The Millburn High School Drama Club (also known as the Limelight Players) have had a very busy year of performances, between presenting the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie in the fall and Woody Allen's comedy Don't Drink the Water in March.
In addition to these creative efforts, MHS Drama Club members are passionate about raising money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Since 2007, Drama Club has spearheaded many fundraisers for Broadway House for Continuing Care in Newark, New Jersey’s only special care facility for people living with HIV/AIDS.
We visit Broadway House a few times each year, and to be able to spend time with and perform for the residents is a true privilege. The visits have opened our eyes to a different reality and a worthy cause that continues to need funding and support. In fact, over the past ten years, Drama Club has donated over $25,000 to Broadway House (and before 2007, other HIV/AIDS foundations).
The Drama Club will present our tenth annual Millburn Cares benefit concert for Broadway House on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30pm in the Millburn Middle School (not MHS) auditorium. General admission tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.
This year's Millburn Cares will be Drama Club's biggest fundraiser to date.
Current Drama Club members, members of Soulfege (MHS' student-led acappella group), and 10 Drama Club alumni (from the graduating classes of 2003-2011) will perform songs from Tony-nominated Broadway musicals of the past 10 years, including In the Heights, Wicked, Rent, The Book of Mormon, Shrek the Musical, Memphis and many more.
Drama Club co-presidents Erin Hernon and Chandler Blasini are mistresses of ceremony for the evening. Jordana Graifman and Rachel Ben-Menachem are the co-chairs of the event. Millburn Cares is produced by Drama Club's amazing advisor, Ms. Suzanne Snyder. More than 50 Drama Club alumni will be in attendance.
Of these alums, many have started their own campaigns to raise money and awareness for the HIV/AIDS cause. Former Drama Club president Samantha Kubek (Class of ’09) continues to participate and support the cause as a student at Georgetown University.
"We started visiting Broadway House, and the whole project became even more real... something far bigger than ourselves," she says. Since graduating, Kubek has stayed involved in the efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, and has returned every year for Millburn Cares. "Every year my eyes fill with tears as I look at the students who have followed in this pursuit. I feel so privileged to be a part of this amazing event’s 10th anniversary performance."
Samantha Schoen (Class of '10 and star of MHS' ), is also still close to the cause. "Beyond Millburn Cares, the HIV/AIDS cause was so important to so many of us during our time at Millburn High School. What was really great about it though was that while we were fundraising and educating, we were simultaneously making some of our greatest high school memories and forging our closest friendships," she said. Within the past few weeks, Schoen (along with other MHS Drama Club alumnae) participated in the AIDS walk in New York.
To make a donation to Broadway House, send a check payable to Broadway House for Continuing Care. Checks may be sent to Millburn High School, 462 Millburn Ave., Millburn, N.J., 07041 c/o Suzanne Snyder.
Students featured in the concert include Aanchal Sahay, Alyse Binder, Ambika Chetal, Anthony Joo, Anya Parker-Lentz, Benjamin Dantowitz, Carly Maitlin, Caroline Casey, Chandler Blasini, Chelsea Schwartz, Christopher McHugh, Cynthia Mustafa, Daniela Kaplun, Eleanor Konrad, Emma Hayden, Erin Hernon, Fiona Kirkland, Jillian Berkowitz, Jordana Graifman, Julia Silverstein, Leonard Santos, Lucy Grebin, Miranda Kasher, Rebecca Van Voorhees, Sanibel Schneider, Sarah Fogel, Steph Shaw, Stephanie Cabrera, and myself.
Alumni members of the Drama Club will be featured, including Schoen, Kubek, Martha Meguerian ('11), Ethan Lipkind ('10), Sara Lipkind ('07), Jessica Spar ('07), Sam Schenerman ('11), and more.
2011 alumnus Brian Cao and 2008 alumna Daniella Spar, among others, will provide musical accompaniment.
The HIV virus was discovered 31 years ago last week. According to 2011's United Nations Report, 30 million people have died from the disease, and it continues to spread at the rate of 7,000 people per day globally.
Members of the Drama Club look forward to having members of the Millburn-Short Hills community come together on Wednesday to celebrate songs of the past 10 years of musical theater and support the HIV/AIDS cause.