Archive for the ‘Milford Cabinet Articles’ Category

My Son Pinnochio JR Article   Leave a comment

For the past couple weeks I have been mentoring the kids in the publicity  department  in the Amherst Middle School Theatre Club.  Here is the article that we worked on together which will be in  the Milford Cabinet and Amherst Citizen.     Thank  you to Jen Stover and Kim  Kirk for this opportunity. The kids were so great to work with.  🙂 I would also like to apologize for the foresight in leaving the show dates and times out of the articles. Performances are at Amherst Middle School March 14th-16th. Evening performance are at 7:30pm and matinees at 2pn. Please come support these hardworking kids! 🙂

My Son Pinocchio Jr to celebrate 10 years of  Amherst Middle School Theatre Club Productions

by Janine Leffler

This year the Amherst Middle School Theatre Club will  celebrate it’s  10 year anniversary.   Their production this year is My Son Pinocchio Jr which is the story of  the Disney classic  Pinocchio from Geppetto’s perspective.   This show features a mixture of  classic songs such as  I’ve Got No Strings to Hold Me Down  and When You Wish Upon A Star  with new songs  which were written by Steven Schwartz who has written  such popular musicals such  as Wicked, Pippin and Children of Eden.   My Son Pinocchio Jr is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Stover and  music directed by Kim Whitehead.

8th graders in Theatre Club were recently interviewed about their experiences  in theatre club and this very  special 10 year anniversary production.

Ben Wesenberg plays  Geppetto.  When asked about what he likes best about playing this character is ” There are a lot of moments where he states the obvious – he’s funny. There are some really lighthearted lines that I’ve enjoyed working on.”  His favorite memory about  being in theatre club has been  “5th grade I met one of my friends by jumping into her arms on stage. I wouldn’t have known her if that  hadn’t happened.”

Helen St Cyr is playing Sue , a quirky fairy in training. What St Cyr likes best about playing her character is  ” Sue is a lot of comedic relief in the show and I really like the way it’s written and I can be my own person and go anywhere I want with the character.”  St Cyr’s favorite memory of being in theatre club is being the MC in the show in 5th grade ” It was my first role when I got to speak in front of the whole audience. I think it was when I started really loving acting. it was the beginning.”

Hannah Cohen is playing Professora  Bunoagrazzo.  She enjoys playing this character because she feels it mirrors her personality. When asked about her character development process she said ” Standing in front of my mirror and practicing gestures and singing in my room.  I memorize my lines by recording all the lines that are before mine and  filling in the blank spaces.”  Cohen looks forward to developing her character and seeing the show come together.

Sean Corrigan is playing Stromboli. He chose to audition for this part because he liked the character’s comic ability.  His favorite song in the show is Bravo Stromboli because he likes the music and lyrics.   He hopes everyone who comes to see My Son Pinnochio will enjoy the show.

Katie Giannakopoulos is playing the  Blue Fairy.  What she enjoys the most about playing this character is being sassy. ” I’m not a really sassy person. So playing a different part is fun because I get to be someone else.” She continued by saying that her  favorite memory of being in theatre club was the  photo shoot for the lead characters  in Camp Rock last year because it was a lot of fun.

Bella St Laurent is playing the Ringleader.   To develop her character she watches the movie and pretends to be something she’s not.   Her favorite memory of being in theatre club is production week because  it’s a time when the cast really bonds.

Joe Guzman is playing Bernardo and  Signor Alcomo.   His method for memorizing his lines is going them over and over again and practicing them with his brother.   He is happy with how smoothly the rehearsals have been running and looks forward to putting on a good show for an audience.

Tickets are $5.00 and are on sale at  Black Forest Cafe, The Homestead and AMS.

Congratulations to the AMS Theatre Club on 10 years of wonderful productions. Here’s to many more awesome shows.

Students in the AMS Theatre Club  Front Office Staff contributed to this article.


Posted February 26, 2014 by theatretechdiva in Milford Cabinet Articles, Uncategorized

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Sound Of Music Article   Leave a comment


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!

