Kingdom of Solitaire Delights
The VPA’s first musical of the season, “Kingdom of Solitaire,” drew adoring crowds who came to see the last musical of Scott Keys’s teaching career at BHS. The veteran VPA Theatre Department Chair will retire in June.
The musical, written by Keys (book and lyrics), with music by long-time collaborative partner and colleague Johnnie Mnich, brought bittersweet emotions to patrons, including legacy former Booker Principal Jan Gibbs, current Principal Dr. Rachel Shelley, Superintendent Brennan Asplen, school board members, district leaders, and more.
With a range of songs from gospel to rap to classic show tunes, “Kingdom” offers important lessons about the arbitrariness of societal division and the value of belonging. It skewers many timely social ills, including greed, senseless violence, and exclusivity along protagonist Poindexter McFrump’s journey to settle the great Suit Dispute.
Keys told audiences it’s a story he’d first conceived of as a high school student, when he initially pondered a “fifth suit.” Over summer 2020, in the thick of the quarantine, with societal turmoil and a pandemic creating deep divides and exacerbating fractures and isolation, he picked up the play he’d written years before and decided it was time to rework it. In December, he asked Mnich to consider writing the musical with him.
The production was directed by Keys, with music direction by Mnich, choreography by Cynthia Ashford, set design by Caleb Carrier, sound and livestream engineering by Nick Jones, and costumes by Heather Clarke.
It starred Jack Nash as the Joker, Ryan Modjeski as Poindexter McFrump, Anthony Dorso as the Jack of Spades, Michael McQueeney as the King of Diamonds, Laura Swartzendruber as the Ace of Clubs, and Abigail Holdway as the Queen of Hearts, all delivering spirited and memorable performances. Those who missed it missed a true gem of VPA Theatre history.
Booker VPA Art Dominates North County Art Show
This has been a terrible year for many things, but a great one for VPA fine artists, whose work was selected and won numerous awards in the annual North County Art Show.
Acrylic Painting: 2nd Akos Fuszfas (12) 3rd Mehak Sandhu (10) Drawing Color: 1st Ludy Eiseman (9) 2nd Isabelle Zaccone (12) 3rd Alanna Hutton (10) Mixed Media: 1st Ryan Fett (10) 2nd Dulce Kincaid (12) Manipulated Photo: 2nd Ella Mirman (12) Watercolor: 1st Alanna Hutton (10) 2nd Nicolina Morra (12) 3rd Sayo Hayashi (12) Special Award Creative: Alexis Linton (10) Best in School: Mehak Sandhu (10) BHS took whole categories and we are so excited for the great representation at the show. North County Art Show Art Center Sarasota 707 N. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34236 Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. // April 28 & 30 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. ***Interested patrons must call and make an appointment to view via Zoom unless a member. (941) 365-2032 Here are select winners:
Film & Animation Works Selected for Sarasota Film Festival
Three films from VPA’s Film & Animation Department were selected to screen as part of Sarasota Film Festival’s Hollywood Nights Young Filmmaker Showcase 2021:
- Sorry for the Delay
- Chick Flick
The in-theater screening (with the red carpet) will take place on Wednesday, May 5th, at the CMX CinéBistro Siesta Key at 7:30PM. The red carpet will start 45 minutes earlier, so please recommend for any filmmakers interested in attending to arrive earlier.
Patrons can get tickets for the in-theatre screening here.
The films will also be available online during the duration of the festival.
VPA Music Seniors Win Prestigious Suncoast Music Awards
Congratulations to Colin Leonard and Leela Sundaram, who won first and third place respectively for performances submitted to the Suncoast Music Scholarship competition. Colin’s $3,000 scholarship was earned through performance on saxophone, and Leela’s $1,000 scholarship was earned through performance on violin. Both intend to pursue college at the music level.
Both students will be a perform in several end-of-the-year events, both online and in person. Check your weekly newsletter for dates and details to see them in the last performances of their high school careers.
VPA Students Sweep PEL Scholarship Awards
Several VPA students were selected to receive $1,000 PEL (Personalized Estate Liquidation) scholarships for the 2021 scholarship program. PEL has awarded several scholarships to Booker High School students for a number of years, and this year gave $25,000 in awards–$15,000 to current students and an additional $10,000 to BHS alumni. We are grateful for this partnership and the generosity of the PEL board, who has graciously supported the futures of so many BHS students.