2013 is almost over where has the year gone too…. for real!!!!!!!!!!
As the time gets near for theatre awards nominations to approach I am going to do a year in review of all the shows I’ve seen.. listed by company and predicted who will get nominated for awards.
There are a couple shows I saw by Riverbend Youth Company that I am unsure if they got adjudicated when we get to that list those shows will be denoted by an asterick.
2013 was another busy show viewing year for me. There were several shows I couldn’t make it to… budget and schedule do not allow me to make it to every show unfortunately.
19th Riverbend Youth Company 101 Dalmatians *
Notable performances in this show were Matt Kastiaganis as Roger and Clarissa Cherry as Cruella Devill.
2nd Timeless Beat Riverbend Youth Company * Do the all dance shows typically get nominated for theatre awards?
16th Riverbend School of Theatre Arts 1 Act Play Festival* I think this gets overlooked by the adjudicators honestly. I have never seen any nominations over the years for any kids who act in these festivals though some of them have been nominated for roles they’ve played in shows with Riverbend Youth Company.
22nd Rumors Peacock Players
Notable Performances Nate Healey and Olivia Vordenberg
9th- Suessical The Musical Junior Actorsingers
Notable Performances Becca Holland Sour Kangaroo, Mary Holland Young Kangaroo Nicole Plummer Mayzie, Emilty Trubey Gertrude
17th Milford Area Players Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
Notable Performances Russ Arrowsmith; Ellen Cunis, Kevin Linkroum
13th Company Stagecoach Productions
Notable Performances: Laura Prior Amy, Joel Iwansekwiz Paul, Jeff Prescott Robert, Rachel Cerrullo Sarah, Sheree Owens Marta (Also did fabulous as Eponine in Les Miserables with Actorsingers)
In May I worked backstage with the PTA on Meet Me In St Louis. It is quite honestly hard for me to pick notable performances just because I’ve worked with this company for three years and I’ve gotten to know everyone so well. Before I mention notable performances let me just say that the trolley was the best set piece we had in the whole production. Our shows have gotten great notice in the past couple years for both acting and technical awards so it wouldn’t surprise me too much if we get nominated again for choreography and best set design. Notable performances( hopefully I am not too overly biased) Margaret Windler, Michelle Emmond, Ashley Ross
28th Stagecoach Productions You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown
Notable Performances: Derek Demarco Schroder Sophie Linkroum Sally Jennifer Stanley Snoopy
Nashua Theatre Guild Shakespeare In The Park Merchant Of Venice The whole cast in this show was talented and it was hard to pin point notable performances.
2nd Dear Edwina Jr YouTheatre * This is a student directed summer show. I am not sure if it was adjudicated or if these shows were ever adjudicated in the past.
Notable Performances Lindsey Hagerstrom, Helen St Cyr Ben Wesenberg
9th Cinderella Riverbend Youth Company This is a student directed show put on by the Riverbend Youth Company Alumni Group. I don’t know if this was adjudicated or not. I do not think Damn Yankees was adjudicated last year.
Notable Performances: Nick Hammes, Morganne Bent, Meghan Bedard, Jeremy Edelbluet
Budget and schedule constraints didn’t allow me to see Good People, Wit or Annie. People who did go to see those please feel free to leave a comment with notable performances.
9th Sound Of Music Riverbend Youth Company
I should say right off the bat that the amount of talent amongst the kids in Riverbend Youth Company is so diverse so it’s really hard to narrow my list of notable performances down for this show. My full list came to about 8 or 9 people if I had to pick a top 3 it would be Annie Feraco, Ethan Reeves and Hannah Vaccarro. Alyssa Lederhos is easily not too far behind them.
17th Les Miserables Actorsingers
Notable Performances: Darcy Hinkle Young Cosette, Ashley St Martin Cosette, Shawna Ciampa Fantime Ben Moore Gavroche, Debra Buckley Madame Thenardier
22nd Shrek The Musical Peacock Players
Nick Page, Mac Galinson, Megan Dwinell, Jakov Scwartzberg Olivia Vordenberg, Becky Klien, Sean Vigneault, Jenna Enos. There is potential for numerous nominations in this show as many of the cast members are very talented and a few have been nominated in the past.
