MANCHESTER - This year, Maple Street School's Shakespeare Festival was held on May 8.

Once again combining two of its most revered traditions - the eighth grade Shakespeare play and the spring choral concert - Maple Street's entire student body participated in "Saturday Night Caesar," a musical rendition adapted and directed by teachers Mary Mangiacotti and Erin Gill Reilly.

The historic play, "Julius Caesar," was adapted to 1978 Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with Caesar as a disco dance champion, and included such songs as "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep is Your Love," and "Jive Talkin.'" This was the fourth consecutive year that Mangiacotti and Reilly teamed up to create an adaptation for an all-school production, with music becoming an important part of the script for a unique interpretation.

"Erin's ability to choose songs and weave them into the story is a real gift," Mangiacotti said. "She creates a magic moment on stage for each of the classes so that all students are involved in a meaningful and entertaining way."

"Mary's childhood in Brooklyn was a fantastic catalyst to teach the story using an especially funky time in popular music, and encourage all the characters to speak in distinct New York accents. Her wit and writing skills really added to the charm of the piece," added Reilly.

This was a highly collaborative project with teachers, Maureen Chaffee as stage manager, Geoff Chamberlain on lights, and Zak Hampton as sound engineer. Theentire faculty and staff also participated and their talents helped produce a good performance.


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