intern

NORTH READING — What a fantastic, fun, first weekend for the North Reading High School Masquers’ production of “The SpongeBob Musical.” We were so happy to see so many smiles as our cast took the stage and worked together to entertain December 1 and 2 and look forward to providing two more entertaining shows this weekend, December 8 and 9.

Each student plays a key role in making our show what it is and how it runs. The show you know and love becomes an unforgettable musical experience right from the beginning. The stage explodes with energy, lights, and sound. With a full orchestra directed by Mr. John Eldridge, lighting design by junior Daniela Voisinet, and sound design by junior Sofia Naulivou, the audience feels as though they have been transported to Bikini Bottom to be with SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends.

Senior Dylan Mills takes the stage as the enthusiastic and willing sponge, ready for another great day until things go awry under the sea. With the help of his best friends, Patrick Star, played by senior Brian Conlon, and scientist squirrel Sandy Cheeks, played by the junior Alivia Rowe, the trio search to find a way to save the town they love, as well as all of their friends.

Tiny evil genius Sheldon Plankton and his computer wife, Karen, tamper with their plans. This dastardly duo, portrayed by junior Vincent Costantino and senior Sophie Donovan, respectively, scheme to make the town fall in love with their chum burgers and can’t let anyone get in the way. SpongeBob and his friends try to be positive as disaster strikes, but their pessimistic, lonely neighbor Squidward Tentacles does not help their efforts. Junior Matthew Mulcahy performs as the four-legged fatalistic squid, which makes it look easy to see the worst in people.

The money-loving crustacean, Eugene Krabs, makes the most of the fear, while his daughter, Pearl, just wants to be heard. Sophomore Nolan Barrette takes on the role of Krabs, with Pearl played by junior Eulalia Agganis. With the help of teamwork, science, and a boatload of optimism, SpongeBob, Sandy, and Patrick show the audience that anything is possible, and to see the light even in the darkest hour.

Masquers: A legacy of excellence 

For the past 55 years Masquers has strived for excellence on the stage and has certainly kept that tradition with this vibrant musical. Under the direction of Mrs. Allison Kane, the cast brings the beloved show to life, never failing to miss a beat. And of course, the show wouldn’t be possible without the amazing run crew, led by senior stage manager Piper Kirwin and assistant stage manager sophomore Matthew Capalbo.

Masquers is student-run and adult-advised, meaning the set you see was completely student-designed by senior Piper Kirwin, juniors James Dillon, Adriana Gonzales, Marshall Murray, Sofia Naulivou, and Daniela Voisinet, and sophomore Matt Capalbo. The set was built and painted by the aforementioned students along with sophomores Stevie Schomp, Grace Coleman, Liam Kirwin, and Rachel Duval, and freshmen Bryce Larose and Giselle DaSilva. Even alumnus Sam Barrette (2018) stepped in to help with the flying of students for the run of the show. When asked, the students wanted to thank Mrs. Allison Kane, Mr. Peter Kane, Ms. Chrissy Bowman, Mr. Benjamin Owens, Ms. Laura Hargrove, Mr. Dave Barber, Ms. Stephanie Griffin, and Mr. John Eldridge for all their help guiding us and making it possible for us to have such an outstanding show. 

Sondheim Awards adjudication

Judges from the New York City area will once again be at several of our performances, preparing notes and comments for the larger adjudication process for the Sondheim Awards. Based in Connecticut, this award track is part of The National High School Musical Theatre Awards. More commonly known as the Jimmy Awards, these awards are given annually to recognize musical theatre performances by high school students in the United States. Two main awards are given each year, Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor.

Masquers was welcomed to participate in this process last year and their production of “Pippin” was nominated for 10 awards including Best Musical Performance, Best Lighting Design, Best Set Design and Best Choreography, while Dylan Mills was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor for his role as Leading Player (the winners of these particular awards win significant scholarship checks and are invited to the annual national Jimmy Awards’ week-long process at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City). After considering their performance and those from high schools in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut, the Sondheim Awards selected “Pippin” as the winner of the Best Musical Performance.

The Masquers continue to be able to rely upon students and staff to produce and present high-quality, award-winning performances, entertaining the community and providing career paths for its participants. This tradition is something that they are extremely proud of and that pride is evident in their embracing the process of resilient trial and error necessary to pull off such feats. All of this is done for your delight, and so you are cordially invited to visit this pineapple under the sea to experience the best day ever so wonderfully presented by this group of talented young adults.

Tickets for this weekend’s shows (Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.) are still available at www.ticketstage.com.