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January & February Reviews   Leave a comment

On January 11th   Patty  Matt and I started off the new year by seeing  Honk Jr.  put on by Riverbend  Youth Company.  It was  an inspiring  story about not being  afraid to be yourself based on the   fairy tale  The  Ugly  Duckling.  Notable performances were by  Hadley  Harris,   Kyra  Whitehead, Autumn Fichera, Grace   St. Jean, Max  Harley, Julia Dowd, Gabby  White, Victory  Phillips and Hannah  Shepard, Favorite musical numbers included Hold Your Head Up High   Different, Play With Your   Food, Wild  Goose Chase and  Warts and  All.

Honk  Jr was directed by Robin  Lacroix and  Karin Harvey  Olsen, Music Directed by  Kim Whitehead and choreographed by   Ellice  Cunningham  and was performaed at the Amato Center For Performing Arts   Jan 11th-13th.   Congrats  to the cast crew and production team on a fabulous show.

Next up was The Secret  Garden at the Palace Theatre.   We got tickets as a Christmas present and the show  was   beautiful.    Notable performances were by  Jared Trolio,  Jeffrey  Michael   Kringer,  Cathy  McKay,  Jennifer Fogarty,   Jenna Bienvenue and  Drew  Tremblay.  The most   beautiful song in the whole show was  How Could I Ever Know which was  duet between  Archibald and Lily Craven,   Other notable  musical numbers were It’s A Maze, Show Me The Key, Come Spirit Come Charm, The Girl I  Mean To Be  and  Letter Song

  The  Secret  Garden  ran at the Palace Theatre  January 11th-February   3rd and was directed  and choreographed by  Carl  Rajotte and music  directed by Zachary Ryan. 

Matt  and I also  had a  unique  opportunity  which was part of  our membership from last year  to see  a  dress rehearsal of Cabaret at  the Palace Theatre a few weeks ago.   It was a great experience and very informative.


On February 2nd   Matt Sonya and I went to   the dance show  at the Amato  Center.   This is one of my favorite  Riverbend Youth  Company Traditions.   This year’s theme was  This   Is Me  which focuses on empowerment and believing in yourself.      Favorite dance numbers included Bare Necessities, Brave, Carry  On, Reflection, Spoken  Word,  SecretsStand  In The Light   This Is Me  and Waving Through  A Window,

Congrats to all the dancers on a wonderful performance.



Next  up on   our viewing schedule for   Riverbend Youth Company  productions will be  Peter And The Starcatcher on April 6th.



Posted February 12, 2019 by theatretechdiva in Palace Theatre, Riverbend Youth Company

Top Favorite Songs from shows seen or performed in 2018   Leave a comment

Top 40 Favorite Songs from shows seen or performed in 2018
Songs are not listed in order in which performances were seen.
*SVC Spring Concert
&Plus Company Musical Theatre Cabaret

**SVC  Holiday  Concert

1. Under The Sea The Little Mermaid

2. Some Things Are Meant To Be Little Women

3. A Lot Of Livin To Do Bye Bye Birdie

*4 Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells Your Story Hamilton

5.  No Time At All  Pippin

6.Something To Believe In Newsies

7. We’ve Got To Stick Together It’s A Wonderful Life The Musical
8. Writing Down The Story of My Life Junie B. Jones
9. One Step Closer The Little Mermaid
10. 10 Minutes Ago R & H Cinderella
11. Fly To Your Heart Peter Pan JR
12. Lullaby  Of Broadway   42nd Street
13.  Manhunt   Flashdance
14. Shoeless Joe From Hannibal MO Damn Yankees
15. Kiss The Girl  The Little Mermaid
*16 The Whistling Gypsy
17. Benjamin’s Calypso Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
18. The Life  I  Never  Led Sister Act
&19. Almost There The Princess And The Frog
20. There’s Music In You R&H Cinderella
**21.  We Need A  Little Christmas  Mame
22. What Makes The Brave Man Brave Peter Pan Junior
23 Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield Off The Page An All Dance Production
24. Corner  Of The Sky  Pippin
25. One More Angel In Heaven Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat

26. Kickball Tournament Junie B. Jones
27. Still Hurting The Last 5 Years

28. Two Lost Souls Damn Yankees

29.The Wheel Tuck Everlasting

30.Astonishing Little Women
31. Go Into Your Dance 42nd Street

32 Stepsister’s Lament R&H Cinderella

33  The Turtle Tango  Alice  In Wonderland

34  The Palace  Music  Hall  Alice In Wonderland

35.  Be The Hero   Big Fish

36. Red White  And  True Big Fish

&37 Once Upon A December Anastasia

38 My George Bailey It’s A Wonderful Life The Musical

**39. African Noel

40 Bless You George Bailey It’s A Wonderful Life The Musical

Posted December 16, 2018 by theatretechdiva in Amherst PTA, Uncategorized

SVC Holiday Concert Review   Leave a comment

Crossposted from the SVC  Music Analysis Blog. Please see note at the end of the entry regarding that blog.

