Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Service & Song Camp Draws Record Attendance

DSC_0021A tradition of immersing incoming students into Saint Viator’s commitment to service continues this week at the fourth annual Service & Song Camp.

More than 130 students turned out for the five day camp, its largest group ever. They include junior high students and incoming freshmen as well as current Saint Viator students and young alumni serving as leaders.

On the first day, senior Ann Haubenreiser’s group spread out through the local neighborhood to deliver pamphlets about their food collection at the end of the week.

DSC_0019“We’re spreading awareness,” Ann said. “It’s our call to help feed the hungry.”

In fact, feeding the hungry was one of the driving forces which led Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, to start the unique camp, back in 2013.

“As we go about this, there are people in the world who are hungry, lonely, sick and alone,” Fr. Brost said on the opening day. “This week we’re going to feed the hungry and visit the lonely. We’ll be changing the lives of people by the work you do. You’ll be changing the world because you had the guts to come this week.”

This year’s destinations include: Community Threads, Sisters of the Living Word, WINGS, the Wheeling Township Food Pantry and the Viatorian Community Garden, all in Arlington Heights; Journey Care in Barrington; Catholic Charities in Des Plaines; St. Joseph Home for the Elderly and Journeys: The Road Home, both in Palatine; and Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg. They also will help out at homes of area senior citizens.

Students divided into 10 teams, which grouped junior high and incoming students with teen leaders from Saint Viator. Each afternoon starts out with a reflection on their service and people they impact, as well as a song led by student musicians and choral members.

“It’s neat to see that we’re making a contribution,” said sophomore Bryce McDonnell of Arlington Heights, after his first day of working with his team at the vegetable garden tended by the Sisters of the Living Word. “It was cool to work with Sr. Barbara.”

Senior Richard Rinka of Mount Prospect described the impact of his group’s delivery of sandwiches they had made to clients served by Catholic Charities.

“We as a community can be a light of hope for people,” he said. “Making sandwiches may not have seemed like much, but we are truly feeding the hungry.”

At St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine, camp members entertained residents with an impromptu luau, complete with presenting leis to the group and the boys even performed their version of a hula dance.

“It was so fun,” said Anne Sheehan ’69, whose 93-year old mother, Dorothea Caffrey, lives at the home. “It made my mother’s day and that of all the other people there. Their visit just meant so much to the residents.”

The second day of the camp also drew President Brian Liedlich and Principal Karen Love to drop in and observe the enthusiasm.

“As a school, we’re not only committed to rigorous academics,” Mr. Liedlich said, “but to carrying out the gospel values and serving others.”

Seeing so many students engaged in service impressed Mrs. Love, in only her second week on the job.

“Thank you for carrying out the good work that you do, through service,” Mrs. Love said. “I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you.”

Br. Peter Lamick, CSV ’07, is co-directing the camp this year with Fr. Brost and he offers a reflection each day before groups head out to their work sites.

“Try to see Jesus in the people we’re serving,” he told students. “When we talk about taking up our cross, we’re talking about responding to people who are in need.”

Get to Know New Saint Viator Principal, Mrs. Karen Love

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Q: Tell us a little about your background.

A: I have enjoyed a very challenging, diverse and rewarding career in Catholic education, serving most recently as Assistant Principal for Instruction at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Previous to that I had served in a variety of roles in both the classroom and administration at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.

Q: What attracted you to the Saint Viator opportunity?

A: So many things. Certainly, from a career development point of view, the opportunity to achieve a position of leadership has been a decision which I have given a great deal of thought. Becoming a principal provides me with a tremendous professional challenge. But it was essential to me, that if I were to accept a position like this, it had to be in the right environment and I cannot think of a greater institution than Saint Viator. The history of the Viatorian community’s commitment to quality Catholic education is exceptional. I am following a strong leader in Eileen Manno and have the chance to help shape the future of Saint Viator High School with Brian Liedlich and Fr. Dan Hall, a leadership team that is extraordinarily talented and committed to excellence. The faculty, Board of Trustees and even the parents I have been able to meet have all reinforced what a unique and inspiring community this is. The more I learned, the more I knew this was an amazing opportunity.

