The show will go on with Heather Day conducting her skills at Hillside

The show will go on with Heather Day conducting her skills at Hillside

Heather Diaforli-Day was not acting.

“I always wanted to experience teaching musical theater,” she revealed. “It has always been my passion and I was hoping that one day a curriculum in theater opportunity would come.”

“I made it a point that I would be interested if it ever developed.’’

The curtains have opened on stage—or in this case, at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.

Ms. Day, who has been teaching music at the primary schools in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District since 2012, will begin this school year as the Theater Arts Teacher at the high school.

However, she will be playing different roles, too.

She will teach at the high school in the morning and then make a commute across town to the Hillside Intermediate School, where she will continue to serve as a Music Teacher.

Her play will continue after school when she will partner with the iconic Gunning couple, Tom and his wife Teresa, and the three will serve as the advisors to the high school’s Drama Club.

Tom and Teresa Gunning have devoted their time as the highly regarded Directors of the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Theater Arts program since 2015. Now they will team up with a former actor in Ms Day.

The threesome will direct the three shows that are staged annually at the high school.

“For each of the three plays, one of us will take the lead directing while the other two will take the supporting role. We will switch roles throughout the year,” Ms. Day reported.

The billboard for this school’s year is as follows:

Thespian Honor Society Show: “Godspell” on October 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. and October 8 at 2 p.m.

Fall Play: “The Dining Room” on December 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and December 10 at 2 p.m.

Spring Musical (To Be Announced) on April 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. and April 21 at 2 p.m.

 The Gunnings will direct the fall show that will be performed by the Thespian Honor Society Troupe No. 5154 and they will also serve in that role for the play in December, “The Dining Room,” which is open for all students to participate in.

Ms. Day will direct the spring musical that has yet to be officially announced and it's also open for all students to join up.

The threesome held a meeting during the week of August 14 to promote their partnership and for students to sign up for the Drama Club.

The students will be learning from a pro in Ms. Day.

“I did a fair amount of performing before having my three children,’’ said Ms. Day, whose children attend school in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School district. Twins Audra and Vincent will be high school juniors and Joseph will enter the 8th Grade at the middle school. They and her husband Paul reside in Bound Brook (a section where the students attend Bridgewater-Raritan schools).

But she never retired from acting.

“I recently made a return to the stage performing “Into the Woods.’’’’

She cherished the opportunity to stand on stage once again when she performed in that show for the Chester Theater Group in Morris County, which is regarded as one of the finest community theaters in the state.

“The show this summer was a real highlight for me. I have been waiting to get back on the stage for a while.’’

“Into the Woods” also holds a special place in her heart.

This past March she directed her first play ever when she coordinated the production of “Into the Woods” at the Hillside Intermediate School.

“That is my favorite musical,’’ she shared.

During her career, she has performed in 19 shows and in three opera productions. A few of her performances occurred while she studied at The Boston Conservatory, where she received her Master of Music in Musical Theater, and at The College of New Jersey, where she obtained a Bachelor of Music in Music Education.

While in Massachusetts, she also performed as a Featured Soloist with the famed Boston Pops in Symphony Hall in Boston.

She taught music in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District before she arrived in Bridgewater-Raritan. Ms. Day was the Music Teacher at the Bradley Gardens Primary School and the Adamsville Primary School before she taught at the Crim Primary School for the past eight years.

“It was a hard decision to leave because I loved teaching at the elementary level,” she said.

But her dream to teach theater arts became a reality due to the exploits of Dr. Laura Bassett, who had served as the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District Supervisor of Arts Education since 2017. Dr. Bassett was appointed Principal of the Eisenhower Intermediate School this past February.

“Laura (Bassett) got this started when she named Oliva Matko as the Teacher of Theater Arts at our Middle School,” reported Ms. Day about Ms. Matko who is also the Drama Club and Musical Advisor at the school. “The next step was the high school.”

Dr. Bassett passed the baton to Matt McCarthy, who, as the current Supervisor of Arts Education, has helped produce the presentation of four new courses this school year—-Theater Arts, Musical Theater Workshop, Technical Theater Design and Production and Life Skills Theater

Mr. McCarthy is anxious to work with his new high school educator.

“I am thrilled about the expertise that Heather will bring to this new role. These classes will be a wonderful opportunity for students to explore the world of the theater,” Mr. McCarthy expressed.

Before the curtain closed, Ms. Day had this to share to the audience about her upcoming performance in the classroom.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with students and continue to help them grow and become strong performers and learn how to tell stories on stage.”