Audiences Give The Addams Family Two Snaps Up

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Apr 082018

Addams Family, The Musical opened at Amity this week and so far, audiences are loving it – at least from comments posted on Facebook and what I observed last night.

Just about everyone was talking about the most lovable character, “Uncle Fester” played by Sophomore Martin Gnidula.

“I can’t believe he’s just a sophomore,” one man said.

“That means he’ll be around for two more years,” someone responded.

“I think this is his first play,” said another as she flipped through the program book.

Lilli Querker, “Pugsley” also got some attention, not only for her voice and performance, but one young girl turned to her mom and said, “I KNEW he was a girl!”

Out in the lobby, a man said, “I can’t imagine what they look like without their stage makeup.”

I wanted to say, go to Orange Live, they did a feature with side by side photos of the lead actors. But I didn’t.

During the show, there were audible gasps when Emily Kilian, “Wednesday” sang. “Wow, she’s so good!”

Ben Kemp, “Lurch” got a lot of laughs with his low growls, moans – whatever you want to call them. He must have practiced endlessly, because, if you watched Orange Live’s meet the Addams Family video, you’ll notice that his speaking voice is not terribly low.

Harrison Paek “Gomez” and Ali Ashworth “Morticia” received equal raves for their performances. Paek being compared to Raul Julia and Ashworth to Angelica Houston.

And Maren Westgard’s “Grammama” was so weird and much more popular with this audience than the television character ever was with all of us baby boomers back in the day.

The conversations were all over the place as we exited the theater.

“So, the boyfriend was the director’s son?”

“Ya, he was the little kid in Tarzan, too, remember?”

Even the lighting left people in awe. “Did the students do the lighting too?”

“Some older guy does it every year and the kids work with him I think.”

“Well, it was amazing. They did a great job.”

“They always do. It’s like Broadway.”

Orange Live will have MORE on this play and audience reaction next week. 


This Week’s Amity Varsity Sports Schedule – Dictated By The Weather Of Course

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Apr 082018

Following is the Varsity Sports Schedule for the week of April 8-14

This schedule is subject to change in the event of rain or snow.

Sunday, April 8

Girls Tennis vs. Guilford HOME – Amity High School Tennis Courts 12:30 p.m.

Monday, April 9

Girls Tennis vs. Glastonbury HOME – Amity High School Tennis Courts 2:45 p.m.

Baseball vs. Fairfield Prep AWAY – Alumni Diamond, Fairfield University 3:45 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs. Cheshire HOME – Amity High School Tennis Courts 4:30 p.m.

Softball v. Fitch AWAY – Washington Park 4:00 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs. Masuk HOME – Paul D. Mengold Gym at Amity High School 5:15 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse vs. Daniel Hand AWAY – Surf Club 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 10

Girls Golf vs. St. Paul Catholic Away – Chippanee Golf Club 3:00 p.m.

Boys Outdoor Track vs. Lyman Hall HOME – Amity Regional High School Track 3:45 p.m.

Girls Outdoor Track vs. Lyman Hall HOME – Amity Regional High School Track 3:45 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs. Daniel Hand HOME – Amity High School Tennis Courts 3:45 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs. Daniel Hand HOME – Amity High School – Field # 3  3:45 p.m.

Girls Tennis vs. Lauralton Hall AWAY 3:45 p.m.

Softball vs. East Haven AWAY – East Haven High School 4:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 11

Boys Golf vs. Daniel Hand AWAY – Madison Country Club 2:30 p.m.

Baseball vs. Xavier HOME – John Janenda Baseball Field @ Amity HS 3:45 p.m.

Softball v. Lauralton Hall HOME – Amity High School Softball Field (Field #6) 4:15 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs. Xavier AWAY – Xavier H.S. 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 12

Boys Golf vs. Notre Dame-West Haven AWAY – Racebrook CC 2:45 p.m.