The Theme Of This Year’s Holiday Concert was Christmas Favorites. Once again we had another great Guest Performance by The New Hampshire Youth Singers who sang I See A Star and Holly Jolly Santa Claus. Both choruses joined together to sing Dominick The Donkey which was a great closer for the 1st Half Of The Concert.
Favorite songs in the concert aside from Dominick The Donkey included African Noel,Sing We Now Of Christmas, Mistletoe and Holly, I See A Star and Nutcracker Jingles.
White Christmas wrapped up the concert. It was great to see a song performed again from the first concert I was in with SVC four years AGO. White Christmas is a popular Christmas song originated by Bing Crosby and is from the Irving Berlin musical Holiday Inn. In the concert four years ago solos in this piece were by Heather Arsenault and Bryan Higgs. This time around there were no soloists in this piece but with or without solos it is a truly beautiful piece.
Twas the Night Before Christmas was originally adopted from what was also called A Visit from St. Nicholas, with the writing created by Clement Crake Moore in 1822. It’s a wonderful prologue about Christmas Eve when Santa with his eight reindeer go up on the housetop, and Santa goes down through the chimney with a bag of toys. It was one of the first times someone believed how Santa would do this every Christmas Eve. There were spoken solos describing St. Nick from Ellie Risley, Brenda Cannon, Christy Belvin, Jean Desany, and Arthur Harkness. The line where St. Nick goes to work and fills the stockings before going back up the chimney was a sung solo by Tenor veteran John Potelle. For a bonus feature, I found a feature of this classic tale on DOS that I used to have with my old IBM Computer back when I was little. The link:
Review Contributors: Patty Helbig, Derrick Walcott, Jane Walcott


All other reviews of  holiday music and theatre performances will  be posted on  Dec 20th


A note  regarding the Music Analysis Blog:  Matt and  I will be seeking other performing opportunities  in  Nashua  in both  music  and theatre.  Amherst and  Milford are no longer local to  us   because of  the recent  relocation of my parents to  Maine.   We would like to thank Souhegan Valley Chorus  for all the great memories we have made  over the past couple of years.    We will look back on everything fondly.

The Rechoired  Reading Blog  and accompanying  Facebook page will be  deleted   1/01/2019.



Posted December 10, 2018 by theatretechdiva in Souhegan Valley Chorus

November Wrap Up   Leave a comment

November was a busy month for theatre viewing. December will be equally as busy with going to various concerts.

Our journeys began at the Amato Center with Big Fish. This was a great story about family relationships… especially between father and son. Notable Performances were by Emma Harley, Max Harley, Sophia Dube, Genevieve Steadman, and Sammy O’Neil. Favorite Musical Numbers included. Red White and True,Be The Hero, Daffodils, Little Lamb From Alabama and Closer To You.

Big Fish ran at the Amato Center from November 1st-4th was directed by Katie Hammes, music directed by Lauren Busa & choreography by Devereaux and Renee Merchant. Congrats to all involved on another fabulous performance.

The 2nd weekend of November was a double show weekend. On Friday night we saw Pippin at Actorsingers. This was by far one of my shows that Actorsingers has done. Aside from notable Performances another thing to recognize is the amazing set design by Matt Kaiser and Lauren May. Notable performances were by Caity Glover, Aly Armaretto, Sophia Bataglia,Eric Berthuime, Kerry Schneider and James Middleton.

Favorite Musical Numbers were War Is A Science,Love Song,I’ll Guess I Miss The Man, Spread A Little Sunshine, Magic To Do & No Time At All

Pippin was performed at Keefe Auditorium November 9-11 and was directed and choreographed by Donna O’Bryant &Music directed by Amanda Morgan.

The following evening we went to the Merrimack Repertory Theatre In Lowell to see Murder For Two. This fast paced show had me laughing the whole time and was delightful. I hope to go see more shows there in the future.

Finally we saw Tuck Everlasting at Peacock Players on November 16th. This musical is based on the novel of the same name by Natalie Babbitt. It was a beautiful story about family. Notable Performances were by Aren Truex, Kieran Whitney, Gabrielle White,Elsa Keefe and Andrew Shapiro.

Favorite Musical Numbers were The Wheel, Everlasting,Hugo’s First Case,My Most Beautiful Day and Seventeen.

Tuck Everlasting was performed at Court Street Theatre November 9-18th and was directed by Keith Weirch, Music Directed by Henry Kopczynskie III and choreographed by Christina White. Great job to all.

My holiday 2018 review post will be posted Dec 23rd. Stay tuned for top 40 Favorite Songs From Shows Seen or performed in during 2018 countdown starting 12/15.

