Three-year old Bianca Pagano ’21, wrapped in a rainbow towel, burst out from a walk-in closet and began singing the opening number from the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Inspired by the middle school production her older sister Alexa Pagano ’16 had recently participated in, Bianca Pagano filmed her own reenactment of the scene, marking the start of her passion for performing.
Since then, Bianca Pagano has been singing, acting, and performing in musicals with various programs in New York City, most notably “Applause,” a musical theater program located on the Upper East Side. She discovered this passion largely through the influence of Alexa Pagano, who was already very active in the performing arts.
“Alexa would do shows called reviews, [which were basically] composed of songs from different musicals along with little skits, and I just remember that I wanted to go to every single show every time. She had this group of friends and they would always hang out after they had musical theater class and they would sing, and I just remember always wanting to be with them all the time. I’d listen to her sing all the time and I would mimic her,” said Bianca Pagano.
Although much of her inspiration stems from her older sister, Bianca Pagano has also created her own path in the arts, focusing more on acting over singing and musical theater productions.
“I just think when you act, you have to reveal a certain side of yourself while simultaneously being someone else… You have to be your own person while you’re acting… It’s kind of like having another identity in a sense. I just like being able to let all my emotion out through it [and I like] how real it [is], and how you [can] really read [a script] and think about why the writers wrote how they did, what they did,” said Bianca Pagano.
Throughout the years, Bianca Pagano’s performances have grown immensely from her initial walk-in closet scene from over a decade ago as she has gained more experience in the industry, according to Alexa Pagano.
“She’s much better at projecting now and just letting [her voice] rip rather than holding back… through the videos and the shows that I have been able to see, she’s really just grown to have a really strong stage presence that has really taken a while to develop. Just seeing her be herself on stage is just a wonderful thing,” said Alexa Pagano.
One of the main lessons Bianca Pagano has learned from her experiences in performing arts is to learn to accept and be comfortable with her mistakes, which she deems the most important mindset for a performer.
“I remember [when I was in middle school]… I was in the middle of a solo and I just completely blanked out… And as I got out I was really upset and my parents [asked,] ‘Why are you so angry?’ I [responded], ‘Did you not hear me forget my line in the middle of the show?’ and they said ‘no’… I really learned that it’s okay to mess up as long as you just find a way to do better next time. Especially in theater, so many kids are scared of stage because they know they might mess up… [But the] amount of courage that it takes to get up and do that on a stage is greater than the mistakes that you make and… the performance you’re going to give,” said Bianca Pagano.
At Andover, Bianca Pagano hopes to play an active role in the Department of Theatre and Dance as well as the Music Department, while simultaneously creating her own path and leaving her own mark. Among other activities, Bianca Pagano plans to join chorus, Keynotes, and is already cast as the son of Emma Chatson ’18 in the Fall Term musical “Ragtime.”
“I think a lot of my time or motivations, at least for [Junior] year, will be based off of what Alexa did. I’m sure I’ll branch out in some way though, because I definitely don’t want to be exactly like her, that’s for sure. So I’m probably going to try a lot of different things,” said Bianca Pagano.
Bianca’s positivity and passion for performing is much appreciated by her fellow cast members, as noted by Chatson.
“I think Bianca is a unique performer because she brings so much energy and passion into what she does. In rehearsals for ‘Ragtime,’ she is always the most energetic and lively person in the room. Her positivity is contagious. I haven’t performed with Bianca yet. But, singing in rehearsal with her is a blast,” said Chatson in an email.
On top of the opportunity to share a writer’s story with the audience, Bianca Pagano also enjoys the relationships she forms when working with a cast, namely the bonds and friendships that are built from hours spent together during rehearsals.
“I think your cast really becomes your family, and performing arts doesn’t just give you the opportunity to do something that you love, it [also] gives [you]the opportunity to make new friends, bond, have a family. But I think that’s kind of the epitome of Andover too, in a sense. Everyone here is really a family,” said Bianca Pagano.