The following article will not be published in local newspapers until after the PTA play is over. I couldn’t wait that long to post it here because personally I feel it is one of my best articles… and probably one of the last publicity articles I will write for the PTA t00. Naomi is just THE BEST!
Souhegan High School Senior shares PTA Play Memories
by Janine Leffler
The classic and iconic tale Wizard Of OZ will be performed by the Amherst PTA this April. I recently spoke with Naomi Cohen, a senior at Souhegan High School who will be playing Dorothy. She reflected on her past PTA performances and the progress of Wizard Of OZ rehearsals up to this point.
Cohen has been in the PTA play for the past seven years being in every show since 2010 except for CATS. When asked why she auditioned for Wizard Of Oz she said, “The PTA Play has been part of my spring for so long it felt weird not to do it. I decided to audition because this would be my last PTA Play before going to college.” She went on to say, “There are so many memories of my first PTA play, Children Of Eden; having my makeup done back stage, Sophie Linkroum waltzing by with her hair in curlers and saying, “This is a zoo!” and me answering with something witty or getting to eat lettuce on stage which is something I didn’t think happened during shows.” Naomi remembers looking up to Sophie Linkroum and is honored this year to be the lead character, Dorothy, in the hope younger kids will look up to her.
When asked what she likes about Dorothy’s character she responded “Dorothy is quite obviously a dreamer. She’s protecting Toto with every ounce of herself even if it means running away from home to do so. She’s friendly and loving with a touch of teenage brat which makes her so much more interesting, rather than the sweet character we’ve all come to know.” She went on to say, “It is hard for me to choose a favorite scene. I love the Munckinland scene because it is so iconic and the kids are so fun to work with. I also like the Jitterbug scene because it is a fun dance number. There are so many bucket-list moments for me in this show; I get to lie down on stage, carry a live dog, eat and I am even lifted up at one point.”
Cohen encourages people who have never auditioned for a PTA play by saying the following, “A wonderful thing about the Amherst PTA is that we they include everyone we they can and you get to know so many people in a different way. Who knew that the town’s teachers had such lovely voices or that your next door neighbor was a tap dancer extraordinaire?” When asked why people should come see Wizard Of OZ she said, “It’s a classic. It’s a family show which supports your community. There are a million reasons but please come support the arts!”
Cohen is still awaiting word on where she will attend college next fall and hopes to study music education where ever she goes. This show has been a dream come true for her in every way. We wish Naomi the very best of luck in her future endeavors. Your star will shine wherever you go.
Wizard Of OZ runs at Souhegan High School April 20-23rd with evening performances at 7pm and matinees at 2pm. The show is directed by Vouli Anthimoudi and Sharron April, music directed by Karina Allayne and Laura Millar and choreographed by Loren Hallet. You won’t want to miss this magical show!
2017 Viewing Schedule
03-4-17 Promises Promises Manchester Community Theatre Players
03-10-17 Love Sex And The IRS Milford Area Players
Review of both of these shows will be posted March 13th.
03-17-17 Lion King Jr. AMS Theatre Club
3-25 -17 Footloose Souhegan High School Spring Musical
03-30-17 Wizard Of Oz Young Performers Edition Jr Actorsingers
04-01-17 Lights Camera Action An All Dance Production Riverbend Youth Company
Review of these shows will be posted April 2nd.
04-07-17 Chess Windham Actors Guild
Review will be posted between April 9-14th As tech week for Wizard Of Oz approaches I will be limiting my time online.
04-29-17 Arsenic and Old Lace Nashua Theatre Guild
04-30-17 Mary Poppins Street Car Company
Review for both of these shows will be posted May 2nd
05-05-17 Seussical The Musical Riverbend Youth Company
05-06-17 Souhegan Valley Chorus Concert
Tuesday I went to watch the rehearsal and everything sounds great. I miss everyone so much and can’t wait to come back in the fall. I am also sad because of the recent passing of Gerry Katz.
Reviews of Suessical and SVC Concert will be posted May 10th
05-13-17 Singin In The Rain Actorsingers
05-19-17 Grease Peacock Players
Reviews of Singin In The Rain and Grease will be posted May 22nd.
Palace Theatre Million Dollar Quartet Planning to go to this whenever SVC gets the group discount.
New London Barn Playhouse *listing the dates that the show is running. We have not decided at this time when we are going to see the show yet.
Godspell June 14-25
Souvenir July 12-16 If vacation conflicts our back up choice is NL Barn IDOLS on August 14th
Interlakes Summer Theatre
South Pacific July 19th-July 30th.
RYC Alumni Show August 5th
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!