MCS gives massive crowd a ‘White Christmas’

School puts on 38th production in 20 years
Those wishing for a white Christmas this year had their dreams come true during Mt. Carmel School’s musical adaptation of the holiday classic White Christmas last Friday and Saturday at the Saipan World Resort in two nearly sold-out shows.

The school club’s 38th production in 20 years featured Christmas music and swinging jazz hits by the Guam Territorial Band. The band performed in the school’s previous productions and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next year.

The play’s director, Jonathan Pangelinan, hopes that those in the audience felt the “joy and happiness that Christmas embodies and realize that it is not the gifts…that makes Christmas happy, but the people in our lives…”

“Everything about the play was perfect,” he added. “I am very proud of the cast and crew and everyone who put this together.”

With the success of this production, Pangelinan is already thinking of starting auditions for the school’s next production, Disney’s The Lion King, in May, which will conclude Mount Carmel’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Erin Camacho, the original floor manager for the school’s first White Christmas production in 1998, marveled at how the latest production incorporated changes to the script.

“It was new. They did a new take and made it more local and I really enjoyed that aspect of it,” she said. “After all these years theatre continues to be a big benefit for everyone who becomes a part of it. I really enjoyed it.”

Brianna Hunter, who portrayed the character of Betty Haynes, took the stage with fellow veteran Theatre Club members and lead actors Lance Deleon Guerrero, who played Bob Wallace, Markel Toves, who played Phil Davis, and Cathryn Javier, as Judy Haynes, in last week’s play.

“I am actually happy, not because it’s over, but because of the reaction of everybody and I just wanted to give everyone a happy Christmas,” Hunter told Saipan Tribune. “Theatre Club changed my life because the people I work with become friends and later on they become family.”

Board of Education representative Tanya King had nothing but high praise for the cast. “I know all of the players involved [in the production] and I am so incredibly impressed by the talent of our students from the CNMI and I know unequivocally that they can go out in the U.S and make it big,” she said.

Mount Carmel School president and production producer Galvin Deleon Guerrero continues to be “genuinely surprised” by the success of every show.

“When we started the Theatre Club it was just to put on one show. I never thought we would keep putting on plays,” he said. “…It is surprising but also some ways not surprising because we have great kids that I feel  really humbled and privileged to work with them.”

MCS’ performing arts program began in 1996. The school was also the first to have a concert band in the 1970s. Its annual Christmas program, which began in 1952, is the longest running performing arts program on island.

Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

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