Villa Maria offers a variety of opportunities to work both on and off campus, including both a scheduled class and extra-curricular activities.
Theatrical Production and Design
The Theatrical Production and Design Course allows the young artists of Villa Maria to bring to life a full-scale theatrical production every fall semester.
The Curious Savage by John Patrick
From Wikipedia: “[The Curious Savage] is a comedic play about Ethel P. Savage, an elderly woman whose husband recently died and left her approximately ten million dollars. Contrasting the kindness and loyalty of psychiatric patients with the avarice and vanity of ‘respectable’ public figures, it calls into question conventional definitions of sanity while lampooning celebrity culture. The play was first produced in New York by the Theatre Guild and Lewis & Young at the Martin Beck Theatre and opened October 24, 1950, with Lillian Gish in the role of Ethel.”
2017-2018: Who Will Carry the Word? by Charlotte Delbo (above)
2016-2017 : A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro
Marian Masques offers opportunities for students to showcase their theatrical talents by performing in dramatic productions throughout the year. The fall semester includes a short Christmas play where students can earn community service hours, and the spring semester includes a one-act play or series of small scenes centered on a particular theme. Marian Masques’ exciting new venture is writing and producing original shows that are uniquely Villa in theme and talent. Students may participate as actors, singers, dancers, stage managers, prop masters, light/sound technicians, set/costume/program designers, script writers, and more. Meetings and rehearsals are held on an as-needed basis, with the majority of rehearsals held in the spring leading up to the final production.
Light and Sound Crew
Members of the Light and Sound Crew are responsible for helping with light and sound in the auditorium for all liturgies, assemblies, and special events. Students learn how to focus lights and design light plots, as well as how to set up a variety of sound equipment. In addition, students have the opportunity to operate VMA’s state-of-the-art lighting and sound boards. Meetings and rehearsals are held on an as-needed basis.
Teacher/Director, Theatrical Production and Design Class
Mr. Bobby Cucinella is a member of the Social Studies Department and Fine Arts department at Villa. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater from DeSales University, in Center Valley, PA, and has been performing since he was in kindergarten. Following graduation from DeSales, he spent three years performing professionally in various off-broadway and community theater productions. During the course of those three years, Mr. Cucinella continued his love of directing theatrical productions at his former high school. This love for directing at the high school level led him to develop theater programs at two prior schools that he has taught at. Now in his fourth year at Villa, third year in the Fine Arts department, Mr. Cucinella looks forward to another year of Theatrical Production and Design. Past directing projects include: Who Will Carry the Word (Villa), A Piece of My Heart (Villa), Annie, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, Footloose, The Outsiders, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Moderator, Marian Masques
Mrs. Sandberg has been passionate about theater ever since she saw Les Misérables for the first time at six years old. She grew up in a family full of actors and musicians, which has strongly influenced her affinity for the performing arts. When she was a student at Villa Maria Academy, she was a member of Marian Masques and participated in the Malvern Theater Society. As a student at Ursinus College, she took acting and playwriting classes and participated in the theater program. In recent years, Mrs. Sandberg has performed in local open mic nights, and in October 2017 she sang in the New Voices Cabaret in Philadelphia.
Mrs. Sandberg really enjoys being the moderator of Marian Masques because she loves working with students to create productions that are unique, relevant, and convey a powerful message.
Susan Anders Brizick
Mrs. Brizick has a passion for helping others to sing at their best potential and has been teaching voice lessons at Villa Maria Academy since 2007. Mrs Brizick teaches in her Independent Voice Studio in West Chester, PA and is the Children and Youth Choir Director for children ages 4-18 at Calvary Lutheran Church. She also runs a summer musical theater series and coaches musical theater audition workshops throughout the year.
Mrs Brizick is a board member of the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singers (NATS). As a member of the Voice Foundation and the Classical Singer Community, she actively enjoys continuing her education as a teacher.
Mrs. Brizick has her M.M. in Voice Performance and Voice Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College, Music Education Certification from West Chester University and B.A. in Voice Performance and Psychology from the University of Richmond. She has completed her first level of certification in teaching Contemporary Commercial Music and actively writes about all things related to singing on her blog and her website.
Mrs. Brizick’s students have been chosen for lead roles in many local theater productions including the Walnut Street Children’s Theater, Footlighters Theater, Barley-sheaf Theater, Limelight Performing Arts Center Professional Productions and Children’s Productions, and WC Studio for Performing Arts. Many of her students have also been cast in lead roles in their local high school and middle school productions, placed in both the GP Area NATS and Regional NATS Student Audition Competition, won a variety of local voice competitions and have been selected as high school performers in Broadway in the Borough presented by the Resident Theater Company. Other students excel in choirs by placing first in All Catholic Choir and District Choir.
Susan Anders Brizick is married and is the mother of two boys. She is an avid exerciser who believes that physical activity balances the body and mind. She also enjoys reading, cooking, and gardening.
Moderator, Light and Sound Crew
Domenic Zampogna is the moderator of the Light & Sound Crew. Entering his fourth year as School Counselor at Villa Maria Academy. He has twenty years in Catholic Education including positions of Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at St. Pius X H.S. in Pottstown and Director of Guidance at Roman Catholic HS in Philadelphia. DJing events and celebrations for over twenty years brings helpful experience on the tech and presentation side.
Working with Malvern Prep and Devon Prep, Villa Maria girls have the chance to develop their theatrical skills, and enjoy the chance to meet and collaborate with young men from other Devon Prep and Malvern Prep.
The Malvern Theatre Society
The goal of The Malvern Theatre Society, a collaboration between Villa Maria Academy and Malvern Preparatory School, is to improve the acting and technical abilities of each student. Each year the society produces a full-length drama in the Fall and a complete musical in the Spring. VMA students are involved in all aspects of the productions, which are presented on the first two weekends of November and March.
Devon Prep Theater Program
Devon Preparatory School invites Villa Maria Academy students to participate in the Devon Prep Theater Program, which presents a fall drama and spring musical. Auditions are held at Devon Prep about three months prior to the opening of the show. Students interested in acting, singing, or dancing or stage crew in serious drama or musical comedy may use this as an avenue for their talent. The musical production usually allows for a large chorus so that many students have the chance to participate even if they do not have a large role in the production.