Over the past few years, John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts dance and acting studio has earned a reputation for putting on season finale shows that are on par with those by seasoned performers.
Much of that credit goes to Leggio, a longtime Broadway and national tour dancer, who demands the best from himself and from his students.
This year's show, Direct from Broadway, takes advantage of Leggio's experience, his staff and the best of what his students have to offer.
"If there was ever a show I was most inspired and excited to put together, it is this one," Leggio said. "Since I was a young teen, I have been in love with the Broadway musical. For me, theater has always been such a magical experience."
The show has more than 70 songs from 50 shows — Aida, The Little Mermaid, Annie Get Your Gun, Bye Bye Birdie, Wicked, Chicago, A Chorus Line, The Who's Tommy, Company, Dream Girls, Fosse, Movin' Out and others.
Many will be familiar and beloved tunes, but several will be new to some who see the show: Won't You Charleston With Me? from 1954's The Boy Friend and Everything Old Is New Again from 2003's The Boy from Oz, for example.
They'll be performed by scores of students, ages 3 to 17, from Leggio's studio, as well as by faculty members Katie Kerwin, Susan Falcone, Stefani LaPorta and Leggio, all of whom have performed at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre and other professional venues.
Leggio himself spent 10 years on Broadway in some of the Great White Way's biggest hits: Cats, Showboat, My Fair Lady and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
"I also worked alongside some extraordinary talents who also shared my passion for the stage," he said. That would include Richard Chamberlain and Betty Buckley.
And he was artistic director at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre from 2002 until early 2004.
"Whether you perform directly on Broadway, a national tour, dinner theater or right here at Bishop McLaughlin, theater can still have that magical feeling," he said. "I believe that a majority of our students are also falling in love with the performing arts the way I did many years ago."
Show Palace scenic and lighting director Tom Hansen will do sets and lights; musician Rich Riccardi will do sound.