Timeless Beat Article   Leave a comment

Groove through the decades during ‘Timeless Beat’
By Janine Leffler

The Riverbend Youth Company will perform an all dance show called Timeless Beat from February 1st-3rd. This exciting show features a diverse mix of dancers ages 7-17. Some who have been involved in past productions with Riverbend Youth Company and others who have varied years of experience at Kathy Blake Dance studio in Amherst.
Rachel White, a senior at Souhegan High School, is directing Timeless Beat as part of her senior project. Her project focuses on the directing aspects of exceptional leadership, teaching, management, and production. The biggest joy that White gets out of directing the show is seeing the satisfaction her dancers enjoy when they dance. “Seeing a room full of fifty- three kids with smiles on their faces and energy in their movement has to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced. It inspires me beyond words and pushes me to do more of my best as their director and choreographer.” She continued by saying, “As a dancer I know that performance is a gift you leave the audience with and I can’t wait to feel that type of pride as a director. Creating and directing this show has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I will cherish it always. I believe in my cast tremendously. They are going to get out there and rock it!”

Annie Murray, a sophomore at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua has enjoyed the experience of working on her first Riverbend Youth Company show. “The most fulfilling thing about being in Timeless Beat is the fact that I have strengthened so many friendships throughout this show and I’ve also made many new great friendships. It’s been such a great feeling walking into rehearsals and knowing that everyone there just wants to have fun and make this a great show and there aren’t any worries.” Murray continued by saying that her favorite dance is Little Talks. “I absolutely love how emotional it is and I think it’s going to end up looking great on stage. Dancing this number makes me realize how much I love dancing and how much of a stress-reliever it is.”
Megan Ostrowski, who is a freshmen at Souhegan High School has been dancing for five years at Kathy Blake and is very excited to be in Timeless Beat. “I love helping Rachel! I’m so glad that I can be part of her senior project and help her achieve her goals.” Ostrowski continued by saying that her favorite dance is Levels. “It’s so eye-catching and knowing what the audience is seeing and experiencing makes me feel happy and I get into the dance so much more.”
For Megan Hammes, a sophomore at Milford High School what sets Timeless Beat apart from other shows she done with Riverbend is the fact that it is mostly dance. Her favorite dance in the production is Rhythm Nation “It’s honestly filled with so much sass. It’s definitely a little out of my comfort zone, but everything about it is so much fun. I also absolutely love all the people who I have the opportunity to dance with in the number, which makes it all the more enjoyable.” Hammes went on to say “It’s been especially fulfilling to watch the younger kids as they begin to fall in love with being onstage. They’re so talented at what they do, and I think watching them is a good reminder to all of us to keep having fun and keep dancing.”
Timeless Beat runs from February 1st- February 3rd at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts. Evening performances are at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday and Matinee performances are at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12 for Adults and $8 for students and seniors. Groove on down to the Amato Center because you won’t want to miss this show!

101 Dalmatians Article   Leave a comment

101 Dalmatians barks on to Riverbend Stage

By Janine Leffler


The Disney favorite 101 Dalmatians  is coming to the Amato Center. This is set in England   where  Roger and Anita meet and fall in love.  Their dogs  Pongo and Predita  start out with 15 puppies but then the liter eventually grows to 101.  Cruella Devil kidnaps the puppies which  sets Roger and Anita on edge.  This productions  features youth and teenagers from Milford, Amherst, Mont  Vernon, Wilton and other surrounding towns.


Matt Katsiginais, an 8th grader at Amherst Middle School in playing Roger and is very excited to play the role.   What he likes the best about working on this production is working with friends he  doesn’t get to  work with very often.   His favorite scene in the play is the scene where they are counting the 101 puppies. “It’s just a little piece of humor that seems funny to me. I also like my character, Roger’s idea of the Dalmatian Plantation. That whole song is really cute and really fun to sing.”