Q: It sounds as if you are well acquainted with the Viatorian mission in education.

A: During my tenure at Loyola Academy I was able to witness the Viatorian charism from a distance. Once I began to research the school and as I went through the interview process the mission permeated every discussion. What impresses me about it is the way the Viatorian leadership, really around the world, merges quality education, a world-view of equality and justice, and the commitment to building lifelong relationships, all based on an adherence to Jesus’ call to serve. It is not without significant effort that this can all happen together but the Viatorian community is and has been, committed to it for centuries. I see it as my top priority to maintain their commitment and their record of success in everything we do.

Q: What should parents and students know about the transition that will take place as you begin your role this summer?

A: First, that it will be highly organized and well planned. I have the good fortune of following the transition to a new President and Vice President for Viatorian Identity and Mission just this past year so I think everyone in the administration and faculty has a heightened sense of awareness of where the pain points may be. The academic achievements of the student body in recent years and the recognition as a Blue Ribbon School and an Apple School tell me that my role will be to fine-tune, not conduct a major overhaul. There are many challenges in education today and to stay among the finest schools in the country we need to monitor trends, evaluate new methodologies, refine the commitment to technology and understand and adapt to new curricula. We have built a transition team that will look at all aspects of what we do, identify areas for improvement or that require change, and use thoughtful, open discussion among all contributors to arrive at sound decisions. We will be ready for the students to arrive in August.

Q: What does the future of Saint Viator High School look like?

A: I’m here because I think the possibilities are endless. High school education is so different than it was even a decade ago partly due to technology. It’s possible that we can’t even imagine what new technologies will be available to us 5 or 10 years from now, but we will be positioned to integrate 21st-century skills for our students to adapt to new and unchartered territory. Saint Viator has an exceptional history of preparing students to not just get into the finest colleges, but to excel there. To maintain that level of achievement we need to monitor the changes in the college experience and make sure we are aligned with those changes. Those elements aside, we will always maintain a strong commitment to Catholic faith development in all that we do.

Q: What is your mindset at this point? Anxious, excited, overwhelmed?

A:  All of the above. I am very excited to begin this journey and the significance of the job is not lost on me. That being said, I feel that I have been preparing for this job for many years and with the support of Brian, Fr. Hall, the Board of Trustees and the faculty, I am really excited about what we are going to be able to accomplish together.

Q: Are you ready to be A Lion for Life?

A: I am! I’m so impressed with that all-encompassing view of welcoming middle school students into our school, of course caring for the young men and women who spend four years with us and then staying connected as they evolve from young alumni into successful careers as active alumni, and hopefully, someday, Viator parents. This truly is a community and I welcome the opportunity to work with all constituents that help make Saint Viator such a unique place.

In Just Two Years, Lions Softball Goes from 5-32 to Super Sectionals

softballSaint Viator girls softball team used a hashtag for their record-breaking season: #belegendary.

Head Coach John Scotillo coined the phrase and preached it from the beginning of the season through the team’s dramatic post-season surge. Seeded fourth in the Class 3A sectional in Antioch, they pulled off two upsets to win the sectional title on Friday—and this when the team was playing in its first sectional game in school history.

“We stress that they can be legendary—if they believe in themselves and each other,” Coach Scotillo says.

Scotillo guided the team not only into post-sectional play, but through a complete turnaround over the last two seasons, when they were 12-21 last year, and went 5-32 in 2015.

“This team has been together since they were sophomores,” Scotillo says, “and I knew they could do something special this year.”

He points to his senior leadership—Jenna Breslin, Cara Haubner, Grace Kaiser, Adeline Swiderski, Cameron VanValkenburg and Aryana Ziakas—who helped their teammates stay grounded and focused. The team enjoyed team-building events, including sponsoring a book club, donning Sacred Heart of Mary High School jerseys in a throwback game and holding a special ceremony for seniors to thank influential teachers.

Scotillo also laces his tweets with inspiring quotes from everyone from legendary North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano, to basketball great, Michael Jordan, who said: “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

Their season may have ended on Monday, but the Saint Viator community is still celebrating their historic success.

