LVHS Class of 2018 alumna Brooke Di Spirito.

A Locust Valley High School alumna is taking her talents to New York City in January. Locust Valley Jesters veteran Brooke Di Spirito (LVHS Class of 2018) is set to bring her musical adaptation F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Beautiful and the Damned.” But that is just the start of her exciting 2023, as Di Spirito will travel to Sweden in late June to present at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference.

Di Spirito adapted the Fitzgerald novel into a musical over the course of three years while she worked toward her English degree at Northeastern University. The show was cancelled three times because of the pandemic, but will finally make it to Manhattan on January 17 at the lounge 54 Below. The show debuted at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater in Port Washington in July.

“I totally freaked out,” DiSpirito said of finding out her show was picked up by 54 Below. “I was trying not to get my hopes up because I had reached out to about 90 venues over the few years, I got responses from three. I’m really flattered and shocked that professionals are going to perform in it and sing my songs.”

Di Spirito based her senior thesis at Northeastern on the Fitzgerald novel and convinced the school to put the show on in 2021, but the lingering pandemic prevented the show from going forward. After graduating and returning to New York, she continued to try to find a home for her show until finally getting the good news from 54 Below.

The 22-year-old has worn quite a few hats for the production including writer, lyricist and choreographer. Her love for the performing arts world started at an early age as a ballet dancer and continued into high school through her freshman English teacher Mr. Lynch’s class. There, Di Spirito wrote a dramatic monologue and performed it in front of her class. After that positive experience, Di Spirito requested to be in Mr. Lynch’s class for IB English and IB Philosophy.

“He was a mentor to me,” Di Spirito said. “I would show up with something that didn’t make a ton of sense and he would workshop it with me. I would bring my friends and we would stand on the stage in his classroom until something came out of it. He (Lynch) was always cheering us on.”

As a member of the Locust Valley Jesters, Di Spirito appeared in musicals “The Music Man,” “State Fair,” “Pippin” and “Les Misérables” and shows like “12 Angry Jurors” and “All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

“I was not really much of a singer or an actress, but I was always recruited to help with the choreography on musicals,” Di Spirito said. “That led me into the plays and I was like ‘OK, maybe I’ll learn to act a little bit.’ There were a ton of opportunities to be involved and see how musicals worked.”

DiSpirito is not the only Locust Valley High School talent involved in the production. Beatrix and Griffin Postley (Class of 2020 and 2022) performed in the show in Port Washington, with Beatrix also serving as musical director and vocal arranger. Hans Kiessling (’20) and Brooke’s brother Michael DiSpritio (’20) both played in orchestra. Beatrix Postley, Kiessling and Michael DiSpirito will also help in the January show.

In Sept. 2022, DiSpirito received an email from at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Foundation. A professor who is part of the society told Di Spirito that he had seen her show and published a glowing review in the society’s newsletter. The editor of the newsletter then extended an invitation for Di Spirito to come to the conference in June and talk about her experience adapting the musical.

“I was very surprised and extremely flattered,” Di Spirito said. “When I started this, I was 19 and had no plans that anyone would see it. I thought maybe we would do it at my school and my friends would come see it.”

The responsibility of adapting the work of an author with an entire society based around them is not lost on Di Spirito, but she is looking forward to conversations that will come out of the show. Members of the society will be in attendance when the show hits the stage next month.