6th Children of Eden Stagecoach Productions
Notable Performances Rob Dionne Father Ashley Hughes Swanson Eve Jen Mallard Mama Noah, Emily Trubey Yonah Adam Harding Abel Joel Iwankewiz Cain
The rest of my theatre viewing schedule was rounded out by local high school performances of Footloose, Singin In The Rain, Grease, West Side Story and Bullshot Crummond.
Kind of fell behind on my reviews…again.
On November 17th I saw Les Miserables at Actorsingers. I have to say that while this may not be one of my top favorite musicals it has certainly grown on me in recent years. I have always loved the songs On My Own, I Dreamed A Dream and Castle on A Cloud. Ashley St Martin, Shawna Ciampa and Darcy Rae Hinkle gave amazing performances of these songs… very powerful and emotional. Les Miserables is definitely one of the most moving pieces of musical theatre. Great job to everyone in the cast.
On November 22nd I saw Shrek The Musical at Peacock Players. I have always loved the Shrek movies and was thus very excited when I saw it in the mainstage calendar at Peacock Players. The thing that I think sets Shrek a part from other shows I have seen recently is the message it sends about how you should accept people for whatever differences they may have. I think that message is especially important given how many stories in the news these days are related to bullying. Freak Flag is a key song in the show that got this message across. Peacock Players has a diverse cast of local teenage actors including Olivia Vordenberg, Sean Vigneault, Jenna Enos, Becky Klien and Mac Galinson. Favorite musical numbers were Morning Person, Freak Flag, I Know IT’s Today and Make A Move
Les Mis was not the only moving production that I’ve seen…. let’s move seemingly and professionaly into discussing Children of Eden.
Let’s begin by stating the obvious.. I am not a very religious person and I think that is what held me back from auditioning for this show when the PTA did it 3 years ago. When I heard that this was based on bible stories I immediately shied away from auditioning. I didn’t let that hold me back from auditioning for Stagecoach Productions back in September and was a little bit disappointed that I didn’t get in. It’s fun to see the musical numbers I watched in rehearsal when I went to do my newspaper interviews at the beginning of October. This show had a very powerful message about love and family. There were definitely a lot of emotional moments in this show that made the story all the more powerful. I have to say not much can make cry but a few songs in this show pulled at my heart strings a little bit. The top 3 most moving songs in the show were definitely Close To Home, Children of Eden and The Hardest Part of Love. I was sort of singing along under my breath to Ain’t It Good. I hope nobody noticed. Jennifer Mallard did amazing with that song. This cast was full of talented people and I was blown away by it. Aside from Mallard notable performances were by Ashley Hughes Swanson, Robert Dionne, Joel Iwanskewiz, Adam Harding and Emily Trubey.
Congratulations to everyone in Children of Eden Shrek and Les Miserables on fabulous performances.
Children of Eden has two more performances left tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 2pm at Court St Theatre in Nashua. You won’t want to miss this show.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Children of Eden to be performed at Stagecoach Productions
by Janine Leffler
Children of Eden will be performed by Stagecoach Productions December 6-8 at the Janice B. Streeter Theater at 14 Court Street in Nashua. This show takes a heartfelt and often humorous look at the age-old conflict between parents and children, and is a perfect play to attend with your family this Holiday season. Children of Eden is directed by Steven Harper (of Hollis), with music direction by Judy Hayward (of Mont Vernon) and choreography by Tina Cassidy.
Harper said that his favorite song is “The Hardest Part of Love,” which is sung during Act II. “It’s a song that really captures what it’s like to have children and the angst that goes along with letting them grow up and make their own decisions. There is a line that sums it up for me as Noah sings about his youngest son, ‘But the one thing he most treasures is to make his own mistakes’ and that really is the challenge of being a parent. As a father of two teenage daughters, I feel this daily.” Harper is excited to share this show with audiences. “I really want to see the audience moved and involved in the greater story, which is not really just a Bible story, but about the relationship that fathers have with their children. We all have a father, so whether or not we are a father, I think this story speaks to that relationship in a very powerful way.”
Ashley Hughes-Swanson, who grew up in Amherst, is playing Eve and explains that her character starts young and gets older as the show progresses. “The song ‘Children of Eden’ strikes a chord with me because I believe that it is relevant to the world today and how people deserve a second chance.” Hughes-Swanson went on to say that her favorite scene is in Act II when Noah and Father sing their duet, saying that the hardest part of growing up is letting go. “It is a very touching scene about family.”
