Before I start my Guys and Dolls review let me go back in time a little bit. The third show that I did backstage work for at the Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley was Guys and Dolls Jr in January 2011. I ran the spotlight and learned a lot from that experience. Since then I have been involved with several shows at the Amato Center and with the Amherst PTA. My current show Wizard Of Oz is my 17th production overall and my 6th with the PTA (see list at the bottom) Things came full circle for me when I did publicity this year and also it has been awesome to help out with this show since Patrick O’Mara who played Nathan Detroit in the 2011 show co-directed the current productions with Katie Hammes. I was blown away by the talent 6 years ago and still continue to be amazed today by how amazing these kids are.
On to the review:
Guys and Dolls is a story (at least from my point of view) about romance amidst gambling. The two couples that the story focusses around are Adelaide (who apparently doesn’t have a last name) and Nathan Detroit (Cassidy White and Zac Barnaby) and Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown (Joe Solari and Katie Giannakopolous) Giannakopoulous was a stand out as Sarah Brown in her second Riverbend performance after making her debut in November’s West Side Story as the Somewhere soloist. Notable musical numbers included Marry The Man Today,Bushel and A Peck, Sue Me, Luck Be A Lady, More I Cannot Wish You, Adelaide’s Lament and Sit Down You’re Rockin The Boat. Other notable performances were by Cassidy White (Adelaide), Doug Pedroza (Nicely Nicely Johnson), Joe Guzman (Big Jule), Bryan Whittier (Arrivide Abernatnhy) and Nicole Sprague (General Cartwright) The set design by Ben April was fantastic and was the choreography by Meg King.
Guys and Dolls has one more performance this afternoon at 2:30pm at the Amato Center. Don’t miss this show and it is a good way to beat the winter blues. You’ll regret it if you miss this fabulous show. The show was co-directed by Patrick O’Mara and Katie Hammes, Music Directed by Karina Bertrand and Choreographed by Meg King. Costumes were designed by Julia Bucklin.
As mentioned above Wizard Of Oz is my 16th overall production here is a break down of my history
2010- Riverbend Youth Co Annie Jr ( Props) and Riverbend School Of Theatre Arts The Man Who Came To Dinner ( Sound Design)
2011- Riverbend Youth Company Guys and Dolls Jr (Spotlight) & Wizard Of Oz (props) and The Music Man Amherst PTA (Ensemble)
2012 Oklahoma Amherst PTA (Ensemble and Publicity) and It’s A Wonderful Life Riverbend/MAP Holiday Show (Mrs. Hatch and various ensemble )
2013 Princess K.I.M. The Musical (Publicity), Meet Me In St Louis Amherst PTA (Scene Changes and Set Painting)
2014 Seussical The Musical Amherst PTA ( Who Ensemble and Publicity), Holiday One Acts (Miss Kosmo and Wiseman #3)
2015 CATS Amherst PTA (Sound Design), Mary Poppins Friends Of The Amato Center (Ensemble)
2016 Shrek The Musical Amherst PTA (Villager, Skeleton, Moon), Oliver Friends Of The Amato Center (Ensemble)
2017 Riverbend Youth Company Guys and Dolls Jr & Seussical The Musical (Publicity), Amherst PTA Wizard Of OZ (Munchkin and Ozian Ensemble and Publicity) Fiddler On The Roof Friends Of The Amato Center Publicity and backstage work TBA (Additionally I am also helping out with publicity for the Souhegan High School musical Footloose.)
Theatre Viewing Schedule for 2017
10 SHS Jazz Night
11th Guys and Dolls Riverbend Youth Company
16th SHS Pops Concert
4th Promises Promises Manchester Commmunity Theatre Players
24th Footloose Souhegan High School Spring Musical
25th Seussical The Musical Pinkerton Academy Spring Musical
31st Wizard Of OZ Young Performance Edition Junior Actorsingers
1st Lights Camera Action An All Dance Production Riverbend Youth Company
8th Chess Windham Actors Guild
29th Arsenic and Old Lace Nashua Theatre Guild
30th Mary Poppins Streetcar Company Hey FOTAC Friends- Emily Getchell Lacey is playing Miss Andrew let’s go support her!