NHS Drive for Clearbrook Remains a Winning Tradition

IMG_2958There are many traditions at Saint Viator High School, but one that benefits thousands of people across the Northwest suburbs might be little known.

It took place last month when the newest members of the National Honor Society organized their first group service project: an in-school collection drive for Clearbrook, the Arlington Heights-based agency that serves children and adults with disabilities.

IMG_2962In doing so, Saint Viator was one of 10 schools that Clearbrook officials partnered with years ago in expanding the reach of Jelly Belly Days, one of their largest fundraisers. On May 12 and 13, Clearbrook volunteers collected donations at storefronts and intersections throughout the Chicago area, but Saint Viator students held their own drive, in school.

NHS members signed up to volunteer before school and during their lunch periods, over the two-day drive. Wearing Clearbrook’s traditional yellow vests, and handing out the agency’s signature jelly beans, NHS members collected donations from students, faculty and staff members, and parents.

IMG_2954All donations benefit the 8,000 children and adults served by Clearbrook, whose mission is to create opportunities for their clients with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We appreciate all the support and look forward to working with Saint Viator again,” said Hillary Mittelman, special events coordinator for Clearbrook. “The more people who participate, the more opportunities are generated to benefit our programs and services here at Clearbrook.”

Donations are still coming in, but NHS moderators Ms. Annette Bochenek and Mr. Kurt Paprocki expect the total to come in around $500, which far exceeds their goal.

“We were blown away by the generosity of the entire Viator community,” Mr. Paprocki says. “We always hear about how much the Viator community supports our neighbors, and this demonstrates that part of our school’s mission.

“The students deserve all the credit,” Mr. Paprocki added. “They gave up their time outside of their schedules to collect donations for a good cause.”

Saint Viator Students Work the Land

IMG_0423.JPGA new club is taking root at Saint Viator High School: the Veggie Lions.

Elise Horbach ’19 created the club, recruiting several classmates to join her in this farming caper, and Mrs. Kathy Gallagher has agreed to be their moderator.

They take their name from their gardening mission. This summer, they will be tending a vegetable plot at the Viatorian Community Garden—one of 14 raised beds—in the enclosed garden on the grounds of the Viatorian Province Center, located just south of the high school campus.

Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, started the garden in 2012, with a single mission in mind: to provide nutritious vegetables to families in the Northwest suburbs, struggling to put food on the table.

Right from the outset, all of the garden’s output was intended to be donated to the more than 400 families per month, served by the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

IMG_04202“It’s all about feeding the hungry,” Fr. Hall said at the start of the garden.

The Veggie Lions now will join in that mission. They are part of a growing ministry that helps animate one of the core objectives of the Viatorian Community, to fight hunger.

In years past, early harvests have yielded radishes, lettuce, beets, peppers, zucchini, squash, and eggplant, while the late summer led to hundreds of pounds of tomatoes.

The soil for the garden is rich, reflecting its early heritage as a working farm and nursery. In fact, over the last five years, Viatorian gardeners have donated nearly 9,000 pounds of vegetables to the food pantry, and nearly 2,000 pounds each of the last two summers.

The Veggie Lions will be working alongside other gardeners—who run the gamut from Viatorian associates and professed, to staff members and alumni—in furthering their goal of making fresh vegetables accessible to local families.

Class of 2017 Earns $29 Million in College Scholarships

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The numbers are in—and they are impressive.

Out of the 219 graduates of Saint Viator’s Class of 2017, 34 of them were legacy students, or children of Saint Viator and/or Sacred Heart of Mary alumni.

The 219 graduates also earned more than 600 scholarships—amounting to a whopping $29 million.

SVHS_00182Those numbers beat last year’s awards when seniors won 555 scholarships for more than $25 million.

This year’s class includes three National Merit Scholars, several NCAA Division 1 athletic scholarships, as well as full scholarships to the U.S. Naval Academy as well as the Air Force Academy.

College choices include some of the country’s most selective schools, including Brown University, College of the Holy Cross, Harvard, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Yale, to name just a few.

Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, vice president of Viatorian identity and mission, offered the invocation at the start of the evening.