Emily Trubey, a freshmen at Nashua North High School, makes her Stagecoach Productions debut as the character named Yonah. She decided to audition for Children of Eden because her attendance at the Peacock Players performance of this musical, several years ago, sparked Emily’s interest in musical theater. Looking ahead to the performances, Trubey looks forward to seeing the show in its completion and seeing the interaction of all the characters. When asked why others should come see the show, Trubey said, “It’s a different kind of story that sends a good message and a very powerful message that will touch a lot of people.”
Michelle Emmond of Amherst is in her third show with Stagecoach Productions and her third performance of Children Of Eden. In this production, she is playing a Storyteller. Emmond had previously done this show with the Amherst PTA and Manchester Community Theatre Players. What interests Emmond most about this show is the music. “Stephen Schwartz is a really well known composer. His other works include Wicked, Working and Pippin. These songs [in Eden] are rich in harmonies and it’s a singer’s dream to [be able to] sing them.” One difference she sees between this production and past productions she has been involved in is the casting. “Most of the animals are played by adults rather than just children. This casting choice was very interesting and it allows me to express my inner child.”
The scene that stands out most to Concord’s Darick Velez, who is playing Adam, is at the end of Act I where Adam and Eve sing the poignant “Close To Home.” Velez states, “I like this scene because it is very reflective.” Velez encourages others to come see Children of Eden. “Whether or not you are religious, Children of Eden is a reflection back upon familiar Bible stories that highlight character traits, and even for those that are not familiar with the Bible story, the characters of Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel are represented in a way that people can relate to.”
Children of Eden will be performed at the Janice B. Streeter Theater at 14 Court Street, located in Nashua, on December 6-8. Show times are Friday and Saturday evening at 8pm and Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and military and $12 for children ages 12 and under and can be purchased online at http://www.stagecoachproductions.org or by calling the box office at 603-320-3780. Come out and enjoy this moving piece of musical theatre.
Let’s start at the very beginning…. a very good place to start.
I have been involved with the Riverbend Youth Company since 2009. Since then I have worked on four productions and I couldn’t be more grateful for these experiences. It’s been a very fulfilling ride and these experiences have definitely helped me a lot to grow in a well rounded performer and technician. The shows I have been involved with include Annie Jr, The Man Who Came Dinner, Wizard of OZ, Guys and Dolls JR and most notably last year’s Riverbend/Milford Area Players holiday show It’s A Wonderful Life.
Before I start with my Sound of Music review I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the above listed productions for the opportunities they have given me. I will remember all these productions for a very long time especially Annie Jr Guys and Dolls Jr and It’s A Wonderful Life. Side note: Meg Petersen WE MISS YOU! As most people know I moved to Nashua a year ago and since I do not drive it is hard for me to get back and forth to rehearsals…due to this obvious factor this will be my last year doing shows with Riverbend. Milford Area Players and Amherst PTA. Of course I will still continue to come see the shows.. that’s a given. Since there is so much crossover between the two companies I would like to thank everyone involved for their guidance over the years and all the casts crews and productions teams of the shows I’ve worked with on shows at the Amato Center for these truly awesome and memorable experiences. I am thankful for these awesome opportunities and the amazing peopl I have gotten to know especially all the talented kids.
When the dog bites when the bee stings when I’m feeling sad I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad….
On to the review now……
When I first found out Riverbend was putting on Sound of Music I was excited for two reasons. One is because Sound of Music is one of my favorite musicals and it was the first movie musical to introduce me to the wonderful world that is musical theatre. Secondly when the PTA did the show in 2005 I was unable to come home for the performance because of school conflicts. I have also been to the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont and would go back there in a heart beat because it is a fun place to go… and the last time I was there I was sick the whole vacation so all the more reason to yearn to go back there. If you have never gone I highly recommend you go.
