ConVal School District
Raising their voices
Somerset Young, 16, of Hancock, left, and Jesse Edwards, 17, of Antrim perform "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," from the musical "Kiss Me Kate by Cole Porter during a performance of some of the songs from the ConVal Drama's performance "Off Broadway: A Musical Cabaret." Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Aleia Wozmak, 17, of Temple, comforts "Joshua Curran, 16, of Peterborough, during a duet of "You're Just in Love" from "Babes in Arms" by Irving Berlin. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
From left: Sarah Hurley, 16, of Peterborough, Jesse Edwards, 17, of Antrim, Arianna Zrzavy, 17, of Peteborough, Montana Schultz, 17, of Peterborough, Somerset Young, 16, of Hancock, Cassie Cutting, 17, of Peterborough, Ben Carne, 18, of Peterborough, Aleia Wozmak, 17, of Temple, Josh Curran, 16, of Peterborough, Accompanist Michael Pennington, 15, of Peteborough and Director Liz Halper. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Sarah Hurley, 16, of Peterborough sings "Cockeyed Optimist" from "South Pacific" by Rodgers and Hammerstein, while accompanied by Michael Pennington, 15, of Peterborough on the piano. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Ben Carne, 18, of Peterborough, sings "Not While I'm Around," From "Sweeney Todd." Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Cassie Cutting, 17, of Peteborough, left, and Arianna Zrzavy, 17, of Peterborough sing "Step Sister's Lament," from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Montana Schultz, 17, of Peterborough sings "As Long as He Needs Me" from "Oliver." Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
It’s all about the music.
That’s what the stars of the ConVal Drama Club’s upcoming show, “Off Broadway: A Musical Cabaret,” say, anyway. Unlike most of the performances put on by ConVal Drama, the cabaret is a musical revue, not a dramatic performance. Filled with a mix of Broadway hits from a range of genres, from “Oliver,” and “South Pacific” to “Sweeney Todd,” the show spans musicals from the 1920s on.
Somerset Young, 16, of Hancock wrote some loose dialogue which strings the show together, he said in an interview after the cast of the revue gave a sneak peak performance of some of their featured numbers at the RiverMead LifeCare Community in Peterborough last week. However, the narrative is really secondary to the songs, which are performed mostly by students in duets or solos.
“The whole point is to grab as many songs as possible. Where in a musical, the songs support the dialogue, here the dialogue supports the songs,” said Young. Young will also be performing in a duet with Jesse Edwards, 17, of Antrim, singing “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from the musical “Kiss Me Kate.”
That holds true for the overall production of the show, said the show’s Director, Liz Halper. Because the performance leans so heavily on the vocal talent of the actors, that was the first concern when auditions were held.
“We did a Broadway Revue last year,” said Halper, “and we opened it up to the faculty and larger community. This year, we wanted to make it student driven.”
“Some auditions had great acting quality, but we had to focus on vocal ability,” added Young. Even the staging of the show will be simple, said Halper, with costumes cobbled together from the student’s own closets, and only minimal use of props.
Ben Carne, 18, of Peterborough said that all of that just puts the pressure on the performance to bring it with their musical ability. “The nature of the show is to keep it simple and focus on the voices,” he said. What characters each of them do have are still mostly geared towards matching their songs, explained Joshua Curran, 16, of Peterborough, who will be performing the duet “You’re Just in Love,” from “Babes in Arms” along with Aleia Wozmak, 17, of Temple. Those that have comedic characters sing the comedic songs, for example.
Since the cast had minimal rehearsal time for the show, Halper said, she employed mostly seniors and juniors, who would be willing to work on their own time to learn the music. For seniors like Carne, who had dramatic experience but not mush with musicals or singing, it’s a good way to go out with a bang, he said.
“This is a last hurrah for us seniors,” he said. And, he added, it helps that he gets to go out while singing “Not While I’m Around” from one of his favorite musicals, “Sweeney Todd.”
Arianna Zrzavy agreed, saying that she too, had been cast to sing one of her own favorites, a duet called “Step Sister’s Lament” from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” “I grew up watching the version with Julie Andrews, so I was really excited to sing it, especially with Cassie,” she said, referring to her duet partner Cassie Cutting, 17, of Peterborough.
The musical performance will be set up in Cabaret style, with audiences seated at tables, with refreshments available. The show will take place on April 11 and April 12 at Reynolds Hall at 52 Concord St. in Peterborough. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Toadstool Bookstore, Steele’s Stationers or by calling 924-9489. Ticket price includes the cost of refreshments. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.