Elizabeth Students Celebrate “Christmas Para Todos”

ELIZABETH—Benedictine Academy’s Theatre Department staged a Christmas musical on Dec. 18 and 21. “Christmas Para Todos” (Christmas for All”) told the story of teenagers celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. Through their energetic singing, acting and dancing, the all-female cast touched the hearts of all in attendance.

The play was written, directed and produced by Liz McConahay Wanfried, the veteran Broadway actress who heads up the Theatre Department at the Academy. Pictured (l-r) are Beatrice Thompson-Quartey of Newark; Mecca McDonald of Roselle; Melanie Achariam (seated) and Cinthya Pizarro, both of Elizabeth; Cheila Cardoso of Hillside; and Saleemah Sharpe of Union, singing a tune from the show.

Student members of the cast and crew of Benedictine Academy’s recent Christmas Musical gather with the director/producer, Liz McConahay Wanfried (back row, far left) and N.Y. actress Danielle Chambers (back row, second from right). Chambers starred as “Mom” in the Christmas production. Chambers has toured in Titanic and has done regional theatre. She has been seen on “One Life to Live.” McConahay Wanfried is a veteran Broadway actress who had leading roles in Titanic, Cabaret and the Full Monty. She now teaches at NJPAC and performs, directs, writes and choreographs works of theatre across the country.

Four professionals from the world of theatre and music helped make Benedictine Academy’s Christmas Musical a great success on December 18 and 21. Pictured (l-r) are Mark Hermann, N.Y.-based music producer, songwriter and guitar player (has worked with Foreigner, and Whitney Houston); Danielle Chambers, N.Y. actress and singer; Liz McConahay Wanfried, veteran Broadway actress and dancer; and Gary Schreiner, Emmy Award-winning composer and arranger. McConhay Wanfried, as head of the Academy’s Theatre Department, collaborated with her colleagues on the musical, in which Chambers starred. McConahay Wanfried wrote, directed and produced the play. Shreiner composed a soundtrack to which the students sang, and Hermann added “screaming” guitar solos to the soundtrack.

Actress Danielle Chambers (left) posed with Benedictine Academy budding actress Saleemah Sharpe of Union following the first night of the Academy’s successful Christmas musical on Dec. 18.

The Danielle Chambers (pictured) offered a poignant rendition of “Noite Feliz” (“Silent Night”) in Portuguese during the Dec. 18 performance of Benedictine Academy’s Christmas musical.

Photos courtesy of Benedictine Academy

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