Students from our Theatre and Dance departments were thrilled to learn from Keynote speaker Jeanine Tesori when they attended the fourth annual Stage the Change conference at Tilles Center for Performing Arts at LIU Post. Ms. Tesori is the Tony Award-winning composer of Fun Home, Shrek, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Violet.
During Ms. Tesori’s keynote Q&A, Theatre student Carly Sesti went to the microphone and said that she loves Thoroughly Modern Millie and knows every word. Then she asked how Ms. Tesori wrote it. What happened next surprised everyone.
"Ms. Tesori went to the piano to give her explanation, but when she played the first few chords of 'Gimme Gimme,' it was like someone hit Carly's 'on' switch and she started belting out the song," said Abbe Gail Gross, LIHSA Theater teacher.
Ms. Tesori looked at her and shrugged and kept playing. The audience went wild as Carly then ran to center stage and full-out performed the number! Afterward, Ms. Tesori gave Carly a hug and said that was something she will never forget.
Held on November 4, 2016, the Stage the Change conference challenged students to identify problems that personally motivate them and create artworks that spread awareness and begin conversations about change.