SVHS_01702“Lord, we place these graduates in your hands for the next journey in their lives,” Fr. Hall said. “Shine your light on their paths and infuse them with your spirit of joy.”

Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, says the high achieving graduates reflect the rigorous, academic mission of the school.

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“We shape young men and women to not only be successful in the classroom,” Mrs. Manno said, “but to be leaders in academics, athletics, faith and of service to others.”

Class of 2017 Legacy Students & Alumni Parents:

Hannah Barbour ’17 – Kristen Zbikowski ’95
Katie and Michael Boler ’17 – Michael Boler ’82
Emma Burky ’17 – Suzanne Motto ’89
Orest Byskosh ’17 – Arkadiush Byskosh ’86
Susan Carlson – Timothy Carlson ’87
Grace Cavanagh ’17 – Mary Kelly Finnegan ’83 and William Cavanagh ’82
Sheila Cavanagh ’17 – Gerald ’79 and Mary Kain ’83 Cavanagh
Steven Cieniawa – Mary Jean Loiacono Cieniawa ’79
Kelly Dietrick ’17 – Ellen Butler Dietrick ’77
John Donahue ’17 – Brian Donahue ’91
Jackson Elstro ’17 – Rhonda Starr ’87
John Finnegan ’17 – Joseph Finnegan ’82
Sara Gasey ’17 – Arthur Gasey ’85
Samantha Hamilton ’17 – Jim Hamilton ’88
Emily Jarosz ’17 – Joseph Jarosz ’85
Beau Kellner ’17 – Timothy Kellner ’83
Addison Lubert ’17 – Christine Efken ’79
Marion Madaras ’17 – Kathleen Egan Madaras ’83
John Marchiori ’17 – Teresa Murnane Marchiori ’86
Kaelee Martin ’17 – Daniel Martin ’86
Jonathon Murphy ’17 – James Murphy ’79
Grace Niezyniecki ’17 – Stacey Collignon ’85 Niezyniecki
Sean O’Grady ’17 – David O’Grady ’87
Brian O’Hara ’17 – Roseann O’Hara ’80
Isabella Pastika ’17 – James Pastika ’78
Isabella Perez ’17 – Ann Buonincontro Perez ’89
Alexander Prazuch ’17 – Thomas Prazuch ’86
Bryan Rapala ’17 – Bryan Rapala ’79
Shannon Rooney ’17 – David Rooney ’82
John Ruth ’17 – Melissa Miller Ruth ’87
Shannon Stanczak ’17 – William Stanczak ’85
Wilson Starr ’17 – Caroline Avell Starr ’91 and Dominic Starr ’91
Shanna Wosick ’17 – the late Kurt Wosick ’79

Saint Viator Graduation: More than Pomp and Circumstance

IMG_9880Saint Viator High School’s 54th annual commencement ceremony took place Monday and it was steeped in tradition, with awards, speeches and the procession of graduates set to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Yet, the ceremony also established some new traditions. For starters, graduation took place on a Monday night, in order to limit any complications with college graduations. What’s more, President Brian Liedlich awarded diplomas to graduates in his first year as president.

IMG_9980“The class of 2017 is a truly remarkable group of young women and men,” he said. “They are highly intelligent, personally gifted and are genuinely good people.”

In keeping with tradition, Paulina Piowarczyk addressed the audience as valedictorian of the class. She used a road-trip metaphor to describe her four years at Saint Viator, with some detours and roadside attractions along the way, which have made the journey memorable.

“This is what I am challenging each and every person to do,” Paulina said. “Open your eyes, truly look around and realize how wonderful life is, even in its most mundane moments.”

IMG_0053The night also featured two of the most prestigious honors presented to outstanding seniors, the Andrew Johnstone Award and the Christopher Cup.

Senior Preetha Raj was named the 2017 winner of the Andrew Johnstone Award. The honor was created in memory of Andrew Johnstone, who died in the summer of 1991, before the start of his senior year, when he would have served as class president. For the last 25 years, his parents have presented the award personally to each recipient. This year, Mr. Lielich presented the award to Preetha, who was chosen for her outstanding leadership and spirit.

