Michelle Pauker and Clay Singer had major roles — Mary Magdalene and Judas — in this summer’s Staples Players production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was a huge time commitment — and very successful
So when the show closed July 31, Michelle and Clay could have been expected to spend the final weeks before school begins chilling at the beach, hanging out with friends or just acting like rising Staples juniors.
Instead they put on another show.
They chose “The Last 5 Years,” a clever 2-person song-cycle musical that chronicles a relationship, from meeting to breakup (or backwards — you had to see it).
Michelle and Clay secured the rights and the stage; hired a 5-person pit orchestra; corralled their friends (and parents) into assisting as stage managers, lighting and tech crew, publicists, set and costume designers — and handled thousands of other details, like miking and a website.
The show had a very successful run last weekend at Toquet Hall. Michelle and Clay have beautiful voices. They nailed every aspect of a complex, long relationship. It was one of those unexpected treasures of summer.
But that was not the most impressive part of what these teenagers did.
Virtually every aspect of the the production was donated. It was a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Here’s what Michelle wrote in the program:
Five years ago, at 11 years ago, my life was drastically changed when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. For “the last 5 years” of my life I’ve dealt with testing my blood sugar levels and giving myself insulin every time I eat something; excusing myself from classes and activities when my blood sugar gets too low, and experiencing the pain of needles every time I change my insulin pump site.
The day I was diagnosed, I thought my life as I knew it was over. However, because of support from the JDRF, new technologies and treatments allow me to live an almost normal life.
However, I know that many people with type 1 diabetes are not as fortunate as I am, and have a more difficult time dealing with the disease. I want to give back to JDRF for all it has given me, and by doing this project I hope to take another step toward finding a cure.
Michelle went on to thank her doctors and nurses at Yale; her parents; Clay, and everyone else who made “The Last 5 Years” possible.
Finally, most importantly, thank you to each and every one of you in the audience. Each ticket purchased is a donation to JDFR, and each donation goes toward helping children with diabetes.
Thank you for joining me in the fight against this disease, and the journey to a cure!
And how did you spend your summer vacation?!
(Click here for more information on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation — or to make a donation.)