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Mar 282014
 

Nicole Simon and Kevin Durkee rehearse a scene from In The Heights

Nicole Simon and Nick Bottone rehearse a scene from In The Heights

In the Heights — Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, is about chasing your dreams and finding your true home. This exhilarating musical tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner coffee shop is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes and dreams, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. Come enjoy this gripping story with its incredible music and dance!

Once again Directors, Rob and Andrea Kennedy have assembled an amazing cast of talented triple threat (singer, actor, dancers) to take on the major roles in this fast moving musical with catchy songs and Latin rhythms that will have you moving in your seat.

The auditions and decisions left some students elated and others heartbroken. Andrea said there were 35 kids who were dying to get into this show who weren’t picked, so she expects the most from the cast that was chosen.

At Amity, it’s not a popularity contest when it comes to finding the right fit for each character.

During Auditions in the fall, students must give their all and show what they’ve got and each is chosen on his or her ability to portray that particular character, not whether he or she has starred in a show before.

Senior Nick Bottone of Bethany as Usnavi (You will remember him as Elle’s Boyfriend Warner in “Legally Blonde”) — Usnavi is the narrator of the play’s exposition and a major character throughout; he is the owner of a small bodega in Washington Heights. He was named after one of the first sights his parents saw when they arrived in America: a US Navy ship. He dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, the place he was born but too young to remember. Abuela Claudia, the neighborhood matriarch, “practically raised” him when his parents both died during his early childhood. He is in love with Vanessa.

Senior Shaylen Harger of Orange as Nina (You will remember her as Johanna from Sweeney Todd) — Nina Rosario is the first in her family to go to college (Stanford University), and everyone in the barrio admires her as the “one who made it out.” However, she returns home from school for the summer to reluctantly tell her parents that she has become overburdened and dropped out. She is the typical “good girl” and always got along with her parents. Now, though, she loses patience constantly over her father’s overprotectiveness and his refusal to accept Benny.

Sophomore Chris Cassella of Orange as Benny — Benny works at the dispatch of Nina’s father, Kevin. Perhaps the only character in the play who does not speak Spanish and is not Hispanic, he falls in love with Nina. He dreams of opening his own business.

Senior Chelsea Tambis of Woodbridge as Vanessa (She’s grabbed our attention  in her roles in Chicago and Legally Blonde) — Vanessa is Usnavi’s love interest who works at Daniela’s salon. She is stunningly beautiful and catches the eye of every guy in the Heights, however she takes interest in Usnavi. She lives with an alcoholic mother and dreams of getting out of the barrio and getting an apartment downtown, but cannot yet afford it.

Senior Nicole Simon of Woodbridge as Abuela Claudia (She was unforgettable in Legally Blonde “I was in the Shower,” and as the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd) — “Abuela” Claudia is the loving matriarch of the barrio who knows everybody and is like a grandmother to all (“abuela” means “grandmother” in Spanish). She is the one who looked after Usnavi when his parents died. She and her mother moved from Cuba to New York in 1943 while she was a child. She worked as a maid for several years but never earned the money for her and her mother to travel home.

Junior C.J. Spaziani of Orange as Sonny — Sonny is Usnavi’s sassy, superficially lazy, yet ambitious younger cousin who works with Usnavi in the bodega. He is typically the jokester of the barrio, but he also has an intelligent and thoughtful side that yearns for social justice.

Senior Alida Ballou of Bethany as Daniela (She was one of Elle’s BFFs in Legally Blonde and last year she was nominated for the Best Actress Award for her Role as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd) — Daniela is the outrageously dramatic owner of the salon where the neighborhood girls come to gossip. She is very bold and loud and loves to banter. [Originally played by Andrea Burns.]

Junior Kevin Durkee of Orange as Graffiti Pete (He starred as Sweeney Todd) Graffiti Pete is a graffiti artist and friend of Sonny. Usnavi believes he is a trouble-making vandal, until Pete reveals his amazing skills as an artist.

The scenery, according to Laura Adair, whose children both have graduated from Amity, is the most challenging since Legally Blonde.

After much planning, Dan Hassenmayer who finally won the best lighting award at the Ct High School Musical Theater Awards last year for Sweeney Todd, is ready to set the mood In The Heights.

