Joseph Cavaiani, son of Christopher and Patricia Cavaiani of Arlington Heights, and a senior at Buffalo Grove High School, was selected by rigorous audition to perform in this winter's All-State production of Memphis at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival. Held at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, festival performances will take place Jan. 10-12, 2013.
Cavaiani, who has performed multiple roles in BGHS theatrical productions and is a member of the award-winning BGHS show choir, The Expressions, is the first student from Buffalo Grove High School to ever perform in an All-State theater production at the festival. Thirty-nine talented performers were chosen throughout the state as cast members for Memphis, which is a multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway show. Cavaiani's role is that of Mr. Collins, a store owner. He is also a featured dancer in the show.
"Memphis is one of the most professional experiences I have ever had as a performer," said Cavaiani. "Everyone has a forte: singing, dancing, and acting. Our rehearsals are 12 hours a day: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. for an entire weekend. We have had many actors from the original Broadway cast (of Memphis) visit our rehearsals, such as Chad Kimball ("DJ Huey Calhoun"), Derrick Baskin ("Gator"), J. Bernard Callaway ("Delray"), James Monroe Iglehart ("Bobby"), and hopefully, more to come!"
The fictional storyline, set in Memphis, Tenn. in the 1950s, is based on real life events. It chronicles the story of a white radio DJ who wants to change the world, and a black dance club singer waiting for her first big break. As their ambitious careers take off, they must deal with the challenges of fame and their forbidden love. The show is packed with dynamic singing and "explosive" dance numbers.
"Joe is a gifted and talented young man," said Beth Wells, BGHS theater director and English teacher. "I have worked with him in complex shows like The Laramie Project and more entertaining shows like The Wizard of Oz. Joe's work ethic is unmatched and his natural performance abilities make him such a pleasure to work with. I was very confident, despite how challenging it is to get into the All-State production each year, that Joe would be an exceptional choice for this cast of Memphis. I was not at all surprised that the production team recognized his talent and cast him in the show."