Whether you’re into Sinatra or Shakespeare, poetry or broadway shows; whether you enjoy comedy skit shows, belly dancing, stop-motion animation or traditional Russian ballads, chances are you would have found something to love at Brookdale’s 50th Anniversary Talent Show.
The program, hosted in the Performing Arts Center in Lincroft on March 23, shined a spotlight on some of Brookdale’s most talented students and employees. Dozens of Brookdalians took the stage in front a crowd of colleagues and classmates, performing a variety of songs, skits, poems, dances and dramatic readings.
Music dominated the day, with employees and students performing a range of songs spanning the last 300 years. From Juliana Monroy’s moving piano performance of Bach’s “Solfeggio” and Andrew Bruce DiGiovanni’s take on “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis to Jessica Dorf’s acoustic rendition of Lorde’s “Green Light” and Lauren Viggiani’s version of “You’ll Be Back” from the musical Hamilton, Brookdale students showcased both their talent and their diverse range of interests.
Singer-songwriters also had their chance to shine, including speech professor Daniel Leyes, who performed his song “Waiting for Love,” and student band O.Schmidt, who performed a cover of the Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B”.
The show was less “American Idol,” however, and more “Brookdale’s Got Talent,” with a wide range of eclectic acts filling out the afternoon. Television production student Laura Vedder screened a comedy short lampooning late night talk shows; student Alan Makovkin aired a stop-motion animation project set to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit; students Marie Boyle, Deidre Hohn and Macii McKenzii each read an original poem or monologue; and professor James Cody joined student Janet Smuga to perform a scene from “Macbeth.”
Guilio Bianchi drew a wild ovation for his lip-synch and dance routine centered on Frank Sinatra’s “I Won’t Dance.”
“It was a ton of fun,” said Bianchi, a first-year liberal arts major. “I love getting up on stage and putting myself out there, so this was great for me. Some of the performances today were incredible.”
The program was capped with two show-stopping performances: first, a frenetic traditional Russian dance routine performed by members of the Brookdale Russian Club; and, finally, a mock synchronized swimming routine staged by more than a dozen employees in Brookdale’s Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) division.
“I loved it,” said first-year musical theater major Joseph Schiro, following the show. “I sort of geek out for my friends whenever they perform, so it was great to be able to watch them and cheer them on today. It was a really fun time.”
The talent show was hosted by associate speech professor Howard Miller, and produced by staff and students from Brookdale’s Performing Arts Center. Russian Club performers included: adjunct instructor Tatiana Salnikova and students Tsotne Mazmishvili, Yakov Yelizarov, Marina Kompaniyets, Olha Onushkanets, William Mint, and Artem Grishin.
The CPS performers, stage hands and costume designers, as noted in the program, were: Joan “Jet” Scocco, “Notorious” Noreen Kane, “Lovely” Linda Martin, Linda “Righteous” Roma, “Lively” Lisa Savage, “Marvelous” Margaret Agha, Barbara “Bubbles” Crook, Erin “Mad Dog” Mattsson, “Joyful” Jackie Fuertes, “Baby” Beth Tarantino, “Merry” Marie Lucier-Woodruff, “Sassy” Susan Powers, Barbara “Babs” Devine, “Darling” Danielle Propert, and Cindy “The Scissors” Berman.
Check out more photos of the talent show here.