5th Seussical The Musical Riverbend Youth Company
6th Souhegan Valley Chorus Spring Concert
13th Singin In The Rain Actorsingers
20th Grease Peacock Players
I also plan to see the spring play at Nashua High School North but at this time do not know the dates for it.
Can I just stop for a second and say how much FUN it was to interview these kids in character for the Guys and Dolls profiles? Samples are below. You won’t want to miss this show it runs Feb 9-12th at the Amato Center. Directed by Patrick O’Mara and Katie Hammes Music Directed by Karina Bertrand and choreographed by Meg King.
Meet Benny Southsteet
Benny Southstreet grew up in Hoboken New Jersey with his best friend Nicely Nicely Johnson. They are still best friends to this day and do everything together. He moved to NYC because he got involved with the wrong people in Hoboken. He is a part time gambler and pull time con-man. Two little known facts Benny are that he’s afraid of spiders and that he;’s very OCD. He went on to say, “I’m afraid of spiders because the little buggers creep me out and if thing’s aren’t in order I’m out.”
He does what he does in the show to get by and gambling is his favorite way.
Benny Southstreet is portrayed by Duncan McGrath a junior at Souhegan High School who is making his Riverbend Youth Company debut in Guys and Dolls. “My experience so far has been 10/10 and I have enjoyed meeting new people.” When asked why people should come see Guys and Dolls he said :Anyone with a good emotional mindset will enjoy this show.”
Meet Miss Adelaide
I’m Miss Adelaide and I’m a dancer & singer at the Hot Box. My mother wanted me to move to New York to marry Nathan. He introduced me to Rusty Charlie and that’s how I got a job at the Hot Box. I spend all my time with Nathan because he’s my fiancé and most of my motivation is because I want to get married to him.
Miss Adelaide is portrayed by Cassidy White a 12th grade homeschooler from Nashua. For her the best part of the show has been working with the directors. When asked about a funny memory during the process of the show is ” We were in dance rehearsal and Meg usually calls us the As and the Bs but instead she called the Eggs and the Beats.. White stated in a recent interview, “You should come see Guys and Dolls because “It’s going to be an amazing show. The cast is incredibly talented.”
Meet Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown moved to New York to help her grandfather Arrivide Abernanthy with the Save A Soul Mission. Her goal in working at the mission is to make New York City a great place to live. .free of sin. She would like people to know that even though she may come off as stand offiish she wants what is best for everyone. She spends the most time with Sky since he is trying to win a bet and Arrivide and the missionaries and her grandfather Arrivide spreading the word of God.
Sarah Brown is portrayed by Katie Giannakopoulos, a junior at Souhegan High School in Amherst. Guys and Dolls is her second show with Riverbend Youth Company after making her debut this fall as the Somewhere soloist in West Side Story. She has enjoyed getting to know new people . Her favorite memory so far is working the Havanna Fight because there have been a lot of comical moments while learning it. Why should you come see West Side Story? ” We’ve put a lot of work into our characters. It’s a great show. Everyone loves each other.”
These profiles will be published on the Riverbend Youth Company Facebook page. Be on the look out for them! Don’t miss this show either! It will be great!
2017 is officially dubbed the season of my favorite shows.. mostly because many shows that I’ve seen and grown to love over the past 4 or 5 years are being performed at various community theatres and local high schools.
We’ll start with You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown which was performed by the Riverbend Youth Company. The Peanuts comic strip will forever remain my favorite. My favorite character has always been Schroder probably because he is a musician like me.
You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown was the debut for people involved in the production both in the cast and production team: Cast: Landyn Byrd (Charlie Brown), Ivy Rose Harvey Olsen (Pig Pen and Aimee Ledoux (Violet) Production Team: Jacob Erdody (Director), Lily Ayotte (Choreographer) and Kayla Sickler (Assistant Music Director).