Riverbend shows always impress me because of the diverse amount of talent in the cast.. Sound of Music is naturally no different. The show was co-directed by Tom Partridge and Jennifer Erdody, Music Directed by Kim Whitehead and choreographed by Liz Calabria. Like the PTA show in 2005 which was directed by Partridge this show was double cast for the Von Trapp Children. I saw the Blue Cast performance Blue cast is on the right hand side in the picture) Nicole Plummer Lisel, Ben Erdody Frederich Clarissa Cherry Louisa, Cayden Plummer Kurt Evormina Alton Brigitta, Renee Merchant Marta and Delany Kipp Gretl. Hannah Vaccarro was fantastic as Maria and I enjoyed all the group numbers with her and the children… especially Do Re Mi and My Favorite Things which have been my top two favorite songs from the show. What I have always loved about this play is how its about falling in love. The two main couples are Rolf (Ethan Reeves) and Lisel (Plummer) and Captain Von Trapp ( Max Barnaby) and Maria (Vaccarro) My heartstrings always tear a little bit in Act II when Rolf delivers the telegram to Captain Von Trapp about being accepted in to the Third Reich Navy. I always feel so bad for Liesl and her heartbreak in that scene. Two songs that are not in the movie No Way to Stop It and How Can Love Survive which feature Barnaby, Alyssa Lederhos and Jonathan Edelbluet are also quite enjoyable pieces.
I was so tempted to sing along because I’ve known so many of the songs for many years and know most of them by heart such as My Favorite Things, Do Re Mi Sixteen Going On Seventeen and Something Good ( insert West Side Story reference at the end of Something Good… Maria… I just kissed a girl named Maria. This is what happens when you see these shows back to back. ) but of course had to restrain myself so I would not annoy the people around me.
Please do not miss this show… these kids are fantastic.. they always have been and will continue to be. There are four more shows left tomorrow 11/10 at 2pm (Red Cast on left side of Photo Hannah Whitney Lisel, Drew Whitney Frederich, Emma Barnaby Louisa , Zac Barnaby Kurt , Simone Dodge Louisa, Anna Goyette Marta and Kyra Whitehead Gretl) Friday 11/15 7pm (Blue Cast) Saturday 11/16 (Red Cast) 7pm and Sunday 11/17 (Blue Cast) Fabulous job Blue cast and good luck everyone with the rest of the run!
Also I do not know who took the picture… someone on the staff at Boys and Girls Club I think.
I also hope the kids in Sound of Music who have never done a PTA show consider auditioning for Suessical.
This year there are 11 seniors in the PTA Group. In many instances I have seen them grow up on stage over the years because I have seen them in numerous productions in the past and worked with a lot of them since my first show with the PTA in 2011 The Music Man. I am not sure how many of them plan to do Suessical but this will certainly be an emotional experience for me just as much as it will be for them. I should also mention that this is going to be my last year with the PTA because since I moved to Nashua I have found transportation back and forth to rehearsals to be kind of challenging and feel it only makes sense to focus on doing shows in Nashua. What will make this show special for me is being able to share the stage with these seniors weather they are onstage or backstage one last time.
I can’t wait till auditions in January. This show is going to be amazingly epic.
2014 Seniors Ellie Arrowsmith, Olivia Cunis, Jason Emmond, Artemis Friel, Sarah Hurd, Kailey Kane, Danny and Matt O’Dowd, Lauren Ostrowski, Brett Quinn, Olivia Vordenberg and Anthony Zeolie
Photo courtesy of the Boys and Girls Club (not sure who exactly took it)
The Hills Are Alive With Beautiful Sounds at The Amato
by Janine Leffler
The Riverbend Youth Company will present the classic musical The Sound of Music, November 8-10 and 15-17th. Sound of Music is directed by Jennifer Erdody and Tom Partridge, with music direction by Kim Whitehead and choreography by Liz Calabria.
SouheganHigh School junior Hannah Whitney plays Liesl in the Sound of Music. She previously appeared in Sound of Music with Peacock Players and Amherst PTA as Gretl. For Whitney this experience has come full circle “When I was in Sound of Music with the PTA I was so young and it was my first show. I looked up to so many of the people in the cast. Now that I am Liesl it’s great to have the younger kids look up to me.” Whitney continued by saying “My favorite song is probably the reprise of Sound of Music that all of the kids sing together. The harmonies are beautiful and it is also the point in the show in which the Captain realizes how much he misses being with his children. It’s a really touching moment.”
Stephen Edelbluet, a homeschooled 9th grader from Wilton, is playing a party a guest and a member of Salzburg Festival Trio. In a recent interview Edelbleut stated ” While I am absolutely fine with this decision of not being cast in a big role it is most humbling to not be on stage most of the time. But it also reminds me that no matter what role anyone is: from a mail man in only one scene or the star of the show, every role is important.” He went on to say ” My favorite scene would have to be any scene with Max in it (played by Jonathan Edelblut). He brings a certain “spunk” to the stage that is loved by both young and old.” When asked why someone should come see Sound of Music he replied “I would absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it, recommend this play to anyone. It is enjoyable for everyone of all ages. Sound Of Music is most definitely a must see!”