Preetha has served as secretary of her senior class, while also mentoring underclassmen as a LINK crew leader and as the senior goalie and co-captain of the girls’ lacrosse team. This fall, she heads to Chapman University in Orange County California to play lacrosse.

zacjonesThe final award of the night, the Christopher Erdmann Award, went to Zachary Jones, whose name now will be etched on the Christopher Cup, along with more than 45 other prestigious winners. The award was created in memory of Christopher Erdmann ‘68, who passed away from leukemia. It was created to recognize a student who has taken active involvement and leadership in the improvement of Saint Viator High School.

Zac is a National Merit Finalist and Fr. Louis Querbes Scholar, who served on Student Council and as a mentor to underclassmen as a LINK leader. He performed in nearly all of the school’s plays and musicals during his four years, but he also worked to heighten global concern and service among his classmates through Catholic Relief Services’ global awareness program. Zac will attend Yale University in the fall.

Celebrate! Seven More Seniors Commit to Playing Sports in College

IMG_9726Senior Preetha Raj never played lacrosse before her freshman year at Saint Viator High School, let alone stopping shots as a goaltender. But there she was, four years later, seated at the Spring Signing Celebration, hosted by the athletic department for seniors committing to play in college.

IMG_9758Preetha signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Chapman University in Orange County, California. Over the last two years, she has developed into the starting goalie for the Lady Lions, who are 15-1 and conference champions heading into playoffs.

“I had never been a goalie before,” Preetha said. “I volunteered to do it. I thought it was just for practice.”

Stories like Preetha’s played out at the afternoon ceremony, led by Athletic Director Martin Jennings and attended by President Brian Liedlich, Principal Eileen Manno, parents, and coaches.

“To play a sport at the college level is a huge accomplishment,” Jennings said. “You’ve represented Saint Viator High School and Saint Viator athletics at such a high level. We’re extremely proud that now you’re going on to play in college.”

IMG_9803Another athlete who never thought he’d be playing in college was Kevin Hamilton. He plays wheelchair basketball for the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association, based in New Lenox, and now will play for the University of Nebraska Omaha, which started its competitive wheelchair basketball team last year.

“I love the sport,” Kevin says simply, “and the fact that the school had a team was part of the reason I chose to go there. But they also have a good journalism program, and with the College World Series taking place in Omaha, there are lots of opportunities (for reporting).”

IMG_9783Bobby Perna always loved to play baseball, but he never dreamed he would be playing in college. On Wednesday, he celebrated his commitment to play at Concordia University Chicago.

“I love baseball, but I found my calling as a pitcher here at Saint Viator,” Bobby said. “Thanks to my coaches, I improved my skills and technique enough to pitch, which is what I’ll be doing at Concordia.”

By contrast, Jack Heneghan always saw himself playing baseball in college, he says, and now he will be playing for the Rams at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

“I always loved the game and I never wanted to stop playing,” Jack said. “My first two years here, the coaches really worked with me on my mechanics and on the basics, and that really made a difference.”

IMG_9770A pair of seniors from Saint Viator’s golf team will be teeing off in college. Nick Bavaro will be playing at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, while Sean O’Grady will play at John Carroll University in Cleveland.

“My teammates pushed me to get better,” Nick said. “I wanted to be able to compete with them.”

Sean came up through junior high playing football and baseball, but after suffering injuries, he turned to a non-contact sport and he found his passion, he said.

“My coaches and teammates helped make me a better player,” Sean said. “Just being in the lineup forces you to play harder and take it to the next level.”

IMG_9791Anthony McHale-McFarlin played on the defensive line for Coach Dave Archibald and the Lions, who advanced to the second round of the playoffs last season. Anthony will play at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin.

“I want to thank my coaches,” he said, “who were always there for me and pushed me to work harder.”

From Saint Viator to the Schaumburg Boomers: One Grad’s Journey to the Professional Level

John campanelli, annie campbell, and Cosimo Cannella at their 2012 graduation.

John Campanelli, Annie Campbell, and Cosimo Cannella at their 2012 graduation.

