Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas   Leave a comment

Another crossover  post for   the Rechoired   Reading  Blog since Meet Me  In St. Louis was the PTA play in 2013 and this week’s featured song in my  Songs Of Christmas Past  series  is   Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.   The song was written by  Hugh Marti n and    The setting for this scene is on Christmas Eve when  Tootie  the  youngest Smith child is  upset because this is their last Christmas in  St,  Louis.  This song   was sung by  Judy Garland  in the movie version which  came out in  1944.     In the play Esther Smith was played  by Margaret  Windler and Tootie Smith was played by Ashley Ross.       Earlier in the show the  Mr. Smith who was played by Roger Hurd finds  out he has gotten a promotion at  his  job    and the  family will have to move to New York.    Naturally this upsetting for the rest of the family especially with the   Worlds Fair coming up in the spring.   I mentioned in my    post about R &H Cinderella that MMISL  is not my  favorite play and here is why..   basically  the  whole base  of the story is that the family is going to move and then they do not end  moving.    There is a marriage  proposal at the end of the show  for the oldest Smith daughter  Rose  who was played  by  our  SVC director Jenn Erdody.

Did you know that  the  lyrics of this song  had to be changed from the original  version to fit the  movie?   Judy Garland   and other people on the films directorial did not like them that they though they were too depressing. I have posted the original lyrics below

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Do  you blame Judy Garland for feeling this way?   I do not.. not in  the least  bit!  If  I had been  in her shoes  I would have wanted the lyrics  changed too.

Frank Sinatra came out with a modified  version of this song in 1957 which is the version   I am  much  more familiar with.   The lyrics were changed to    hang  a  shining  star  upon the highest bough.   Other variations  of this song  have been performed  by  Bing  Crosby, Doris Day,  The Pretenders,  James Taylor and   Luther Vandross.  A more recent version by Sam Smith  was performed in 2014.

SVC performed  this  song   in   our 2014  Christmas In Hollywood    Concert with solos by  Naomi Cohen and Bryan Higgs.



Riverbend Reviews   Leave a comment

Back at the end of June we saw   The Last 5 Years.   I first  introduced to   Jason Robert Brown’s work a few years ago when I saw  Songs For A  New World.   We sa the Understudy performance of  The Last 5 Years and  Ryan Quinlan and Brooke Wolz were outstanding in their roles.  Favorite musical  numbers included Still Hurting, Good Bye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You, If I Didn’t Believe In You, The Next 10 Minutes and The Schumule Song
The Last 5 Years ran at the Amato Center for The Performing Arts June 28-30 and was directed by Anna Quinlan and music directed by Helen St. Cyr.

Based on the children’s book series by Barbara Park Junie B. Jones tells the story of June’s 1st grade adventures. Lots of ups and downs are experienenced by Junie throughout this show but her character is truly fun loving, spunky and high spirited. Notable performances were by Sydney Mauser, Grace Goolsby, Emma Harley, Gabby White, Gracie Laliberte, and Max Harley Favorite Musical Numbers included When Life Gives You Lemons. Kickball Tournament, Lucille Camille Chenile Glady Gutzman, You Can Be My Friend andWriting Down The Story of My Life

Junie B. Jones ran at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts August 17-19 and was directed by Devereaux Merchant, Musical Directed by Katrina Feraco and choreographed by Meghan McKnight. Great job to the cast crew and production team.

I love the high energy music in Joesph And The Amazing Tecnicolor Dreamcoast and the Friends of the Amato Center production did not disappoint. Notable perfromances were by Zac Barnaby, Mark Crory, Russell Arrowsmith, Luke Croy,Laura Majore, Karin Harvey Olsen and Libby St Jean. Favorite musical numbers included One More Angel, Go Go Joseph, Pharonh’s Dream Explained, Potipher and Any Dream Will Do.
This show is not to be missed there are three more performances this afternoon at 2:30,tonight at 7:30 and tomorrow afternoon at 2:30pm at the Amato Center in Milford. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is directed by Robin Lacroix, music directed by Kim Whitehead and choreographed by Meg King
Review Contributors Elania Bedio, Chandler Cooke Healey, Jen Roy, Matt Smith, Sonya Walcott

Posted September 8, 2018 by theatretechdiva in Riverbend Youth Company

Viewing update and some news   Leave a comment

Lots to catch up on… first some reviews

Please Note: Riverbend Youth Company  shows will be reviewed on September  8th along with Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!