Girls Golf vs. Sacred Heart Academy AWAY – Great River C.C. 3:00 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs. Fairfield Prep AWAY – Walsh Athletic Center Courts, Fairfield University 3:45 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs. West Haven AWAY – Ken Strong Stadium 7:00 p.m.

Friday, April 13

Softball vs. Glastonbury HOME – Amity High School Softball Field (Field #6) 4:00 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs. Cheshire AWAY – Cheshire High – West Gym 6:00 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse vs. Branford AWAY – Branford High School-Turf Field 7:00 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs. North Haven AWAY – North Haven Turf Field 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 14

Baseball vs. Shelton AWAY – Shelton High School Baseball Field 1:00 p.m.

Matthew Dicks Will Present Two Storytelling Master Classes At Amity This Week

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Apr 082018

Connecticut author and storyteller, Matthew Dicks, will visit Amity Regional High School this week to present two master classes in the art of storytelling.

Matthew Dicks is the author of several novels including Something Missing, Unexpectedly Milo, and The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, and the upcoming Story-worthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling. His book, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, was nominated for a Connecticut Nutmeg Award. He has performed as a storyteller around the country and has won the Moth StorySLAM more than twenty times.

Matthew will speak to students from Amity’s English Language Arts classes involved in creative writing and literary analysis and will discuss the process for creating written and oral narratives. Students who have prepared stories will have the opportunity to perform and receive feedback from this seasoned storyteller. At the end of the school day a Storytelling Slam, open to the entire student body, will be held.

The event will be hosted by Amity librarians, Robert Musco and Victoria Hulse, and made possible by the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation. More information about the Foundation’s mission and work can be found at jamiehulleyartsfund.org.

Becoming An Addams — The Kennedys Always Have A Vision

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Apr 062018

When I first met the cast of the Amity Spring Musical “The Addams Family” I was charmed by the primary characters sunny personalities, but to be honest I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they would make little Lilli Querker look like a believable chubby Pugsley Addams.


Move forward to the dress rehearsal. If I hadn’t met her ahead of time, I never would have known that Pugsley was the same petite little girl who portrayed Little Red Riding Hood in “Into The Woods” a couple of years ago. Why? Well, the magic of Andrea Kennedy’s makeup brushes, a well-fitted wig, a great costume team, oh, and of course, Querker’s acting ability.

If You Would Like To Meet the Addams Family and their Butler Lurch, Watch this Video  (Martin Gnidula is incorrectly identified as Morgan in the video)



You will absolutely fall in love with the sweet and quirky Uncle Fester. Martin Gnidula was willing to shave his head for the role but Kennedy told him they would work around it. His songs are just precious and don’t be surprised if you leave the theater singing “La la la la la la etc.”

He may have the most physical part of the entire cast always moving around, very high energy.

He’s the perfect combination of Jackie Coogan from the tv series and Christopher Lloyd from the movies. So good!





Type cast as yet another Gramma, Maren Westgard is just good at it, after all this is the third time she’s portrayed a grandmother in an Amity play.

In this role she is creepy and she’s kooky, mysterious and spooky.

Her hair is a bit out of control, but Grammama Addams is always there for her family.





Remember Ted Cassidy from the original Addams Family tv show? Well, Ben Kemp doesn’t — when he was cast as Lurch he’d never seen the iconic television series, so he was told to go home and do his homework — Watch old episodes of the Addams Family and pick up on some of the little things that made Lurch recognizable to the masses.

I guess he studied because, during the dress rehearsal, I heard him give a loud growl-moan.  Fun stuff.





The bubbly Emily Kilian can play just about anyone. In this musical, she is Wednesday Addams.

Unlike the quiet Lisa Loring from the original tv show, Kilian is more like the big screen Wednesday, played by Christina Ricci.





We’ve seen Harrison Paek in a few Amity plays and musicals.

He embraces the role of Gomez, the kind family man who only wants everyone to be happy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Paek brings a sense of fun that the late great John Astin and the late Raul Julia, did before him. He adds a funky little accent that may make you giggle – or swoon.