I have previously seen this show put one by Stagecoach Productions and The Palace Theatre Youth Company. My favorite songs have always been Happiness, Beetoven Day, My New Philosophy, Supper Time and The Book Report. Some songs make you laugh and some songs make you think. Happiness is the type of songs that makes you count your blessings and be thankful for all the people in your life that love and support you.
Notable performance were by Landyn Byrd ( Charlie Brown), Genevieve Steadman ( Lucy), Ivy Rose Harvey Olsen (Pig Pen), Sally (Anna Goyette) and Snoopy (Autumn Fichera)
You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown was performed at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts January 20-22nd and was directed by Jacob Erdody, music directed by Jennifer Erdody and choregraphed by Lilly Ayotte. Congratulations to cast crew and production team on a fabulous show. A special shout out to Jacob and Lily– You guys are amazing and I am so proud of you!
Shows I saw or performed in during 2016 that were nominated for NH Theatre Award
Full List of NHTA Winners can be found here: http://nhtheatreawards.org/results/
Best Costune Design Allison Sklarz Top 10
Best Lighting Design Mike O’Keefe Top 10
Best Musical Direction Judy Hayward Top 10
Jessica Dee Top 3 Best Supporting Actress Lady Of The Lake
Colin Malette Top 3 Best Actor Patsy
Mike O’Keefe Best Sound Desinger Top 10
Joe Paoni Best Actor as Drew Top 10
Britney Lynne Stanley Best Choreography Top 10
Rock Of Ages
James Middleton Best Supporting Actor Lonny Top 10
Melissa Runde Best Supporting Actress Justice Charlier Top 10
Best Costume Design Allison Skalarz Top 10
Ashely Swanson Best Actress Top 10
New London Barn Playhouse Shrek The Musical
Matt and I adjudicated this show for a regional theatre award The Moss Hart Award at the end of July. I was very happy to see that the people that I reviewed so highly in my adjudication for the Moss Hart Award won New Hampshire Theatre Awards. That was a very proud New London Barn Playhouse Alumni moment for me. I am always so impressed every year when I go up there to see what the current interns are working so hard on. All awards on by both actors and production team were well deserved.
Amherst PTA Shrek was nominated for 8 awards last night. I was so incredibly blessed to have been among the cast of so many talented people many who I have worked alongside on stage and backstage for the past several years. Eric Skoglund won for best supporting actor for playing Lord Farquaad and I was so excited and happy for him when I heard his name called. He really deserved that award. It was my first year working with him and he was awesome to work with. I also was honored to perform on stage at the awards show in Ballad Of Farquaad number…it was a new experience for me and admittedly I was nervous because it was my first time performing in the NHTAS. Overall it was fun and I was happy to be a part of it and perform with my fellow Shrekkies one last time to honor an amazing show that had so much personal meaning to me.
Last night was a beautiful celebration of all community and professional theatre productions around the state. The president of the Theatre Awards said so eloquently in her closing statements at the end of the awards show how the theatre is a safe and accepting place for everyone. I could not agree with her more about that. I feel like ever since I got involved with doing shows with the PTA six years ago I have found my home and my family. These people have watched me grow and supported me in my craft….especially in this new experience with performing at the NHTAs. A recent article I read states that the Trump Adminstration wants to get rid of the National Endowment For The Arts which is money for theatre comes from. This makes me fearful about the future of theatre.
Congratulations to all top 3 winners and finalists. You are amazing and I am proud to know all of you!
Here is a link to the speech I mentioned above.:
The NH Theatre Awards nominations were announced yesterday. Here is my list of top 30 favorite songs from shows seen or performed in 2016. What a great year in NH Theatre it has been.
30. You Won’t Succeed On Broadway Monty Python’s Spamalot
29. KansasLand Curtains
28. The title song from Footloose comes in at number 28. This song always makes me want to get up and dance.
27. Shine Like The Sun 9 T0 5
26. We’re Not Gonna Take It Rock Of Ages I just wanted to point out that I will be using this song in my protest poems unit for my poetry class at Plus Company.