On  July 21st we saw  The Norman Conquests  at the  Amato Center.    This was a series  of 3   different plays    Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round The Garden.   These shows are set  during a weekend in July.   The setting is the 1970s in a  London Country House.  Each  character  was  unique in their own way and it  fun to see their interactions.  Notable performances were by  Katie  Hammes,  Eric  Skoglund  and  Colin Malette but   the whole cast  was talented.        I was laughing the whole time.

The Norman Conquests  was directed by Kevin Linkroum and  was performed at the Amato Center July 13-22nd.

When  I arrived  home from   my family vacation   Matt and I  went to the annual  Shakespeare In The Park  production put on  by   Nashua Theatre Guild at Greeley Park.     This year’s show was  Comedy of  Errors but it had   modern  twist to it as it was set at  a Comic Con  convention. This modern twist  made this show even more interesting.  I’ll admit though  having never read this play  I found it to be a bit confusing at times.     Notable performances were by  Sam Lepicier,Brenden  McKay, Paige  Lucier and Richard Alcott

Comic Con of Errors  was performed at Greeley  Park  in Nashua  July  27=-29 and August  3-5.

On August 1st   we  went to see   The Little Mermaid  at the Palace Theatre.  This production was part of the Palace’s   Children’s series    and was a little bit  closer to the movie’s plot then  the  Broadway musical.    Since this show was only an hour long  there were  lots of songs  were cut but one of my favorite songs is always   Part Of Your World.     There were lots of  pop culture references and one thing that I found interesting  was that at the  beginning  Ariel’s birthday is being celebrated  and she is turning 18.  Part of   this coming age is being allowed to go up to the surface.   In  the original movie   as we know    it is frowned upon that  Ariel goes to the surface.   It added  a new dynamic to the character.

Unfortunately  I do not have a program to  reference to notate     performances that stood out in this production.   Congrats to the cast on great performance.  The Little Mermaid was performed  July 31st- August 2nd.

Next up   is   Moonlight and Magnolias  the final  show in the season for the  Majestic   Theatre.   This was another comedy that kept me laughing throughout.  It is set  in 1939 and   Selziick  (Glen  Grimard) is a  Hollywood director  who along with  Hecht  (Todd  Russell) and Fleming (Eric Skoglund) have  just five days to write a screen  play  of Gone With The Wind.  Comedy  ensues!    The cast  is rounded out by Selznick’s secretary  Mrs. Poppenghul  (Maria  Barry) who provides them with  peanuts and other things to sustain them during the 5 days of working on the script.

Moonlight and Magnolias was directed by Joe Pelonzi and ran August 10-12th at the Majestic Studio theatre in Manchester.


Finally      yesterday Matt  Patty and I saw Newsies at Interlakes Summer Theatre.. our yearly pilgrimage  to Meredith.      Last summer  I saw  Newsies  at Maine State Music Theatre  in Brunswick Maine.  One thing that wowed me and impressed me about this show was the dancing.   We were just blown away at the   talent and  the precision of the choreography and also the gymnastics.  Notable performances were  by   Mickey White (Jack Kelly),  Joshua  K.A.  Johnson (Race),   Kelsey Day (Katherine Plumber),  Levi Ehrmatraut (Davey),  Forsest Hamel  (Les). Graham  Campbell  (Crutchie)   Victoria Lynn Benkoski  (Medda Larkin) and  Mikey  Labosolomo  ( Weisel/Mr. Jacobi/ Mayor). Favorite  musical performances were  King  Of New York, Carrying The Banner, Watch What Happens, Seize The Day, Letter From The Refuge and Something To Believe  In.

We saw the closing performance of  Newsies which concluded  season 11 of  Interlakes Summer Theatre.    Looking forward to next summer’s offerings including  Mamma Mia.       This show as directed and choreographed by   Chaz Wolcott and music directed by Alexander Tom. Congrats to the 2018  Intern Company for a   stellar show and  a fantastic season.   A fellow  reviewer had a hard time choosing a favorite song and simply said “I liked them all.”

James  Popek  also contributed to this review. 


In other   news this year  I decided to do something different and audition for  Alice In Wonderlaand at Manchester  Community Theatre Players.  I  was cast as a Hedge Singer in Act 1 and a Card in Act 2. Couldn’t be more excited to   make new friends and work together again with some PTA  friends too.   It will be a great  experience.   I have my first rehearsal tomorrow night.