Funloving Ali Ashworth can turn the bubbly off in the snap-snap of two fingers.

Her expressionless Morticia is spot on. But under that serious shell, she has a heart of gold. she loves her family and wants only the best for everyone.



So there they are Amity’s Addams Family in and out of costume and makeup. Who would you walk by at an after party without recognizing them?

The makeup room is a flurry of organized chaos before the show, but Andrea Kennedy’s talented makeup artists get the job done, one character at a time. Great Job!

If you have tickets to the Addams Family, enjoy the show! If you were there on opening night, what did you think?



Boys Lacrosse: WOW, Hughes Leads Amity to Victory Over West Haven

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Apr 052018

LAX Coach Brandon Pepe

The Amity Spartans Boys Lacrosse team was on the road in West Haven for its season opener on Thursday, April 5, for a game against the Blue Devils.

The Amity team — which includes many members of the amazing 2017-18 Ice Hockey team which went all the way to the state quarterfinal game — wasted no time at all in showing who was in charge, gaining two goals each in the first and second quarters.

Score at the half, 4-0 Amity.

The Spartans continued their excellent teamwork into the third quarter with four goals to West Haven’s one.

Third quarter score, 8-1 Amity.

There was much of the same in the final quarter with Amity scoring an additional four goals to the Blue Devil’s two.

Spartans Win this one 12-3.

Amity: Colin Hughes 4g, 5a; Luke Smith 2g, 1a; Adam Cusano 1g, 1a; Matt Weidenfeller 1g, 1a; Jake Silliman 2a; Simon Flaherty 1g; Jason Perrotti 1g; Chris Bierezoweic 1g; Ed Martino 1g; Jacob Lettick 1a.
West Haven: Nick Massaro 1g, 1a; Nico Kyle 1g; Kevin Moriarty 1g.
Goalies: A – Dane Walsh 9 saves; WH – Kevin Moriarty 26 saves
RECORDS: Amity 1-0; WH 0-1.
NOTE: g = goal; a = assist

Meet The Amity Boys Lacrosse Team

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Apr 052018

(2017 file photo)

The Amity Boys Lacrosse Team enjoyed an excellent season opener on Thursday, April 5 with a 12-3 victory over West Haven.

Coach Brandon Pepe is blessed to have a lot of excellent athletes on his team, including many from the awesome Amity Ice Hockey Team, which made it all the way to the state quarterfinal game.

There is plenty of senior talent on this year’s team.

This year’s Varsity LAX players are – shown Seniors to Freshmen:

Seniors: Michael Dimatteo (#3), Adam Cusano (#4), Jacob Silliman (#6), Luigi Luciani (#8), Luke Smith (#10), Ryan Hemstock (#14), Christopher Bierezowiec (#16), Michael Miller (#18), Matthew Weidenfeller (#22), John Benanto (#23), Brian Curtin (#24), Adam Ammar (#25), Michael Allen (#29), Dane Walsh (#30).

Juniors: Colin Hughes (#2), Harry Brochinsky (#5), Jacob Lettick (#7), Jason Perrotti (#11), Benjamin Fucci (#12), Harrison Blume (#20), Akshay Mehta (#21).

Sophomores: Simon Flaherty (#1), Aiden Hebert (#13), Andrew Gnidula (#15), Jamie Genovese (#17), Edward Martino (#27), Dominic Rendero (#28).

Freshmen: Ryan Buda (#9).


UPDATE: Dumais To Be Executive Director of C.E.S.

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Apr 052018

Dr. Charles “Chip” Dumais will become Executive Director of C.E.S. (Cooperative Educational Services) when Dr. Evan Pitkoff retires at the end of this school year after 11 years leading the agency. Dumais is currently superintendent of the Amity Regional School District No. 5 in Woodbridge, where he has been since 2014. His appointment to the position was approved by the C.E.S Representative Council on Thursday afternoon in Trumbull.

Dumais, who has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics, started his education career teaching science at Haddam-Killingworth High School in Higganum. He also taught physics and calculus, chaired a science department, served as an assistant principal in Westport, and was Newtown High School’s principal before taking the Amity superintendent position.