25 Written In Stars AIDA I did not get to see AIDA at Peacock Players but was lucky to see this performed at the Holiday Stroll. It is one of my favorite songs by Elton John.
24. I Want The Good Times Back The Little Mermaid This song was performed in our spring concert for Souhegan Valley Chorus. I think it is fantastic and have been meaning to download it. I unfortunately did not get to see The Little Mermaid when Peacock Players performed it.
23. Proud Of Your Boy Aladdin Jr This was put on by Riverbend Youth Company back in January. This was a very powerful song and really pulled at the heart strings.
22. There You’ll Be This was one of my favorite songs from our Souhegan Valley Showcase in June. It is from the movie Pearl Harbor which I have never seen.
21. Friend Like Me Aladdin Jr This has hands down always been my favorite song from Aladdin.
20. Spanish Panic Once Upon A Mattress This was Nashua South’s musical last spring. It is a very fun dance number.
19. Everybody Say Yeah Kinky Boots My mom took me to NYC to see Kinky Boots for my 31st birthday. This was one of my favorite songs from the show.
18. Let’s Go To The Movies Annie I mean of course this would make the countdown! How could it not? Annie is one of my favorite musicals which is of course why it is my favorite song that we sang in the Showcase.
17. Won’t You Charleston With Me? The Boyfriend This one of my top favorite songs from Souhegan’s musical last year.. another fun dance number.
16. Almost Paradise Footloose A beautiful love song that pulls at the heart strings.
15. Forever Shrek The Musical This number was very fun to be in.
14. Never Fall In Love With An Elf Elf The Musical
This was one of my favorite songs from Elf. It is sung by Jovie and is about her choice of relationships.
13. Taylor The Latte Boy I love Naomi Cohen… that is all! 🙂
12. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life Monty Python’s Spamalot To be fair I heard of this song before I even saw the play because it was in Souhegan Valley Chorus concert in 2014 when their theme for the spring concert was Broadway. Yay for throwbacks.
11. Don’t Stop Believing Rock Of Ages This song got me through some pretty difficult times when I was looking for a job. I now have two awesome jobs at Plus Company and Gateways Community Services.
10. Freak Flag Shrek The Musical This is my top favorite song from Shrek The Musical. I feel the message behind it is very important about standing up for what you believe in. It elicited many a powerful discussion in my poetry class at Plus Company the past couple of semesters.
9. Under The Sea The Little Mermaid My boyfriend Matt rocked his solo in Souhegan Valley Showcase.
8. Morning Person Shrek The Musical This was my favorite number from Shrek out of the numbers I was not in. I really want to make this song the alarm clock ring tone on my cell phone.
7. Show People Curtains I feel this song represents the core of being involved in theatre and the strong relationships I have formed with people I do shows with. I have a lot of love for the people in my theatre family which I know is reciprocated.
6. Consider Yourself Oliver This was my favorite song from Oliver.. I especially love the tap dancing flash mob section.
5. 12 Days Of A Regifted Christmas This is a parody of 12 Days of Christmas that we sang in our chorus concert last weekend.
4. Agony Into The Woods This song is hysterical.
3. OOM PAH PAH Oliver I may not drink a lot in reality but it is fun to pretend to drink on stage.. it was always really fun to waltz too. 🙂
2. I’ll Believe In You Elf The Musical This song is in Act 1 of Elf The Musical and is sung by Emily and Michael Hobbs. I feel the lyrics in this song are very powerful because it really brings home the point of how much strain is in the family dynamic because Walter works all the time.
1. Somewhere West Side Story Honestly West Side Story has so many amazing songs and it is hard to choose just one song that is my favorite. This song gives me chills whenever I listen to it and Katie Gianakoplios stole that scene with her solo. My other favorite songs from West Side Story include I Feel Pretty, Tonight and America.