Island Musical Theater Festival Set For Opening Show

Huntington Town Councilwoman Ms. Susan Berland (front row 5th from left) stopped by to congratulate the cast and present Broadway Director Ms. Susan H. Schulman, (front row 6th from left) with a town proclamation thanking her for her commitment to the students and to the Long Island Musical Theater Festival.
Huntington Town Councilwoman Ms. Susan Berland (front row 5th from left) stopped by to congratulate the cast and present Broadway Director Ms. Susan H. Schulman, (front row 6th from left) with a town proclamation thanking her for her commitment to the students and to the Long Island Musical Theater Festival.

The orchestra musicians are tuned and ready, and a cast of highly talented students from all over Long Island is ready. Opening night is almost here for the first of three performances of The Secret Garden at the Walt Whitman High School Performing Arts Center.

The South Huntington School District Summer Music and Arts Program, in conjunction with Recreational Arts, Inc., is just finishing up the first-ever Long Island Musical Theater Festival. This festival provided talented students from both Nassau and Suffolk Counties with professional training, while bringing together Long Island students who share a passion for musical theater.

The festival concludes on Friday, August 2, with three performances of The Secret Garden. The students will be performing with a full professional orchestra. They were able to attend a master class led by the original Broadway director of The Secret Garden, Susan H. Schulman. 

“Being involved theater in high school is a remarkable way of learning that you’re not in this world by yourself,” said Ms. Schulman. “Theater is a completely collaborative, cooperative art form, where you learn so much about doing things with others,” continued the renowned director.  “In theater, you depend on others, and others depend on you, so you always have to be there for each other."

The performances of The Secret Garden will take place on Friday, August 2, at 7:30 PM, and on Saturday, August 3, at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM. “This particular show teaches a lot about forgiveness,” said Ms. Schulman.  “Forgiveness is something that may be hard for a lot of young people. It is difficult for them to understand that you’re only actually free when you learn to forgive.”

Only about two dozen students were chosen to participate in the weeklong festival, including two elementary-aged children who played leading roles.  “Young students need to understand how important ‘craft’ is to succeeding in theater, and they need to know that talent is not enough,” said Ms. Schulman. “You really have to study your craft, and you have to have passion.  If you don’t want to do theater more than anything else, and study and learn your craft, you should really look for something else, because it’s not easy.”

Audiences will be in for a real treat as these hard-working troupe of student actors and musicians give their all for what they really love to do most.