Dumais earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University, a certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Executive Leadership from the University of Connecticut, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. He was also once a participant in the Aspiring Superintendent program offered by C.E.S.

He co-chairs the Technology Committee of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, serves as a superintendent consultant to the Connecticut Association of Schools Board of Directors and is an active member of several regional and national organizations, including the Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology.

The nationwide search for the new Executive Director was facilitated by C.E.S. Executive Searches consultants. Dumais was chosen out of a pool of 18 applicants from seven states.

Orange First Selectman Jim Zeoli said, “I like Chip, I think he did a hell of a job for Amity. I’ll miss him very much.”

UNH Offers Free GenCyber Security and Forensics Camp for Teens

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Apr 052018

High School students, here’s an awesome opportunity for you! For the second consecutive year, the University of New Haven’s Tagliatela College of Engineering is offering Connecticut’s only GenCyber security and forensics camp for high school students, the “GenCyber Agent Academy.”

The GenCyber Agent Academy, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, is offered to 20 girls and 20 boys free of charge. The students must be entering ninth through 12th grade in the fall.

The camp will take place on the campus of the University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, from July 24 to 29 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

Full-time faculty in the University of New Haven’s Cyber Forensics Laboratory will teach the program. The group’s work exposing flaws in various phone apps has been featured worldwide.

To be considered for the camperships, students must write a 500-word essay about why they want to attend the camp and must have a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Don’t delayApplications to the CyberGen Agent Academy are due by May 15.

No previous experience in computing is necessary. Campers will be provided with different levels of training based on the students’ experience.

“At the University of New Haven’s Tagliatela College of Engineering, we embrace teaching cybersecurity concepts starting at a young age,” said Ibrahim Baggili, the camp director, and the project’s principle investigator. “We are passionate about involving underrepresented minority students in this effort and teaching skills to the future generation of the cybersecurity workforce that will protect our nation.”

The camp is a first chance for teens to look at cybersecurity and consider working toward a career in a job market that has one million job openings this year.

The camp will be supported by the lead instructor Liberty Page, a computer science instructor at the University with many years of experience in teaching science in Connecticut public schools, and Frank Breitinger, assistant professor of computer science, and the University’s hacking team mentor.

Activities at the camp will include an introduction to Python programming, cyber forensics, virtual reality, network defense and hacking concepts, investigating drones, and learning from experts in the field about their careers and their jobs. Students will also participate in a cyber competition and a scavenger hunt.

Speakers will also discuss what is necessary for a career in cybersecurity and forensics and how to apply to colleges.

Participation in the camp includes three meals a day. Funding for transportation is also available.

Apr 052018

Amity Supt. Chip Dumais

This Just In: Amity Supt. Chip Dumais is leaving Amity for another job.

We will have more information as it becomes available.

Woodbridge Homicide Prompts Lockdowns (With Update)

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Apr 042018


As earlier reported, at approximately 9:58 this morning Woodbridge Police were directed to a body lying in the roadway on Rimmon Road in the area between Deer Run Road and Robin Road

Responding personnel found a male victim who was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The body has been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who will make a determination as to victim’s positive identification and the exact cause of death.

The investigation, being conducted by the Woodbridge Police Department with the assistance of the CT State Police Central District Major Crime Unit, is ongoing and active.

At this time there is no immediate threat to residents. Rimmon Road has since reopened.


Woodbridge Police are currently conducting a homicide investigation.

At approximately 9:58 this morning, a body was found lying in the roadway on Rimmon Road in the area between Deer Run and Robin Road, Woodbridge, CT.

For a brief time, schools and Town Offices in the area were alerted to shelter in place until the area was deemed safe. Subsequently, the shelter in place has been lifted.

Woodbridge Police Detectives are currently conducting an active investigation with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad and the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office.

Rimmon Road will be closed for several more hours.

We will update you further as the investigation progresses.