Summer Viewing Part 1   Leave a comment

The 1st installment of our summer viewing schedule.   The   2nd installment  will be posted on July 31st.    The Riverbend Youth Company reviews will be split  up  into two different posts as well.   The first installment will  be posted on    August 7th and the second on  September 8th.

Seeing  Barefoot  In The Park at the  Majestic Theatre  this   June  made me reminisce  about  being in this show at the   Barn  Playhouse 11 years ago.   I was part of the moving  company which essentially was involved in the  scene  change in Act  1  when   they move the furniture into  the Bratter’s   apartment.   This  is love  story  on two  different  fronts..   one relationship  dynamic is between the main characters  Corie  and  Paul   Bratter  (  Sierra  Jones and Jarrod Rouleau) and  Ethel  Banks   and   Victor  Valasco   (Allan S  McPhereson)      My favorite scene is the scene where   Ethel   and Mr. Valaseco are paired  up on the  blind date and the hilarity that ensues.

Barefoot  In The  Park   ran at the Majectic  Theatre  June 22-24th.     To end  our season subscription we will be seeing  Moonlight and Magnolias on  August 11th.


Now to  a throw back to the   80s.  Flashdance   is  a musical based on the  80s film of the same name.    Favorite musical numbers included  What A Feeling,  Gloria,  Justice, A Million To One.  I Love Rock and Roll and Manhunt.   Notable perfomances   were by   Lori Coyle,   Ana Gabirllea  Chibolga, Elliot  Owens, Kyra  Freedman and Dale  Byrd.

Flashdance was directed by Alan  Kaplan,  Music  Directed by  John   Carey and Choreographed by  Loren  Hallet and Margaret  Windler.  It was performed at the North End  Montersorri School in Manchester July  6th-15th.


I always love going  back to the New London  Barn Playhouse every year  to see what the current   interns have in store and as an alumni  I am   impressed  by    what  I see.     I was  very excited to introduce myself  to a new  musical this summer and see  Little Women.   The musical is based on the book  by  Louisa May Alcott and it was fun to see all the characters  come to life.  (Admittedly I never finished the book and  still have  200 pages left to read.)  The  score was comprised of both  lightheated and thought provoking songs.   Some favorites included   Delighted.  Off To Massachusetts  Astonishing,  The Most Amazing Thing, Something  Are Meant To Be,  Five Forever  and   The Fire Within  Me. 

Notable  performances were by  Amy  Agostino  (Aunt March/Mrs. Kirk),  Elliot Cunningham (Professor Behr),  Talia  Susakauer (Jo March),  Sam Person  (Beth March/Rodrigo 2) and Andrew  Nellin  (Laurie  Laurence) but the whole cast was very talented.

Little Women ended it’s run on July  8th.   If you get the chance to  go to  New London   this summer  be sure not to miss  42nd Street (July 18th-August 5th), Newsies  (August  8-19th)  Murder   For 2 (August 22nd-September 2nd) and  the Spotlight Series  (July 23rd and August 13th  @ 5pm and  7:30pm.)



Actorsingers Day Part 2   Leave a comment

Back to back reviews of Actorsingers shows once again !

First off on Friday night we saw Damn Yankees. It was our second time seeing it. We previously saw it performed by Riverbend Youth Company in 2011. Previous Teen Actorsingers shows we have seen include Legally Blonde and last year’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Notable Performances were by Sam Cohen ( Joe Boyd/ Joe Hardy), Katie Manchester ( Lola), Joel Michael King ( Mr. Applegate), Alyssa Saunders ( Commissioner. She was awesome in her debut with Actorsingers),Gabriella Nevarerte ( Doris) Evelyn Duggar ( Gloria Thorpe) and Hailey Sullivan ( Sister). One fellow reviewer found it hard to find one stand out performance because everyone was so talented. Favorite Musical Numbers included Heart ( there were beautiful harmonies in this one),Good Bye Old Girl,Near To You, Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, MO,Those Were The Good Days and Two Lost Souls.

Damn Yankees ended their run this afternoon at 2pm at Court Street Theatre in Nashua and was directed by Matt Ziolenko, Music Directed by Christie Conticchio and choreographed by Logan Higgins. Congrats to all on a fabulous show. It was a home run!

