May 30, 2013 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Hot on the heels of a Gold-Rated performance at the recent Oneida Jazz Festival, the Liverpool High School Jazz Ensemble has a busy week coming up.
At 7 p.m. Friday, May 31, the student musicians present their 16th annual Jumpin’ Jazz Jam featuring the Manhattan-based DIVA Jazz Orchestra, at the high-school auditorium at 4338 Wetzel Road. Then, at 7 p.m. Monday, June 3, they make their annual appearance to kick off the Liverpool Is The Place summer concert series at Johnson Park.
Prior to DIVA’s set on Friday, the LHS Stage Band performs under the direction of Steve Salem and the LHS Jazz Ensemble performs a set conducted by Jim Dumas.
Led by swinging Sherri Miracle-Bern on the drumset, DIVA is a15-piece all-female big band with a penchant for jazzing up pop tunes such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” and “What the World Needs Now.” The orchestra will likely showcase tunes from its most recent disc, “Johnny Mandel: The Man and his Music,” including songs such as “The Shadow of Your Smile.”
Admission to Friday’s concert costs $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors; 453-1500, ext. 4026.
The Johnson Park concert on Monday is free.
The LHS Jazz Ensemble also looks forward to showcasing at the 31st annual Syracuse Jazz Fest at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at Jamesville Beach Park; syracusejazzfest.com.
Jazz singer Anna Vogel, who lives in Liverpool, hosts a regular Thursday-evening jazz session at The Carnegie Cafe in the Maplewood Inn, 400 Seventh North St., near the corner of Buckley Road. Anna’s band, which always features some of the most talented musicians in the area, will perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is free; 451-1511. Anna sings a scintillating version of “The Boy from Ipanema.”
Penned by the late British character actor Derek Benfield, “First Things First” is a comedy now being staged by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild.
The play’s “hero” is a man whose wife has apparently died in a tragic accident. Six months later, however, he weds a new wife without ever bothering to tell her about his previous marriage.
When the first wife suddenly reappears, confusion, collusion and prevarication preoccupy the characters as the audience chuckles at the way one lie invariably leads to another and another.
Jon Wright, BTG’s multi-purpose everyman, plays Pete, the newlywed widower, and Wright energetically expresses Pete’s obsession for obfuscation. Patrick Bridenbaker portrays Pete’s best buddy, George, who’s involuntarily drawn into a series of fake relationships. The ensuing chaos leaves Bridenbaker’s character constantly confounded, and his befuddled double-takes draw the play’s biggest laughs.
Heather Jensen appears as Pete’s new wife, Sarah, who also resorts to lying and scheming when it serves her purposes. Jensen’s got personality plus and is a natural as the woman scorned, despite the plot’s silly trappings. A versatile Denise Ballou plays Sarah’s mom, Margot, a stereotypical mother-in-law from hell who always suspects the worst from poor Pete.
BTG newcomer Tammy Wilkinson portrays Jessica, Pete’s first wife thought to have been killed in a mountaineering mishap in the Himalayas. A vivacious henna-haired honey, Wilkinson’s Jessica is part ditz and part dynamo. She claims amnesia, but by the time she makes her entrance the audience knows better than to believe it.
Pete, of course, avoids admitting to her that he’s remarried, but he also avoids her persistent advances. A human deus ex machina, a California dude named Alan, appears toward the end of Act 2 to either complicate things or to straighten them out, depending on your point of view. Played by tall and handsome Michael Callahan, Alan declares undying love for Jessica despite his history of West Coast dalliances.
“First Things First” ends happily but not before Denise Ballou turns in an utterly convincing drunk scene which takes the play out on a hilarious high note.
“First Things First,” directed by Jon Barden and produced by Jay Burris, continues at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., in B’ville, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $13 for students; 877-8465; baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.
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