Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 7, 2012

Lockport student could sing for Tony winner

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

A Lockport High School student has an opportunity this week to sing for a Tony Award-winning composer.

Lauren O'Brien, 17, will serve as an alternate for a special masterclass to be taught Saturday at Amherst High School by Jason Robert Brown. Brown won a Tony for his work in Parade, which was produced at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

Six local high school theater and music students will take the class and perform for Brown. If there's time Saturday or if a student drops out, O'Brien will have a chance to sing for the award winning composer.

O'Brien was chosen after a September audition. She had heard about the opportunity from Robert Pacillo, a music teacher at Lockport High. 

"I'm really excited," O'Brien said. "They told me to be prepared, there's a chance he could have me sing too."

A senior, O'Brien has performed in shows at Lockport, such as "Once on This Island," "The Miracle Worker" and the school's widely popular performance of "The Phantom of the Opera." She has been involved in shows and musicals since her days as a seventh-grader at North Park.

With plans to study musical theater in college next fall, an opportunity to sing in from of a Tony Award-winning composer was a great one.

"He is an amazing pianist and has some great arrangements, I can't wait," O'Brien said.

Brown's trip to Buffalo ties in with the opening of the musical, "The Last Five Years." The show is being produced by New Buffalo Productions, a company run by two Western New Yorkers, Christopher Wietig and Leah Schneider. 

The Last Five Years will run at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Alleyway Theatre on Main Street in Buffalo. There is also a VIP reception Friday with Brown.

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