Congratulations are in order! This is the 2nd anniversary of Jersey Coastal Live, and my guest is Gary Kilmer, Teacher of Theater and Dance at Asbury Park HS who was named Monmouth County Teacher of the Year. This Asbury Park resident and former Broadway performer was hired to ramp up the arts curriculum. Under Gary's direction, the theater department has flourished. He directed Footloose, Backstage, The Wiz, and Charlotte’s Web. The Wiz played last April (2012) to record-breaking crowds. The opening night’s attendance of 250 was twice the attendance of a typical opening night. The following Saturday, over 350 people showed up for the performance which started late because people were lined up to get in. The Dept of Theater and Dance is also celebrating their five 2012 Basie Award nominations from Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. Backstage! earned nominations for Best Set Design for a Drama, and students Alyssa Figueroa and Nate Fields were both nominated for Best Supporting Actor/Actress in a Drama. The Wiz was nominated for Best Costuming in a Musical and Best Lighting Design in a Musical.
The spring play will be Once on This Island. The subject matter is topical given the recent Hurricane Sandy. “It’s about a little girl who survives a hurricane and believes her life is destined for greatness because she’s been saved,” Kilmer said. It’s also about class struggles in Haiti. The show will be “a great fit for this student body,” said Kilmer. Students from the marching band learned the steel drums to add to the island influenced soundtrack. Let's catch up with Gary and find out why he did cartwheels down Sunset Ave and what else he has in store for his students. After the interview, check After Hours at Jersey Coastal Live for additional information.
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