The play is well on its way to being Sold Out. Russ Adair said more than 50% of the tickets had already been sold by last Wednesday.

If you are not aware of the enormous popularity of Amity’s Spring Musicals, you would be wise to check out the Amity Theater Department’s Website and get your tickets before they area all gone.

“This One Will Make You Cry,” said Rob Kennedy.

Originally  Published on: Mar 13, 2014 @ 0:26 

 

 

Mar 142014
 

Shaylen Harger and cast mates from "In The Heights" on Better Connecticut March 14.

Shaylen Harger and cast mates from “In The Heights” on Better Connecticut March 14.

This afternoon, at 3 p.m., 8 of the Amity Performing Arts students (and director Rob Kennedy) appeared on WFSB’s Better Connecticut where they performed a song from the upcoming spring musical “In The Heights.”

Click HERE to see the performance.

Shaylen Harger who plays “Nina” sang the lead and, might I add, was just perfect.

The entire group was wonderful, each time I’ve visited a rehearsal they are working so hard on every aspect of this show.

Show dates are April 4, 5, 10, 11, 12. Tickets are ONLY $17. Click HERE for the box office.

If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you’d better hurry. “In the Heights” will sell out quickly, it’s already nearly 75% filled. Thursday, April 10 has the most available seating.

Procrastination will get you nowhere!

 

 

Feb 142013
 

Get Your Tickets Early

Amity High School is pleased to announce that tickets for its spring musical production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will go on sale Friday February 15 at noon.

More humorous than the recent film version starring Johnny Depp, this production of the Tony Award winning classic musical tells the suspenseful, razor-sharp story of barber Benjamin Barker (aka Sweeney Todd), who returns to grimy 19th century London vowing to extract revenge for his false imprisonment with the help of immoral baker Mrs. Lovett. Their twisted strategy: Sweeney will murder his victims in his barber chair and Mrs. Lovett will turn them into the tastiest meat pies in London.

The Amity Creative Theater production of Sweeney Todd features a multi-talented cast of over forty Amity actors, ages 14 to 18 years old. The principal cast includes sophomore Kevin Durkee of Orange as Sweeney Todd; Junior Alida Ballou of Bethany as Mrs. Lovett; Junior Shaylen Harger of Orange as Johanna; Sophomore Max Karsanow of Woodbridge as Anthony; Junior James Ottaviano of Bethany as Judge Turpin; Sophomore Kahari Blue of Bethany as the Beadle; Senior Ted McNulty of Bethany as Pirelli; Senior Peter Charney of Bethany as Tobias and Junior Nicole Simon of Woodbridge as the Beggar Woman.

“Our talented performers seem to thrive on our raising the bar.  Sweeney Todd is the most musically demanding production we have undertaken in our twelve years directing high school students, but I feel confident that the cast and musicians will meet the vocal and dramatic challenges head on and deliver remarkable performances,” said Rob Kennedy, director and theater arts teacher at Amity.

The Sweeney Todd cast will be accompanied by an award winning thirty-piece orchestra of experienced student musicians led by conductor Phil Dolan of the Amity Music Department.

Rob Kennedy co-directs the production along with his multi-talented wife Andrea Kennedy, with musical direction by Peter Randazzo, costumes by Julie Chevan and lighting by Dan Hassenmayer. Past ACT musical productions include: Legally Blonde the Musical, Chicago, Les Miserables, Rent and Grease.

The Amity High School Theater Department has been awarded two Moss Hart Awards from the New England Theater Conference for Best High School production in New England and seven Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards.

Last year Amity was a national finalist in the American High School Theater Festival and traveled to Scotland England to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  This April the theater students along with the music students will travel to Walt Disney World to perform on a Disney stage as part of the Disney Performing Arts On Stage program.

The show takes place on the campus of Amity High School at the John J. Brady Center for the Performing Arts.  Tickets and information are available online at www.amitytheaterdepartment.com or by calling our box office at 203-397-2019.  Tickets are $17 and all seats are reserved.

Show Dates: Friday, April 5th @ 7:30 pm Saturday, April 6th @ 7:30 pm, Thursday April 11th @7:30, Friday April 12th @7:30 and Saturday April 13th @7:30.

***Although there is no strong language in this production of Sweeney Todd, it is not recommended for young children.