City school for girls receives exclusive Masterclass with cast member of Chicago


With theatre fever in the air, Academy of Mary Immaculate in Fitzroy has welcomed collaboration with Stephen Valeri, cast member of the acclaimed musical Chicago, currently gracing the stages of Melbourne.

In an unprecedented opportunity, the students performing in this year’s school production of Chicago, had the privilege of participating in a bespoke musical masterclass led by Valeri, a principal cast member in the 2023/24 Australian tour.

The masterclass, held in Term 1, was a unique occasion for the students to refine their musical talents under the guidance of a professional performer with first-hand experience in one of Broadway’s most celebrated productions.

Valeri generously shared invaluable insights into character development, stage presence, and vocal techniques.

“We are immensely grateful to Stephen for sharing his time and expertise with our students,” performing arts learning leader Olivia Hamilton said.

“Stephen’s professional expertise and passion for the craft inspired our students, leaving a lasting impact on their performance skills.”


This hands-on experience not only enhances their understanding of the theatrical process but also instils a sense of confidence and professionalism that extends beyond the stage into various aspects of their lives.


“We feel incredibly lucky for the opportunity to learn from such a seasoned specialist. It was a workshop that truly brought the razzle-dazzle of Chicago to life for all involved.”

The musical Chicago is inspired by a play of the same name by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins who was assigned to cover the 1924 trials of accused murderers Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the Chicago Tribune.

Valeri said it was a pleasure to work with the talented students of the Academy who impressed the performer, “not only with their performance skills, but their willingness to delve deeper into the text of this iconic piece.”

“They were responsive, passionate and handled themselves professionally during the workshop,” he said. “School musicals are an incredible training ground for young performers to develop their skills, not only on the stage, but in life. They foster an appreciation for the creative process and the arts in general. I’m so looking forward to seeing their fully realised production.”

The Academy of Mary Immaculate is the oldest girls’ school in Victoria, located in Fitzroy. The Academy is an authentic and inclusive premier learning community, dedicated to nurturing the academic, artistic, and personal development of students, where students are empowered to achieve their full potential across various disciplines.

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