2016, blog, debbie, myblog, october, theatre

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite musicals. It was one of the first musicals I was exposed to as a kid and I just wore out the soundtrack, listening to it over and over. 
Now, I have most of the songs memorized and even the movie dialogue committed to memory. 
I’ve lived in Columbus for so long and never been to Shadowbox Live. So, when I saw Little Shop of Horrors was coming to Shadowbox Live, I was stoked. 
My positive experience with Shadowbox Live started before I even arrived. I needed to exchange tickets that I’d bought online for the 2pm show to the 7pm show. I went out of town Saturday and worried I wouldn’t be back in time on Sunday for the 2pm show. 
When I called Shadowbox, it was a painless process to get the tickets exchanged. I was worried this exchange wouldn’t even be possible but it was not big deal. What a relief.
When my mom and I arrived, the staff was very knowledgeable and professional in directing us to our seats. Our waiter was very friendly. It’s pretty unique how the waitstaff is part of the production. It was a bit weird to see them with all their stage makeup on and wait for our checks after the show was over. 
This Little Shop of Horrors was the best production I’ve ever seen! The actors and actresses were so engrossed in their characters. Their facial expressions and movements were hilarious. For example, Audrey would stand in the doorway of the flower shop and make a dramatic face after saying an important line. They made it into a fun musical and didn’t take it too seriously, which is perfect. 
You could tell they were having fun on stage and it just radiated off them. 
The live band was phenomenal. They have found some of Columbus’ most talented musicians and performers.
 I can totally see why The Dispatch gave the show such a favorable review. 
I can’t wait to go back to Shadowbox again and I’d strongly recommend seeing a show there.
Seymour, the dentist, and Audrey 
2015, april, play, snow white, theatre, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

‘Snow White’ is North’s first children’s play

Wednesday April 15, 2015 12:46 PM

The Westerville North Theatre Department this week is presenting its first children’s theater show, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Showtimes are set for 7 p.m. today and Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16-18.
The play is not just the 1938 Disney movie performed on stage, but rather it is a comedic interpretation of the well known fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, said director Kim Mollohan.
The show was adapted by William Goldsmith, artistic director of Columbus Children’s Theatre and Mollohan.
“Bill and I are great friends. Originally, the script was written for a touring group of four, but he gave me permission to rewrite the script to expand the cast up to 12,” Mollohan said.
The show does include many of the original characters; however, the dwarfs’ names have been changed to avoid Disney copyright infringement.
For example, instead of Doc, Happy and Dopey the audience will meet “Bo-Bo,” “Be-Be,” and “Tu-Tu.”
In some scenes, the students “break the fourth wall” by directly interacting with the audience or breaking out of character.
“It’s a nice deviation from previous plays we’ve done and this way, each show is different every night,” said senior Sarah Bright, who plays Snow White.
In one scene, characters start to sing a song from the Disney movie but senior Dalton Reyburn, who plays Bo-Bo the dwarf, interrupts the song and tells them they are violating Disney copyright laws.
Since the show is North’s first children’s show, the actors needed to learn how to perform for younger audiences.
“With children, everything needs to be constantly fun and more animated in order to hold their attention,” said senior Emma Dumford, who plays the dwarf Be-Be. “We are incorporating a lot of audience participation, kind of like in Dora the Explorer, where every time we say the word ‘forest,’ the audience makes bird noises.”
Audience members even will have the opportunity to participate on stage, if they are lucky enough to be selected to star in the role of the “handsome prince.”
The previous theater production at North, Hello Dolly!, ended in mid March, and with state testing and spring break, the cast found it challenging to pull together a new show so quickly.
“We had a lot of long nights of rehearsals, like sometimes where we would stay until 9 p.m. and we had to do most of the memorization on our own,” Bright said.
Mollohan said the show is fun for the whole family and great for all ages.
“It’s a really funny show. During our first read-through of the script, the cast was constantly laughing,” she said. “I think fans of the Snow White story will appreciate our modern take on the classic.”
As an added bonus, a “Dine with the Dwarfs” will take place on Saturday before the 2 p.m. matinee.
“This is a great opportunity to get to know the dwarfs,” said Mollohan.
The cost of “Dine with the Dwarfs” is $5 per person, which includes lunch and photo opportunities before the show. Reserve your seat by emailing vestal@denison.edu by Thursday, April 16.
For Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs general admission tickets are $6. For additional ticket information, contact: birtchea@westerville. k12.oh.us.
2015, march, theatre, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

North presents showcase ‘Hello Dolly!’

119 students involved in ‘good ol’ classic’ musical

Wednesday March 11, 2015 11:57 AM
The Westerville North High School Theatre and Music Departments will say “hello” to spring with the musical Hello, Dolly!
Junior Taylor Crumrine stars as Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi
in Westerville North’s production of Hello, Dolly!

The show will be performed at 7 p.m. today through Saturday, March 12-14, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15 in the auditorium of the school, 950 County Line Road.

Director Kimberly Mollohan said she chose Hello, Dolly! because North has not recently done a “good ol’ classic” and for personal reasons.
“When I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me the song, Hello, Dolly! and so it has been a favorite of mine since childhood. I felt that this year we had a wealth of talent that could play any of the roles,” she said.
Some of those roles were filled by students who might not have usually auditioned for a musical.
“We needed some men with athletic capabilities for the dance numbers and so I approached the football team (to see) if they would like to do a little bit of ‘alternative conditioning.’ Five of them agreed to join our happy team and we’re very happy to have such a unique addition to our cast.”
Between the cast, crew and orchestra, 119 students are involved in the production.