Review Contributors

Patty Helbig for Pippin

Patty Helbig and Mandy Blanchard for Tuck Everlasting

Guest Review Alice In Wonderland   Leave a comment

The Manchester Community Theatre Players theatre is one of those local theatres in New Hampshire where talents and people come together to perform the very best. Alan Kaplan is a long time director of the theater, so every time you go he is there to suggest upcoming performances and give away free tickets in the raffle drawings. He mentioned he saw Alice in Wonderland on stage a couple years ago in Ontario, Canada; and he thought the costumes and effects would make for a terrific show for Manchester. Janine and I have been seeing shows at the theater since about 2010 together, but this one the first time she took stage where I saw her. She was a tree and a card guarding the Queen in Wonderland for her minor roles, but now I shall mention about the play right here.
Lewis Carroll adapted his books based on the life of one of the Liddell Sisters; one of whom was named Alice. It was based on the idea of a beautiful day in London at the park where it would be a perfect place to daydream. Alice’s adventures were a long story filled with imagination; and for Lewis he adapted into Alice in Wonderland, followed by Through the Looking Glass and her Adventures under Ground. The original book begins with Alice getting bored listening to her sister reading a story with no pictures or conservations. She then falls asleep and starts to daydream; and then when she notices the White Rabbit she begins to follow him, eventually going into the rabbit hole. From there, it’s filled with illusions and non-sensual objects and living things that make Alice wonder how “Curiouser and Curiouser” Wonderland is.
Much of the book was adapted into this musical made for the theater in Manchester, and it was done with lots of care and good set designing by Larry Eckman and Reeds Ferry Lumber. The Amato Center of Milford, NH also took good care into helping with some of the props for the set; and our good friend Laura Majore and Katie Leishman did a terrific job setting Alice up in character. Alice was played by a teenage girl named Rachel Bender. She put her English accent on her character very lovely, and her hair made her similar to what Alice was created, so she didn’t need a wig. There were a number of faces that weren’t familiar to me, but it was good to see the Ficheras. Kazi was in her third MTP production, and her three minor roles as a duck, Flora, and a paying card were lovely to see. Her sister Autumn portrayed Dora and the March Hare. She made a good pair along with the Mad Hatter played by Dan Arlen. Just like in the book Alice agreed that it was the stupidest tea party ever.
Throughout the play, Alice seems to be very close as she follows the White Rabbit; even though the delay would make the rabbit late in any way. Connor Forbes portrayed the rabbit, and was very dapper along with his bunny ears. It never seemed like Alice was acquaintances with the rabbit in the original story or the classic Disney film; so I thought this was a less stressful rabbit on stage. In the scene where Alice was invited to the royal play, that was where viewers saw Dora and Flora dancing, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the Walrus and the Carpenter, which Alice were reciting. Those didn’t get introduced by Lewis Carroll until Through the Looking Glass. It made for a good addition near the end of act one.
The final scenes are when the Queen, played by Jennifer Fichera, calls everyone to trial and Alice ends by saying everything is stuff and nonsense. This leads to the Queen threatening to lose Alice’s head; but then it’s when Alice wakes up from her dream realizing the English Countryside is her Wonderland. That’s when you know this is all literary nonsense. Everything in the play made for a good storyline similar to the book; but there were missing scenes especially when Alice would’ve grown or shrunk more often. There was still the Cheshire Cat, played by MTP veteran Dale Byrd; and his daughter Madison was the Caterpillar. I would recommend if you think you’ve only known Alice in Wonderland through the films; you should seek out trying to find the book yourself. It includes a number of different poems and songs that are made for some of the characters such as these:

The Crocodile

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shiny tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

Turtle Soup

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beaufiful Soup!
Beau–ootiful Soo–oop!
Beau–ootiful Soo–oop!
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beau–ootiful Soo–oop!
Beau–ootiful Soo–oop!
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening,
Beautiful, beauti–FUL–SOUP!

The Mock Turtle does appear in the play where Alice gets escorted to the shores to hear the melancholy creature describing her origin. Lori Coyle made her entrance sound sad, but to me hearing the poem brings back memories when I used to listen to this funny food rhyme. When the turtle and the Gryphon went to the tango, this was in place of the Mock Turtle Dance poem in the original Alice in Wonderland book. I have it also on one of my My Book House series in my home.
Mock Turtle Song

“Will you walk a little faster?”
said a whiting to a snail.
“There’s a porpoise close behind us,
and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and
the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle—
will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?

“You can really have no notion how
delightful it will be,
When they take us up and throw us,
with the lobsters, out to sea!”
But the snail replied “Too far, too far!”
and gave a look askance—
Said he thanked the whiting kindly,
but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not,
could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not,
could not, could not join the dance.

“What matters it how far we go?”
his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know,
upon the other side.
The further off from England
the nearer is to France—
Then turn not pale, beloved snail,
but come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you,
won’t you, won’t you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you,
won’t you, won’t you join the dance?”

Congrats to the whole cast and crew of Manchester Community Theatre Players for this fabulous show, and may there be more to come for me to see this season and beyond. Janine will be pleased to be a part of more to come, because we both know people from Milford who do this as well.


Submitted  by Matt Smith

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