Casting Complete…The King and I at SDA!

It’s been a theatrical summer for this Head of School. I saw Escape to Margaritaville in June, Pretty Woman- The Musical in July (which I highly recommend) and in just two days, I head off with my little one to see Hamilton! I’ve been waiting a full year to see this and am quite excited. In addition, my daughter has been hard at work all summer long- she is playing Aunt Sponge in James and the Giant Peach, Jr. I am, of course, over the moon excited to see her onstage doing what she loves the first weekend in August.

Here too at Saint Dominic Academy, our drama director Ms. Stephanie DeSarle is getting quite excited…she spent July casting the female roles in our production of The King and I and this year, is partnering with our experienced dance coach Marie Pompeo-Maffia in order to stage what is sure to be our most elaborate production yet. The curtain rises on November 30 and December 1st, and more information about tickets and the pre-show receptions will be coming in the fall. Also being announced in the fall are the names of our King of Siam and Lun Tha as well as some younger faces who will join us and play the royal princes and princesses. ( We are rounding up some “future” SDA girls for these adorable parts!) For now, it is my extreme pleasure to share with you, the Saint Dominic Academy Cast List for The King and I.


Anna Leonowens Julia Rinaldi
Lady Thiang Rachel Perrie
Tuptim Valentyna Simon
The King of Siam TBD
The Kralahome Reagan Mattiello
Lun Tha TBD
Louis(a) Leonowens Abigail Degnan
Prince Chululong Korn Gabby Beredo
Captain Orton Caitlin Aristizabal
The Interpreter Alison Mah
Phra Alack Caitlin Aristizabal
Sir Edward Ramsey Jessica Stanley
Princess Ying Yaowlak Veronica Dominguez
Royal Wives Led by:

Alyssa Fuentes


Téa Baramidze

Liv Lekovish

Christis Shepard

Ensemble (Cross Cast)

Royal Dancers Aisha Adeboye and SDA’s Dance Team
Royal Princes and Princesses SDA Family/TBA
Buddhist Priests, Amazons Ensemble (Cross Cast)

Spend An SDA Day at the Races This August!

Calling all racing fans..for the second year in a row, Saint Dominic Academy is embracing a “gift of the Garden State” and hosting a summer event for families, alumnae, and friends of SDA.

Whether you’re a fan of horse racing or not, there is no doubt that a day at Monmouth Park is an experience that every New Jerseyean has to undertake at least once in his or her life. So, if you have not yet come down to the track, make your inaugural visit this summer as part of our SDA Day at the Races. If you and Monmouth Park are “old buddies”, then please come and celebrate with us this summer.

On Sunday, August 5th , we will host our 2nd Annual SDA Day at the Races at Monmouth Park! We will celebrate this day with family and friends; children are welcome. Food is always available for purchase at the Park, or you can pack a cooler and picnic with friends as the ponies speed by! Our goal for the day is a simple one; to come together and enjoy each other’s company in this historic and picturesque New Jersey setting.

The SDA Alumnae Association is organizing this event on behalf of the school. For more information, you can visit the Alumnae section of the Saint Dominic Academy website.

An SDA Artist in Residence!

This week, let’s give some well deserved congratulations to our own Eryn Lewis who is currently spending three weeks in Juneau, Alaska. Eryn was selected to participate in this program by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. She will spend time in study with artists in the area, learning studio practices. Her focus for the three weeks will be wood carving, papermaking and printing. After the conclusion of her residence, she will create a body of work which incorporates all of the mastered techniques and her outstanding artwork will be part of an exhibit.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to meet our beloved Ms. Lewis is well aware of her talents as an artist; and not just at Saint Dominic Academy. Her list of exhibitions is extensive and includes the following:

            The Art Factory, Paterson NJ • Paterson Art Walk

            Brooklyn Art House Library’s Print Exchange 2014• Brooklyn NY

             Fine Art Alliance of Nutley, Nutley NJ • Inaugural Art Show 

             Douro Museum, Alijo, Portugal, 2014 • 7th International Printmaking Biennial of Douro 2014,