Review Contributors: Patty Helbig, Matt Smith,Laura Vitale; Jo-Ann Zall

Another fantastic Actorsingers show Sister Act ran at Keefe Auditorium on Mother’s Day weekend. Sister Act is one of my favorite movies and when I heard it was in the Actorsingers line up I was very excited!

Notable Performances were by Ashley Swanson, Maria Hendricks,Philip Laks, Martha Daniels Holland, Teddy Hendricks and James Middleton. There lots of funny moments and lots of emotional moments as well though out this show.

Notable musical performances included Sunday Morning Fever,Take Me To Heaven,The Life I Never LED,Bless Our Show, Raise Your Voice And Sister Act.

Bless Our Show somehow made me think about when we are backstage at a PTA play saying the mantra. Don’t ask me how or why I thought of that but I found some way to connect the lyrics to that.

Apologies for this review being so late! Congrats to cast crew and production team on a a wonderful performance.

Review Contributors: Patty Helbig, Danielle Poirier, Matt Smith

Posted July 16, 2018 by theatretechdiva in Actorsingers

Catching Up!   Leave a comment

Little Mermaid? In the books!  Chorus concert? In the books!  Now  it is time to catch up on reviews.

We  saw A  Few Good Men at the Amato Center on March 17th.    I like to  introduce myself to a new  play  every once in awhile.  Was this one of my favorites?  Probably not but it was still good.    Notable performances were by   Patrick McCarty, Roger Hurd,  Anja Parish and Amy Agostino.

This show  ran at the Amato Center   May  8th-18th.    Next  up at MAP we will be seeing  The   Norman  Conquests  in July.

Before Little Mermaid Tech week began we saw our final  Dinner Theatre show at the Majestic Theatre  which was  called Dial M. for Murder.   This was a fun  murder mystery comedy that  kept everyone guessing.  The cast was small and everyone  was equally talented.    Dial  M for Murder was performed at the  Executive  Banquet  Facility in  Manchester  April  6-8th.   Next up at the Majestic  we will be seeing Barefoot  In The Park  on June 23rd.

Last weekend we saw three shows in a row  42nd St at the  Amato Center, Bye Bye Birdie at  Windham Actors  Guild and  Shakespeare In Hollywood at  Community   Players of Concord.   It was my first time seeing 42nd Street and   I think it was by far one of my favorite shows that Riverbend  has done recently.   Notable performances were by   Helen  St. Cyr,  Grace Bonner, Doug Pedroza,  Ben Erdody and Zac Barnaby.   I was blown away  by the tap dancing in this show.    My favorite songs were  Go  Into Your Dance,  We’re  In The Money, You’re Getting To Be  A Habit With Me,  Lullaby  Of Broadway and Young  And Healthy.

Good luck to all the seniors!  I will miss you all so much next year.  The memories we have shared together on stage  are  fond ones.

Notable performances from the  Palace Theatre production of 42nd Street were  by  Stuart Harmon,  Alison Duarte, Maria Logan,  Trisha  Hart  Ditsworth and  Brandon  Keith Rogers.      We saw this  production on   opening  night   Friday June 2nd.     Our friend  Pam from chorus who was there that night too was equally as impressed by   the talent of the actors.

This is my  third time being transported to Sweet Apple  Ohio and my first time  seeing a show at Windham Actors Guild.  I have previously seen this  show  at Peacock Players in 1997  (   dug out  the program whilst   helping my parents clean out their Amherst  house in an old box of  stuff  I had kept) and in 2006 when  the AMS  Theatre  Club performed  it and my sister was Mrs. McAfee.   Bye Bye Birdie has always been one of my favorite musicals.  The  music is very catchy and has you  dancing in your seat.    Stand out performances were  by  Colin Malete  ( Conrad  Birdie),  Patrice  Doherty (Gloria Rasputin),  Jesse Drake (Albert Petersen)  Kelli Laughlin  (Kim  MacAfee),  Kaitlin  Smith  (Rosie Alvarez) and  Joel  Michael  King  (Hugo   Peabody)   While the dialogue was referenced I was disappointed that  the song A  Mother Doesn’t  Matter Anymore was not in this version of the show.   Favorite musical  numbers included   A  Lot Of Livin To Do,  Put On A Happy  Face,  Rosie,  A Healthy Normal American  Boy   and Spanish Rose.