Director Robin  Lacroix   chose to direct this play because of  the fact that it incorporates  young children into   meaningful roles and how the   theme of friendship in the storyline appeals to families.  Lacroix loves  watching the youngest cast members really get involved in the production.  “Seeing so many kids involved with the Riverbend Youth Company is extremely fulfilling.”  She looks forward to the packed houses for the performances.


101 Dalmatians runs from  January 18-20th at the Amato Center For The Performing  Arts In Milford.  Showtimes are 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday evening and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. You won’t want to miss this timeless Disney classic.

Oliver Article   Leave a comment

Oliver to be performed by Riverbend Youth Company

By Janine Leffler

Get ready for the Riverbend Youth Company Fall production of OliverOliver is the musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.  Oliver features Stephen Edelbleut of Wilton as Oliver, Ben Erdody of Milford as the Artful Dodger,  Jonathan Edelbluet of Wilton as Fagin and Kat Feraco of Milford as Nancy as well as many other talented young performers from the  Souhegan Valley area.

Renee Reeves, a homeschooled   high school senior from Merrimack is playing Mrs. Sowerberry. Reeves has not had  very many speaking roles in previous shows she has done with Riverbend Youth Company so this has been a new experience for her.  She said the both the challenge and intrigue behind her character is the fact that she gets to be creepy.  She  elaborated by saying “The Sowerberrys are different from any other villains in Oliver in that they’re less sympathetic than Fagin but are played much more comically than Sykes. Jeremy and I have to find the happy medium between creepy and funny.”  She went on to say “The Sowerberry’s two scenes are probably the darkest–what would Dickens be without some moody creepiness? There’s a song about funerals, a certain person gets locked in a coffin. Plot wise, these two scenes are pretty much dedicated to getting the audience to pity Oliver. It’s my job (and Jeremy’s, and Megan’s, and Ethan’s, too!) to entertain them as the story rises.”


For Patrick McKnight, a senior at Souhegan High School, who plays Mr. Bumble the most fulfilling  part of this process has been working with the younger  cast who are playing the orphans and Fagin’s gang. “It’s great to see the younger kids coming up to fill the shoes of the people who have graduated.”  The most interesting part about playing his character is the dramatic shift in emotions from scene to scene. The example he gave was being stern with the orphans in one scene and being flirtatious with Widow Corney, played by Megan Hammes a sophomore at Milford High School, in the next.


The most fulfilling part of this process for Megan Hammes,  a sophomore at Milford High School has been working with the younger children in the cast. “It’s so amazing to watch the younger kids fall in love with theater. It’s always been a really big part of my life, and it’s incredible to see them having so much fun onstage, too.” Hammes continued by saying that she looks forward to the performances as the approach in November. “I am honestly so happy and excited to be working with such an incredible cast and crew and to be playing such a fun and crazy role. I’m also a little nervous, but I guess that’s normal too. I know the whole cast will continue to be amazing when the performances start.”


At this point in the production process  Act One has been blocked and the cast is hard at work with blocking Act Two.  Director Tom Partridge said that up to this point in the process the most interesting thing has been  thinking about all the scenes and fitting them together without downtime. “I had to adjust some of the singing parts to move out to the front of the stage so the scene changes can be done behind the curtains.”  He went on to say, “I have been really impressed with the level of talent we now have at the Riverbend Youth Theater Co and also with the number of younger kids who will be on stage for the first time.  This shows that the Riverbend Youth Co is getting a good name in Youth acting circles and that we are putting on excellent shows for families to see.”  Partridge looks forward to the performances as they get nearer. “With the talent, experience and abilities of our main show cast members and the enthusiasm of the rest of the cast; I know this is going to be one of those shows that will be talked about for the next few years. Everyone that comes to see the show will be happy they attended and every kid in the show will remember the experience for the rest of their lives.”


Oliver will be performed at the Amato Center For The Performing Arts   56 Mt Vernon Street in Milford   November 9th-12th.  Showtimes are November  9th and 10th at 7:30 and November 10th and 11th at 1:00. You won’t want to miss this show! Tickets are $12.00 for adults and $8.00 for students and seniors.