The Shaler Area Choir Parents Association will be hosting two world class Broadway performers for a benefit concert in the auditorium on January 24th at 2pm. Mr. John Cudia and Ms. Kathy Voytko will be performing alongside Chamber Choir and Women’s Chorus directed by Mrs. Kristin Tepshich, the 8th grade Vocal Ensemble directed by Mrs. Joann Weaver, and the piano accompanist Mrs. Corinne Fink Atkins.
Both Cudia and Voytko are seasoned Broadway professionals who have at least 10 shows under their belt. Among the shows, Cudia scored two of the most iconic roles in theatre… Jean Valjean from “Les Misérables” and the Phantom from “The Phantom of the Opera.”
“Phantom and Les Miz aren’t the new, cool shows anymore. However, they made so many people like me pursue this career that most, if not all of my colleagues respect the accomplishment,” Cudia said.
Voytko is known for her roles as Evita Peron in “Evita” and other show productions such as “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Oklahoma!”
“I feel like I’ve done a lot of roles that are dreamy, but I always fall in love with whatever I am currently working on,” Voytko said.
Voytko, herself, is not a stranger to the Pittsburgh area. She grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Her first exposure to Broadway was when her parents took her to see “Les Misérables” on tour and from that moment on she decided that was her future.
“I had no idea what this career would be like. I didn’t know anybody who was a professional actor. I didn’t know anybody who was a professional singer. All I knew was that I was absolutely hypnotized in high school by “Les Misérables” when I saw the actors telling such a powerful story through song,” Voytko said.
Cudia, on the other hand, grew up in Toms River, New Jersey. The proximity to New York City made this career option easier for Cudia to become familiar with.
Voytko like Cudia also fell in love with Les Misérables and decided theatre was something he wanted to pursue as well.
“[Seeing “Les Misérables ”] was the moment that all the pieces came together. I loved music, I loved singing, and I loved performing on stage…this one show had it all. After that moment there wasn’t anything you could tell me about how hard it was that would’ve stopped me from going after being in that show,” Cudia said.
Both of these performers have toured around the country and world but the one place they hold dear to their hearts is right in our backyard, Pittsburgh.
“They love Pittsburgh… They have connections here, above and beyond. They both say that performing in Pittsburgh is wonderful from a professional standpoint because the Pittsburgh crews are amazing and from a personal standpoint because they have friends and family here,” SACPA event coordinator Mrs. Jeanne Marshall said.
Not only is this event unique for the audience, but also for Voytko and Cudia as well. High school benefit concerts are not the norm for them so they collectively share excitement for the future show.
“I haven’t done a school concert. I am so excited to possibly help out a great cause and maybe help nudge somebody towards pursuing their performing dream,” Cudia said.
The event is a family-oriented, casual, non-stuffy show with unique opportunities jam packed inside. Future thespians have the opportunity to have their questions answered by both Cudia and Voytko. The audience has the opportunity to hear behind the scenes Broadway stories in between songs.
“I think it will be a great experience to be able to see one of my biggest theatrical heroes on a stage where I myself have performed… These two are legends in my eyes and I am honored to listen to their beautiful voices in my old stomping ground,” Shaler alumnus, Jordan Schreiber said.
This event has been a work in progress for multiple years and is finally coming to light. The money raised will benefit multiple groups such as the Shaler Area Choir Parents Association, The Theatre Arts Parents of Shaler, and the Shaler Area Stage Crew. Additionally, the money would subsidize the annual music department trip in the spring and other expenses throughout the year.
Tickets for the event are currently being sold online for $40.
“This is an unique, once-in-a-lifetime event… If you love music, this is an event you must not miss. If you love theatre, this is an event you must not miss. If you just want to see what these Broadway performers are doing at Shaler, you must not miss the show,” Marshall said.