For Hannah Vaccarro, a senior at MerrimackHigh School who is playing Maria being in Sound of Music is a bitter sweet experience. “Riverbend has really taught me how to be a kind leader. I remember being the tiny 6th grader and thinking all the high schoolers were so big. Aly McKnight was always so sweet and kind to me and treated me like I was her age. Those moments stuck out to me and caused me to want to be like that. So now, I do my best to make the theater experience for the younger cast members as phenomenal as my experience was. Leading with kindness and forming another family two of the greatest gifts I’ve received thanks to the Riverbend Youth Company.” Vaccaro continued by saying “Sound of Music is one of my favorite shows of all time. My favorite song is My Favorite Things because I love all the kids in this cast.”
Director Jennifer Erdody has a personal connection to Sound of Music “I grew up watching “The Sound of Music” so much that I credit Julie Andrews with teaching me how to sing. I knew every song at a young age, and first was in the show when I was in seventh
grade, as Maria.” She is excited to share this experience with her two children Ben and Jacob and the rest of the cast. When asked about her favorite song Erdody said . I like Sixteen Going On Seventeen because in a way I think Liesl reflects the feelings of teen-agers even today; they seem to know what they’re doing on the outside, but on the inside, they’re just wondering how to get through this strange new world of dating and becoming a mature person. I also very much enjoy the two songs in the show which aren’t in the movie, How Can Love Survive and No Way to Stop It. I appreciate Rogers and Hammerstein’s’ original intentions of their musical and love the dance moves that our choreographer, Liz Calabria, has put in for the numbers. They’re quite clever!”
Tickets for Sound of Music are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available online or at Toadstool Bookshop. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7pm and Sunday afternoons at 2pm at the AmatoCenter for The Performing Arts 56 Mt Vernon Street in Milford You won’t want to miss the classic musical!
This will be published in the Milford Cabinet and Amherst Citizen.
I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THIS SHOW!! To everyone in the cast Have a great opening night!
Theatre Viewing Schedule for November
Bold are definites
11-9 Sound of Music Riverbend Youth Company
11-17 Les Miserables Actorsingers
11-21 or 22 Milford High School Play (not sure what day I am going yet.)
I am excited to see Sound of Music on Saturday night. It’s my first time seeing the staged version. Sound of Music was the first movie musical I ever saw when I was 10 years old and it still remains my favorite musical of all time. For once I don’t mind taking a break from tech work. Right now I am on the fence about doing backstage work for Children of Eden.. since I didn’t get to see the show when the PTA did it three years ago then I think I will eventually decide not to work backstage so I can see the show. We’ll see how things end up working out.
Congratulations to the winners of the Pumpkin Festival Talent Show on October 12th. 1st Place Nathan Schrwartzberg 2nd Place Rosibel Kruz 3rd Place Tayla Lemieux Audience Favorite Lauren Dattis.
My top 5 1. Talya Lemieux 2. Conrad Koch 3. Nathan Schwartzberg 4. Robyn Holley 5. Sasha Baren Hughes My audience favorite pick was Just In Time.
Next year I might audition for the Pumpkin Festival talent show. I am not definitely sure yet what my schedule will hold but it’s the 25th anniversary of the Pumpkin Fest and I’ve never done the talent show. We’ll see what’ll happen.
PTA Play auditions are in 2 months and I am pumped for Suessical. I am still trying to decide on my audition song. I am leaning toward auditioning for Gertrude McFuzz and people who I talked to who have played that part have suggested I pick something quirky. Not sure what song would fit under that classification. I’ve got a few songs I’ve sung for recent auditions that could work. One is more general to the show itself… Circle of Life from Lion King. I sang that for the Children of Eden audition in September bearing in mind the Noah’s ark story in the bible. It could work for Suessical too because of all the animals that are in the play. For more character related pieces I am thinking of either going with Somewhere That’s Green from Little Shop of Horrors or I Don’t Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar. Does anyone else have any song suggestions? If so leave them in the comments. Thanks a bunch friends!