Retired play director, Mr. Tomaino, returns to BHS


Max Bozack

Play director Mr. Tomaino is back at Bernards High School

After almost three years of working at Bernards High School, former director mr. harvey announced that he would no longer be working with the school– an unexpected statement that surprised the cast and crew in the Bernards theater department. Following his absence, curiosity and mystique buzzed in the air as the young thespians speculated about who the new director would be. It turned out to be Mr. Tomano: a retired director who has worked at Bernards before.

This news delighted teachers and students alike, especially history teacher Ms. Pietroluongo, who has worked with him in the past. She expressed how he “is a mentor to [her]” and emphasized how excited she is to “reunite with him and for a whole new group of students to get to know him.” Most of all though, she is confident that Mr. Tomano will bring culture and community to the theater department, which had staggered a bit since the challenges of the pandemic. During the recent school years, many factors restricted how they could run the play, including masks and social distancing. Now, they are given more creative freedom to do what they wish.

This excitement has been shared by the entire population of Bernards High School. It is clear that Mr. Tomano holds a special place in many people’s hearts, especially the seniors who experienced his last year of teaching back in 2019. Even for the students who have not worked with him before, he seems to have already made an impression. Cast member Maddie Bozack ‘24 states, “he is a really talented person. He’s very professional as well and I can tell that he knows what he is doing.”

In speaking with Mr. Tomano, it is understandable why he is beloved by many. When asked about his expectations of the musical this year, he exclaimed, “We’re gonna rock! It’s a very funny show that not many people are familiar with, but I hope that we will gain a whole new group of fans from this show.”
He has already made his style of directing very clear- organized and thoughtful. This was demonstrated in the auditioning process this year- which was separated into three days. The first day the students sang, the second day they did an improvisation challenge, and the third day they read from the script. The mindfulness and the creativity of this process already goes to show the attention to detail that Mr. Tomano puts into the musical.

The cast list has recently been put out as well, which has taken many by surprise. The results are not as typically expected, with some newcomers as leading roles and some seniors as ensemble. Needless to say, this may upset some, but it ultimately shows that the selection process was unbiased.

As Mr. Tomano acknowledged, the musical this year is a rather obscure one. The title is quite lengthy as well: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Regardless, many students are excited to see what it is about. The expectations are set high, since he has been notorious for directing well executed musicals in the past. It goes without saying that this year will be no different.