Madrigal Dinner Meets Comedy

“HUZZAH, HUZZAH, and welcome to the Grammith Awards,” is what guests heard when entering the annual Madrigal Dinner sponsored by the school’s music department. This salutation set up the soon to be experienced parody of the Grammy Awards, a musical concert, play and comedy act all rolled into one.

The Madrigal Dinner event was held the weekend of March 1-3, 2013, in the Dwight Morrow High School North Cafeteria, which was transformed into a Renaissance-era concert hall complete with a boar’s head feast and serving wenches. Organized by music teacher Sandra Meltzer, the Madrigal Dinner was a magical night that remixed the past with the present. A full dinner was served and beautiful yet unfamiliar songs were sung by the 30 plus talented members of the select vocal ensemble.

This year’s entertainment included an array of A-list medieval “celebrities,” including Tina Fey, the host for “The Grammith Awards,” portrayed by senior Rino Diamante.

“Madrigals was great this year. I’m really going to miss working with Ms. Meltzer and performing on stage with my friends,” Rino said.

Other comedic characters portrayed by various members of the select vocal ensemble included Lord Charlie Sheen, played by sophomore Daniel Park, Mistress Honey Boo Boo, played by junior Emma Peterson, Lady Taylor Swift, played by junior Johanna Bekas, and Lady Nicki Minaj, played by junior Emily Dubon. The plot of “The Grammith Awards,” directed by Mindy Rochman, was simple; Lords and Ladies were nominated for various awards, given “trophies,” and made acceptance speeches. Some of the awards were Best Couple, Best Reality Show, Best Dance, and Fashion Disaster and so on. Each awardee was called to the “stage” and given the award, a stuffed bumble-bear. The awardees’ acceptance remarks showed off their true characters.

Lady Nicki Minaj , played by Emily Dubon, for example, won Fashion Disaster because of her pink hair and two pounds of makeup. She accepted gratefully saying, “Thank thee for this pretty award. It is obvious I’m so deserving of it. Just look at me! Feast your eyes upon my beauty. Behold my godliness. May my sense of style inspire you all!”

All of the students with character parts enjoyed the chance to be comical.

“I had so much fun playing Taylor Swift. Her lines were really funny,” Johanna remarked. Her lines included puns using Swift’s popular song titles, such as “Love Story” to play up her active, ever-changing “love” life.

The performance began with a shout as senior Brian Kouassi bellowed an introduction for each guest who entered. The select vocal ensemble walked in next, singing a 16th century Latin hymn. The group performed many songs, including a short rendition of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Later on, the string ensemble performed a couple of short pieces. All of it took place as part of “The Grammith Awards.”

For some students, it was their first time performing in the Madrigal Dinner.

“I felt like I was contributing a lot to the music department. I was thankful that I got to work with such talented singers and other musicians,” freshman string ensemble member, Gayatri Ganesh said.

The night was not complete without an appearance from the famous Men in Tights, a group of dancers who merrily danced and sang about their tights and fights. Cliff Nessfield was a first-time performer along with new teachers Randall Pratt and David Leach, as well as honorary “man” in tights Venus Rose. Former dancers, such as, Mitchell Ravitz, Gerald Dalzell and Charles Keohane, now retired, showed them the kicks.

“There is nothing like a well-rehearsed performance, “ Mr. Dalzell noted. “Unlike the kids, we were nothing like a well-rehearsed performance.”

Mr. Leach said that the tights were “much itchier” than he expected.

But the students who performed at this musical event had been practicing for over two months, with some rehearsals running until 10 p.m.

“During practices, Ms. Rochman made us put our phones on one table so we couldn’t use them. We were given 30 minutes to eat and use our phones; that’s it,” sophomore Melanie Sunga commented.

According to the other students though, the hard work was totally worth it. The event sold out on all three performances, showing immense support for the music department. Performers were very happy to see teachers, parents, and fellow students in the audience. The characters interacted with the people throughout the whole show, leaving everyone with a positive feeling.

“I hope the school continues the tradition of the Madrigal Dinner and I hope the future freshman will enjoy it as much as I did!” freshman Hena Patel exclaimed.


To watch the video from school try this link: