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BOE Honors Bartlett High School Students for Top Finish in Musical Theater Competition

May 7, 2024

The School District U-46 Board of Education on Monday night honored nine students from Bartlett High School for their first-place finish in the IHSA Drama State Series. 

The students won the “Critics Choice Award,” the top honor in the IHSA Musical Theatre Revue category. The winners were announced March 23 at Sterling High School. Bartlett competed with the musical “Six,” a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England. 

During the musical theatre revue, three to six students present a 10-minute musical selection from a published score written for musical theatre, showcasing the students’ skills in acting, singing, and dancing.

The cast included Jenna Fox, Jamielyn Opilla, Mariella Santoro, Cosette Winter, Victoria Smutek, and Ava Grace. The understudies and crew members were Clara Dean, Mia Lannon, and Emma Robin.

Bartlett students with certificates

The nine students received Accent on Achievement certificates from the Board of Education.

Ava said she’d seen a professional production of “Six” in Chicago two years ago, and when she was cast as Catherine Parr - the last wife of Henry VIII, she was “over the moon.”

“It was such a fun time, and the fact that I was working with a group where everyone is equally talented and so incredible … It’s probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in high school,” she said. 

Mariella, who played Jane Seymour, said “this experience is something I’m going to cherish forever.”

“Plus, explaining history in this way was really interesting. It’s a different way of looking at history other than reading a history book,” she said. 

Michael Miserendino, an English and theater teacher at Bartlett High School (BHS), directed the production. BHS choir teacher Alexa Mount served as the vocal director, BHS auditorium manager Dave Goldman served as the technical director, and Bianca Pietro served as the choreographer.

Miserendino said this was the first year that BHS competed in the IHSA Musical Theatre Revue, but more than 40 students auditioned, making for difficult choices when casting nine. Seven of the nine students will be graduating later this month, and a number plan to pursue performing arts degrees in college. 

“We could not be more proud of these talented artists. They worked so well together, pushed each other to be the best that they could be, and had a smile on their face every step of the way,” Miserendino said. “Their passion, hard work, and leadership will take them far.”

Outside the Educational Services Center