Hello Dolly at Westerville North
Rehearsing in the winter proved to be a challenge for the cast because snow days cut into rehearsal time and several students came down with the flu or strep throat.
“But, now we are back in full voice and we’re ready to go. We want to pack the house on opening night,” she said.
Hello, Dolly! is the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a middle-aged widow who also is a meddling matchmaker and life-loving woman.
Set at the turn of the 20th century in New York, the rousing musical follows Dolly’s adventures as she arranges romantic matches for her clients and, most importantly, a match for herself.
The lead role, Dolly, is played by junior Taylor Crumrine. She said the show is a vocal challenge.
“We’ve been working in vocal classes multiple times a week. Our vocal coach really pushed us to be the best we could be,” she said.
Crumrine said before this role, her biggest part in a musical was 20 lines split over two scenes.
“It’s a bit nerve-racking being the lead,” she said. “It helps knowing that the company that’s around me is so supportive. We all push each other to be better.”
Kevin C. Vestal, a senior, is playing Cornelius Hackl, chief store clerk for Horace Vandergelder.
Vestal said Put On Your Sunday Clothes is his favorite song in the musical because of how electric it is.
“We create a train out of human bodies and it’s quite an impressive feat. It’s also a very vocally powerful number because the entire cast is in it. You’re going to hear a strong wall of sound,” he said.
Vestal said he found the romance in his role bit challenging.
“I’m so used to being the goofball. But in this show, I have to be very tender. It’s important to find a balance between the two.”
Not only is the musical romantic, but it’s also “hilarious,” according to senior Dalton Reyburn, who plays Horace Vandergelder.
“It’s like a romantic comedy where a lot of the humor comes from the situations everyone finds themselves in when they are around Dolly,” he said.
Mollohan said the show has a little bit of everything and that it’s an endearing story because in essence it’s all about love.
“It is a perfect night of enjoyment. I hope that audience members hum a tune out the auditorium door, and when the dance numbers happen, they are tapping their toes. It’s a feel-good musical about the human spirit and love.”
Tickets are $10 and all seats are reserved. Tickets can be purchased online at westervillenorth.com or at the school during lunch periods (10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.) through Friday, March 13. For additional ticket information, e-mail Amy Birtcher at BirtcheA@westerville.k12.oh.us.
2014, debbiegillum, denison, review, theatre, writing

Little opera gets big crowd

The DenisonianFebruary 4, 2014Arts and Life
By Debbie Gillum, News Editor Emeritus
Opera singing pirates happily pillaged and plundered Denison’s theatre this weekend.
The Singer’s Theatre Workshop performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” on Jan. 31 and Feb 1. at 8 p.m. in Burke Recital Hal. It was an operetta which means “little opera.”
The operetta started with everyone and their cousin coming onstage as pirates. The humor began instantly when Ruth, Frederic’s nurse (Laura Wilson), admitted that she had meant for Frederic to be an apprentice to a pilot but there was a miscommunication so now he was a pirate. Wilson had a brilliant accent, melodic voice and a strong stage presence.
General Stanley’s daughters took the stage next and did a Mary Poppins-esque high pitched song and dance in uber feminine colorful dresses. Picture Fleur Delacour and her friends from Harry Potter and you’ll get an idea for what these lovely ladies were like.
Mabel (Mary Libertini) fell in love with Frederic (Steven Hix). Libertini’s powerful soprano voice made me feel like I was at a real opera. Her voice could’ve broken glass or given a Disney Princess a run for their money. Hix did a solid job with such a large role. He is a confident singer and embraced the part.
“I am the very model of a modern Major-General,” so sang Major-General Stanley (Ben Flox) in the most famous Gilbert and Sullivan song. I think Flox may have been born to play such a role. He was a crowd favorite.
Another stage-stealer was The Pirate King (Chris Morriss) who continued his tradition of excelling in Denison theatre productions. He was very commanding on stage, had an impressive voice and was always in character.
In Act II, the constabulary performed a cute Tweedle-Dee-and-Tweedle-Dum-esque song and dance. I found the childish bumbling actions to be really funny. The Sergeant of Police (Will Blount) was especially entertaining because of his subtle but hilarious facial expressions.
The audience also realized that because Frederic’s birthday is February 29, he is actually only five years old instead of 21. The humor never stops. Since Frederic’s apprenticeship to the pirates ends on his 21rst birthday, it is still his “duty” to be a pirate.
My only quarrel with the “Pirates” was that at times I found the musical hard to understand. I couldn’t make out what people were saying or singing and I didn’t know what was going on.  It was a very fast-moving play with a lot of people on stage at once.
Overall, the costumes, props, sets and pit orchestra were amazing. It all came together really nicely, earning a standing ovation.
I’m always amazed at how hard my classmates and fellow Denison students work to put on such a great musical, on top of their usual classwork. Their passion for theatre and music blossomed through in their performance.
Dylan Dyer, a senior cinema and Spanish double major from Athens, Ohio, went to see the play because she was familiar with the play.
“I think I will enjoy it. I haven’t seen it before but I know half the cast.” After the play, Dyer said she was impressed by the play and liked it.
Singers Theatre Workshop continues their tradition of wowing audiences by putting on such high-quality (and free) productions for Denison and Granville.

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