Jul 28, 2010 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Pick the show, then the players. This is the order Drew Deapo had grown accustomed to after three years of directing the Jordan-Elbridge Community Theatre summer shows and six years as technical director for productions at JE High School.
For this year’s production of “A Broadway Celebration,” the selection process was just the opposite.
“Once we heard everyone audition, then we put the show together,” Deapo said. Songs were chosen based on the talent, of which Deapo said there was no shortage.
“We’re really fortunate to have the amount of talent that we have on board with us,” Deapo said. “And we’re really lucky, too, because we have some recent high school graduates who just became eligible to perform with us.”
2010 graduates from Jordan-Elbridge acting in the show include Elliot Kline, Kyle Alpha, Matthew Sullivan, Briana Duger, Samantha Lewis and Melanie Zehner.
Deapo is joined by his wife, Denise, the show’s production coordinator. Denise is a music teacher at Jordan-Elbridge High School where she has directed over 35 productions.
Ramsdell Middle School music teacher Maria Hare is the show’s pit band director and Jason Furney is the technical director. Costumers for the show are Joan Hunter and Becky O’Hara.
A Broadway Celebration features songs from over 24 musicals, including Ragtime, Wicked, Chicago and Phantom of the Opera. Arrangements were done by Alex Graham, an adjunct professor of music composition at Syracuse University.
To teach all those songs to the cast, JE Community Theatre brought in a couple of vocal directors with years of experience between them. Dan Williams accompanies choral groups at JE High School and gives private voice lessons. He recently served as vocal director for Fabius Pompey’s spring production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” Bridget Moriarty is an adjunct professor of voice at Syracuse University and Oswego State.
Actors come from all over CNY to take part in the community theater production, including Auburn, Cato, Syracuse, Cicero, and even as far Fulton.
Kara Howard, of Fulton, recently graduated from Cortland with a degree in musical theater. She’ll be singing “When the Earth Stops Turning”, a song from an off-Broadway show called Elegies. This is one of a few songs audience members might not recognize, though Deapo says there will be a good mix of familiar and less familiar tunes.
The variety was partly influenced by copyright laws that prevent producers of shows from featuring more than three songs from one musical.
“It doesn’t follow a specific artist or a specific genres,” Deapo said. “It does the whole gambit of Broadway Theater.”
Why the new setup?
The JE Community Theatre has been around for four summers and its first three shows were full-length musicals performed on the JE High School stage. The theater group started with a notably challenging one, Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” and moved on to “The Secret Garden” and “South Pacific.” Summer renovations to the high school forced the theatre group to improvise.
“Usually we do a big well known musical, but we had to scale that down a bit because of the renovations,” Deapo said.
The Broadway revue style, chosen to adjust to the elementary school’s auditorium, has allowed JE Community Theatre to showcase more talent from around the area; there are 10 focused leads and they all sing a solo or duet.
The move to Elbridge Elementary has also inspired a special treat. Included in the price of admission is dessert provided by Tabatha’s Family Tree Restaurant of Baldwinsville, as well as beverages, served at intermission.
The July 29,30 and 31 productions of “A Broadway Celebration” begin at 7 p.m. at Elbridge Elementary located on Route 5 in Elbridge. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance by calling 315-689-8500 (ext. 1700) or at the door on the night of the performance. The Jordan Elbridge Community Theatre is produced through the town of Elbridge.
Kyle Alpha, (Jordan), Renee Cardinale (Cato), Julie Coggiola (Liverpool), Denise Deapo (Liverpool), Nicholas Deapo (Liverpool), Briana Duger (Jordan), Alex Graham (Syracuse, NY), Jake Hare (Elbridge), Margie Hotchkiss (Elbridge NY), Kara Howard (Fulton, NY), Elliot Kline (Jordan), Joanna Kufs (Auburn), Samantha Lewis (Elbridge), Tallon Larham (Liverpool), Bridget Moriarty (Syracuse) , John Noviasky (Jordan), Lisa Noviasky (Jordan), Alec Richardson (Liverpool), Max Richardson (Liverpool), Jackie Schneider-Revette (Clay), Matthew Sullivan (Elbridge), Dan Williams (Weedsport), Joyce Woodcock (Jordan), Dave Zehner (Jordan) and Melanie Zehner (Jordan)