Shining a spotlight on Christine DiPonio

As the curtain opened, the lights came up, and the stage was flocked with chorus members running through the desert scenery to a man center-stage twirling in a coat of many colors, senior Christine DiPonio knew that she wanted to carry on her family’s legacy of theater at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

Only a sixth grader when she saw the theater program put on the production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2012), DiPonio promised herself that when she was a freshman she would audition to be in the U of D musical, a show that was one of her favorites, Les Miserables (2015).

But when auditions for Les Miserables approached, DiPonio convinced herself that she was not talented enough to do theater, a decision that left her with many regrets.

“When I was sitting in the seats watching Les Mis I promised myself that I would audition [for the next show] and whatever happens, happens,” said DiPonio.

She took a chance sophomore year, and landed a role in the ensemble in U of D’s production of Big Fish (2016) — a show that would become one of DiPonio’s all time favorites.

“I walked into the first rehearsal for [Big Fish] and immediately so many people came up to me and made me feel so welcomed,” said DiPonio. “I knew that day I found my home.”

Not only was DiPonio able to be embraced into a second family, but she was able to carry on the legacy that her brother Anthony and sisters Marie ‘09 and Nicole ‘15 began.

“My oldest sister, Marie, originally joined U of D Musical because her best friend did it and she loved to sing, and it just stuck with our family ever since, because it was such a life-changing experience and we all wanted to be a part of it,” said DiPonio, whose family has been involved with U of D theater for 10 years.

DiPonio is proud to carry on her family’s legacy of U of D theater, and wants to continue to support the program.

Sophomore Julia Canty is just one of many girls DiPonio has welcomed into the program.

“Christine introduced me to U of D musical, convinced me to audition, guided me through my first two years of high school, and helped me find a theater program in which I truly love and can call home,” said Canty. “Having her by my side on and off the stage these past couple of years is something I am incredibly grateful for.”

Aside from her first role in Big Fish, DiPonio performed as a Pick-a-Little lady in The Music Man (2017) and a storyteller in Children of Eden (2018).

DiPonio is happy to end her high school theater career on a good note with Children of Eden, because through its beautiful music and biblical references, it reveals the message that God has a plan for each person and he will lead us on our journeys through joy and sin.  As the curtain closes on DiPonio’s final show and senior year, she looks back at the fond memories she has made over the past three years as a member of the U of D musical program.

“This program is incredibly near and dear to my heart,” said DiPonio. “I have been a part of this for three years, I have made and found my best friends here. My favorite overall memory of U of D theatre is walking into [rehearsal] and being embraced by my favorite people.”