KO celebrates award-winning theater and dance programs


With KO’s top-notch theater and dance programs, it comes as no surprise that organizations throughout the state are beginning to recognize KO’s excellence in the performing arts. We’ve already seen how accomplished our theater department is: In June of 2020, the winter musical performance of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” won the Halo Award for Best Musical in the state of Connecticut.
Adding on to their award collection, KO won two distinct awards for its theater and dance programs this summer: one being the “Movers and Shakers Award,” which celebrates the Broadway at KO series from last winter and the other recognizing last year’s Choreographer’s Showcase dance program as the best program in the state.
When COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible to have a typical musical, the KO theater department did not stop operating. In fact, students were given the rare opportunity to work with Broadway performers over Zoom, an invaluable experience to their growth as performers.
“Especially during COVID, we [worked with] people that we wouldn’t have been able to have before,” Director of Theater Kyle Reynolds said. Over Zoom, students were able to meet one-on-one with top-notch Broadway performers such as Christy Altomare, Barret Wilbert-Weed, and Natalie Weiss.
Mr. Reynolds thinks that allowing students to form meaningful relationships with these talented Broadway performers is a great way to build community on KO’s campus. “I’ve seen our kids be really star-struck, and I also feel that way about some of the people that have visited our school,” Mr. Reynolds said.
Even with KO’s thriving theater department, Mr. Reynolds continued to raise the bar by introducing the Choreographer’s Showcase in the fall of 2019. “I think dance and theater are so important to a good arts program,” Mr. Reynolds said.
Junior Avery Schiff, who performed in the Choreographer’s Showcase last year and will perform in it again this year, said she really enjoys getting to work with outside choreographers from the greater community. “It’s amazing to get to work with the choreographers,” Avery said. “They bring a lot of new ideas and light to dance.”
Sophomore Anna Tippner, who has danced almost her whole life, also enjoys being part of the showcase. “Every time we meet a new dancer and try a new style of dance, we always get to improve on our movements and our timing, and I think that’s really important,” she said.
After all of his hard work, Mr. Reynolds is excited to watch the theater and dance programs continue to flourish. “What we have now is so special and so accomplished, and now I want to perfect it,” he said.
Thanks to Mr. Reynolds, KO can boast award-winning theater and dance programs, with students who go on to receive top recognition, such as junior Frank Pu, who recently won the Dance Molinari Scholarship.
“No one is doing what we’re doing, and I think that’s why we’re seeing the accomplishments that are happening,” Mr. Reynolds said, “and people are noticing that if you’re an artist, KO is the place for you.”
We are so grateful to Mr. Reynolds, who provides a distinct and phenomenal performing arts education to students, and we are beyond proud of all of our outstanding performers!