 Patty Helbig  also contributed to this review.


We   last saw  Shakespeare  In Hollywood   about 5 summers ago put on  by  Milford Area Players.  This show is set  on a   Hollywood  soundstage and follows the antics as to characters from  Shakespearean times are transported to  a modern day film set of  the Shakspeare     play A  Midsummer  Night’s Dream.    We were laughing the whole entire time.     All performers in this production  were incredibly talented and it was hard to pick a favorite character.

Shakespeare In Hollywood was performed at The Concord  City  Auditorium   May 4-6.


Stay tuned  for a review of Sister Act which  ran at   Keefe Auditorium May 11-13th.


Guest reviews of  The Little Mermaid and   Anything Goes at Pinkerton Academy are also coming your way soon! 🙂



Adversity   Leave a comment

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Elizabeth  Kubler Ross

I rarely get personal on this blog.. in fact  I try to avoid it since it supposed to be  professional.    I’d like to step away  from that for a second though.

Note: Names have been omitted from this blog post.

Today I have chosen to talk about adversity. I’ve overcome a lot of it to get to where I am today.   The end of last   year  and beginning of this year I  overcame my  fair share of  it and it relates to theatre and music.

In  November   there was a shake up among the  ranks for the original directors of the production were let go.It was  appropriately    refered to as Mermaidgate.  The  Board of Directors  of the PTA let them go  because of creative differences. The Board never offered an explanation or apology which I find to be frustrating. The thing that bothered me the most and still bothers me is how  the PTA Board of Directors was so deceitful  and dishonest in what they  did  to Sue and Pam.  There were many people who did not audition  because of what happened..  essentially splitting apart a family.

Despite the reservations that I had   I decided to audition.  The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite  Disney movies of all time and I did not want to pass up my shot to  be in this play. I am so glad that  I did.      This show  was so much fun to be  a part of . They always are.  We had an  amazing cast.    It was great to meet new people too. This was my absolute favorite show out of the ones   I have done with the PTA. I already miss the show and everyone in it very much.     Best way to beat post show depression? Watch DVDS of past shows that I borrowed from John Sauter.  I need some new fan fiction plot line ideas after all!

Right  now though I am at  a crossroads.    Because of what has happened  I am not sure if  I can continue to be a part of a group where the board  does not have respect for the hard work that was  put into the production. I   have a lot of respect for everyone in the PTA group and so much love for everyone too.    I really hope that  there will be a new  Board Of Directors instated  that will be able to start over   fresh with the PTA play  put creative differences aside and focus on the main goal of  the  play which is to raise money for the Amherst Schools. .   What happened definitely left a bitter  taste in my mouth.  I am glad I was able to put that aside and still enjoy the play with an awesome  group of  people that has become like a second family to me since 2011.

The  next  example of overcoming adversity   has to do with Souhegan Valley Chorus.   It is no secret that  I have had issues with getting along with my chorus director for the past couple years.   I have a lot of respect for my director and she knows that. I struggled for awhile with   focusing in chorus.  I was upset at myself for a long time and this really  distracted my enjoyment in chorus and having fun. I  also openly admit that I didn’t  really want to disclose my disabilities because  I did not think they would outwardly affect my singing.   This was a factor in me not feeling included as well.   We had a special meeting on  February 13th about inclusion.  That helped  me to feel a lot better.   I guess  I was afraid to disclose my disabilities to everyone because   I didn’t think that it was necessary to do that.    Singing is a passion of mine and it has been for many years.  My  vision  impairment definitely  had a negative impact on my performance though I think.. maybe I would have been able to get  help if  I had mentioned something sooner. Lesson learned.

These are two examples of how  I have overcome adversity  recently.  I have  learned a lot of lessons from these experiences.

Guest Reviews  Coming Soong

The Little Mermaid   Amherst PTA   Laura Vitale

Anything Goes  Pinkerton Players   (Pinkerton Academy Spring Musical)   Christie Conticchio

Update:  I decided to step away from chorus for the next semester so I can focus on the musical theatre cabaret I am doing at work.  I also need to refocus my mindset so I can actually start enjoying chorus again and work past all the anxiety I have been dealing with & focus on wedding planning .I am hoping to return in the spring. As for the PTA play next year’s  show is Mulan Junior which be  a show for 8-18 year olds. I might work backstage or take the year off so I can go watch  the show.