When Christian Musto entered the eighth grade at Lincoln Orens Middle School in Island Park, he and his fellow classmates had to start thinking about whether they would like to attend Long Beach High School or West Hempstead High School the following year.
The Island Park School District does not have a high school, so middle school students and their families must choose to continue their education in either Long Beach or West Hempstead School District. Although the choice may not have been so clear for his fellow classmates, Christian, who is passionate about acting, knew he wanted to attend Long Beach High School as soon as he learned that the school offered an acting program that included an elective course called “Studio in Theater Arts.
“I’ve been acting since I was eight,” said Christian. “When I landed my first lead role as John in Peter Pan, I knew I was hooked. When I get older, I want to be a professional actor, so it was important to me to be able to develop my acting skills in high school.”
When Christian arrived at Long Beach High School as a freshman, he signed up for “Studio in Theater Arts” as his arts elective. He also tried out for the high school musical, where he landed a lead role as Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
“When Christian came to auditions, he brought his resume with him — it listed dozens of camp productions, middle school theater productions, and his work with the Island Park Theater Guild,” recalled theater teacher and musical director Vanessa Krywe. “He fit the part of young Hero perfectly, and he also sang the part well. He had a real presence on the stage.”
While he always gives it his all at auditions, Christian said, he was still amazed to get the part as a freshman.
And being in the play not only helped Christian gain more vital theater experience; it also helped him acclimate to a new school in a new town.
Said Christian: “It was great being in the play and taking acting courses—it’s like having a bunch of family members away from home. My best friend from Island Park was also in the play—that made it even more fun for both of us.”
Christian didn’t know anyone when he first attended LBHS, but he said he has made many friends since his first day at the school. Now, as he passes the halfway point in his freshman year, Christian is very pleased with the choice he has made attended the school.
“The kids are friendly, all my classes are great, and I have a lot of cool teachers,” he said.