             Lamego Museum and Douro Museum, Alijo, Portugal • Global Print 2013

             Art on the Avenue, Nutley NJ

             Digital Art Salon, Santa Fe, NM • Alchemy throughout the Ages: Enlightenment through Experience

             Pratt Manhattan Gallery, Manhattan, NY • MFA Exhibition

             Pratt Studios Gallery, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY • Graduate Thesis Exhibition, In Absentia

             Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY • Pressure Printmaking 1st Annual Print exchange and exhibition

             N.A.W.A. Gallery, New York City, NY • National Association of Women Artists: Small Works Show

             Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ •Pratt Exchange Exhibition, Across the River

             The Ice House, Morgan Art Council, Berkeley Springs, WV • Handmade Paper and Book Arts Exhibition

             Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ •I Love Jersey City, photo exhibition


We at Saint Dominic Academy congratulate and celebrate Eryn as she completes her summer artist in resident program and we eagerly await her return “home” to us in the fall.


That’s Incredible…Or Is It Stereotypical?

Summer is here and with it comes the array of summer movies that people flock to the theater to view. I am no exception; I was at The Incredibles 2 the weekend it opened (Abby chose the movie) and although my readers know I am a dedicated Disney/Pixar fan, I was not overly excited to see Mr. Incredible and the Gang back for a sequel. Let me start by being honest- I do not like superhero movies, even if they are done by Disney. No interest in watching Batman take down the Joker or seeing Superman save the world, or discovering all the hidden talents that the X-Men have—I know for many people it’s a genre of film they embrace, but it has never been my cup of tea.

So, when I met the Incredible Family 14 years ago, I was not overly impressed; the kid runs fast, the girl can be invisible, the mom is basically an amped up Gumby and the dad is big and strong. Oh, and he has that friend (voiced by Samuel L Jackson) who can freeze things. I think true fans of superhero films would recognize these “powers” as fairly stereotypical ones; they’ve been featured in other films many a time. Seeing the, albeit highly amusing, family once again a few weeks ago was not a huge draw for me, but I went and at least expected to be a bit entertained…after all it got great reviews…

From Time Magazine: Incredibles 2 goes even deeper, delving into the fragility of the male ego in a world where women are asserting themselves more every day. Honestly, I was a bit put off by that statement, as well as the incredibly (no pun intended) stereotypical way Mr. Incredible and his wife Elastagirl were depicted in the film. For me, it ran like an episode of every sitcom based around the concept that if the woman is smart, the man must be dumb. So, in this film, Elastagirl heads out to save the world because the world responds best to her as a superhero. They’ve got her all fitted out in a tight suit (as if the one from the first film was not tight enough), she’s at glamorous parties, she’s doing press interviews and all the while, there is Mr. Incredible and at this point the name takes on a mocking tone, at home with his teenage daughter, his hyper son and his baby Jack-Jack, who bursts into flames, turns into a temper tantrum throwing demon and multiples when he is really angry. Dear old dad, of course, has no idea how to handle his kids- he ruins his daughter’s relationship with her potential boy crush, son Dash literally just runs around the house, and sweet little baby fights with a squirrel after he is left unsupervised and gets out of the house. And what does Mr. Incredible do?? He is depicted with bags under his eyes, stubble on his face, and a constant look of sheer exhaustion.

Are we, and is a generation of 6-8 years olds meant to come away from the film with the idea that “mom can do anything- save the world and run the house?” but “Dad, lol, he is so clueless.” Because I for one think that is a very bad message to send out to a young generation. I am wary of movies that empower women at the expense of a man looking like a moron. Even our villain in this film is a woman, while her brother is her sweet unsuspecting clueless minion. So, is that how it is? We can be heroes, but only if the men are incompetent? What kind of empowering message is that? Not one at all, as far as I can see…just another retelling of a ½ hour sitcom that is some 2018 version of “let’s all laugh at dad.”

As you know, I am all for empowered women being depicted in film, in novels and most importantly being praised in real life. However, I felt that the kind of empowerment depicted here was the wrong kind, and most surely the wrong message to send to young men and women. We can be empowered yes, but we can also work together to, if not save the world, at least make it a better place!


O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.