ConVal Drama goes Broadway
Joshua Curran, front, leads the chorus in "Give My Regards To Broadway," one of the numbers in the "Tin Pan Alley Medley" number from ConVal Drama's production of "Broadway Magic." In back are, from left, Sally Paquette, Genna Weidner, Michael Whitney, Megan Beckman, Arianna Zrzavy, Tim Clark, Emily Tyler and Montana Schultz. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Pati Cloutier prepares to tap her troubles away. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Cast members harmonize on "Rock A Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody." In front, from left, are Arianna Zrzavy, Kylie Roosa and Montana Schultz. Visible behind them are, from left, Pati Cloutier, Genna Weidner, Cassie Cutting, Sally Paquette, Megan Beckman and Michelle Thompson. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Joe Hayes, left, and Tim Clark raise their voices during "Give My Regards to Broadway." Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Kathy Manfre sings "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," as she shares a bench with a despondent Tim Clark. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Twenty-five classic numbers from musicals ranging from “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music” and “Sweet Charity” to “Hair,” “A Chorus Line” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” A cast of 27 singers and dancers, many of them current students but all with some connection to ConVal High School. A five-piece pit band led by former longtime ConVal Choral Director Ray Sweeney. Those are the elements making up “Broadway Magic,” a musical revue running tonight through Saturday in ConVal’s Lucy Hurlin Theatre in Peterborough.
The show is a benefit for two causes — the ConVal Drama Club and the Izi Nichols Scholarship Fund, according to Liz Halper, who’s directing the revue.
“Usually, ConVal Drama does a serious play each fall, but there was a scheduling issue,” Halper said Tuesday. “So I offered to do a musical. I happened to run into Ray Sweeney, I spoke to him about it and we decided to do a joint fundraiser.”
Sweeney and Halper came up with an list of possible songs for the show and held auditions for ConVal students.
“Ray has an extensive knowledge of songs and he’s excellent at putting people together with the right songs. He really matches the song to the singer’s vocal ability,” Halper said.
But while they were auditioning, Sweeney and Halper got to thinking. Why should they limit this show just to students? They started wondering which adults might be able to add their talents to the revue, and they didn’t have trouble coming up with names.
So in addition to 17 ConVal students, the show will feature several current or former ConVal staffers as well as others connected to the school. English and theater teacher Elizabeth Moore and the high school’s new chorale director, Krystal Morin, will be singing. Science teacher Ken Cloutier will join former English teacher Tim Clark and former guidance head Joe Hayes in “Fugue for Tinhorns” from “Guys and Dolls” and several other numbers. Cloutier’s wife, Pati Cloutier, will dance to “Tap Your Troubles Away” from Jerry Herman’s “Mack and Mabel,” and the couple will do “Suddenly Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors.” Kathy Manfre, well known for her acting and singing at the Peterborough Players and the “Frost Heaves” revues, will join Halper to sing “I Know Him So Well.” She’ll also duet with Clark on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” Manfre’s daughter Katelyn, who graduated from ConVal several years ago, will also be singing, as will a more recent grad, Chris Commander.
“It was a process that all came together nicely,” Halper said. “We wanted dancing, too, so we have a ballet number and a tap number, “Anything Goes,” that really jazzes up the show.”
The revue also features three big numbers for the entire chorus, each “re-voiced” or “re-harmonized” by Sweeney, according to Halper. The show opens with “Magic to Do,” a song from “Pippin.” “Ben Vereen did it on Broadway with fluorescent gloves,” Halper said. “We’re using glow bracelets.
“Tin Pan Alley Medley,” featuring seven songs of that era, opens Act II and the show closes with “Rhythm of Life” from”Sweet Charity,” which Halper said features nearly all the performers.
“It should really be a fun evening,” Halper said. “We have 25 songs in all, two acts with a 10-minute intermission. It should run about two hours total.”
ConVal students in the show include Megan Beckman, Madeline Ciocci, Joshua Curran, Cassie Cutting, Tory Eichler, Cailin Ennis, Sarah Hurley, Marissa Lombardi, Liz Moore, Krystal Morin, Sally Paquette, Kylie Roosa, Montana Schultz, Michelle Thompson, Emily Tyler, Genna Weidner, Michael Whitney, Alexandra Williams and Arianna Zrzavy.
In addition to benefitting ConVal Drama, the show will raise funds for the Izi Nichols Performing Arts Scholarship, which Halper said is a cause close to Sweeney’s heart. Nichols, an Antrim resident who died in 2005, was a legendary music teacher in the area for more than 25 years. She also wrote and directed shows for the community and was playing piano for The New Hampshire Dance Institute right up until her death. The scholarship has been awarded annually for seven years to a deserving ConVal student (or in some cases, students) intending to pursue a career in the performing arts.
“Broadway Magic” will be presented in the Lucy Hurlin Theatre tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Reservations can be made by calling 924-3869 (select #2 for the main office.)
Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.