Saint Viator graduate, Cosimo Cannella ’12, is living the dream, literally.

In April, he was selected in the first round of the Frontier League by the Schaumburg Boomers and just last week he learned he made the final roster. The Boomers opened their season on Friday.

“This was a goal I set for myself and I made it,” Cannella said. “Of course, my ultimate goal is to make it to the big leagues, but this is a great start.”

During his years at Saint Viator, the Lions’ baseball team under Head Coach Mike Manno won its regional title his junior and senior years. Cannella went on to attend Des Moines Area Community College, whose Division II baseball program is nationally ranked before he transferred and played ball at Missouri Western State University.

“He played first base for us and was a power hitter,” Coach Manno said. “During his two years on varsity, he was one of our better hitters. He really worked at the craft of being a good baseball player.”

Cannella began his post-college career working for his father’s business, but he ended up taking a break to give his dream of making a professional team, one last chance.

cosimoCannella spent the winter months in Scottsdale, AZ, where he knew other players there who had played in the minor leagues. Together, they worked on explosive exercises, aimed at increasing his speed, agility, and quickness.

“I trained all day, every day,” he says. “I knew this was my only chance.”

In March, Cannella took a break from his training to practice with the Lions, who were on a training trip over spring break. Cannella spoke to the team about motivation and the benefits of hard work and dedication.

His visit with his former program proved to be a good luck charm. The very next weekend, Cannella went to his first tryout in California, for independent teams, where he caught the eye of the Boomers’ coaches.

At a subsequent tryout for all 12 teams in the Frontier League, which drew more than 350 players, Cannella was one of 24 players to get drafted.

“I was hoping to make the Boomers,” Cannella said. “I figured, if I was going to play, I wanted to play close to home.”

In part, Cannella credits his educational experience at Saint Viator with teaching him the value—and rewards—of hard work.

“At Viator, people are always pushing you, in the classroom and on the fields,” Cannella said. “That work ethic gave me an edge heading into college and I’ve taken that with me wherever I’ve gone.”

Saint Viator Theater Alum Nominated for Jeff Award

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Joe Giovannetti ’10.

During his four years at Saint Viator, Joe Giovannetti ’10 auditioned for nearly every play and musical, and created memorable roles as Riff in West Side Story and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.

Turns out, he still is drawing attention on stage. Performing in his first professional show, “The Most Happy Fella” at the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in Chicago, Giovannetti was nominated for a Non-Equity Jeff Award in the best supporting actor in a musical category, for his portrayal of Hermann.

The show closed in mid-May, but it led all musical productions with 11 nominations, including best musical, and was a Jeff-recommended musical.

It was his first role after taking a three-year hiatus from performing.

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Joe Giovannetti ’10 performing with Viatribe in 2010.

“I started to take performing in musical theater more seriously in high school, but I decided to go to music school and become certified as a music educator,” Giovannetti says. “I received my Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University in 2014.”

Even though Giovannetti was in Indiana’s acclaimed music school, he couldn’t stay away from the theater and performed in eight main stage musicals at IU.

“I was regularly the only person in the cast not from the theatre school,” he adds. “I really liked being able to perform while working on my teaching license. I felt like I got the best of both worlds.”

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Joe Giovannetti ’10 teaching a Choir class in 2015.

One year after earning his music education degree, Giovanetti returned to Saint Viator to direct the choral program, where he collaborated with his former theatre director, Mrs. Kate Costello. He now is pursuing a master’s degree at Northwestern University, when he’s not performing on stage.

“Joe was one of the few triple-threat young men that I have ever had the pleasure to direct,” Mrs. Costello says. “He was a joy to work with as an adult as well. He is a brilliant choreographer and music teacher.”

Giovannetti not only earned a Jeff nomination for his first professional role, he earned rave reviews as well, including this one from in March from Chris Jones, theater critic for the Chicago Tribune: “The cast, especially Giovannetti, yet another big talent performing for the first time in Chicago, also imbues the total switcheroo that the score often requires.”

Looks like the Non-Equity Jeff Awards, whose ceremony takes place June 5 at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago, is just the beginning for this Saint Viator product. Break a leg!

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