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Kennedy Reveals This Year’s Amity Spring Musical

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Sep 082017
 

The Amity Creative Theater Department, under the direction of Rob and Andrea Kennedy, has been delighting audiences for years with its spectacular Spring Musical presentations.

In the past, we’ve seen “Rent,” “Chicago,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Les Miserables,” “Legally Blonde,” “Tarzan,” “Into the Woods,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “In the Heights” and so many others.

The choice of the musical is always a highly guarded secret, and this year, Kennedy decided to share the announcement LIVE on Facebook.

Watch the big reveal HERE

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
mysterious and spooky,
They’re all together ooky,
The Addams Family

Yes, Folks, The Addams Family will grace the Amity stage in April. As always, be smart and get your tickets the second they go on sale because they go quickly — no kidding!

 

Amity Earns 14 CT High School Musical Theater Award Nominations

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May 222017
 

Amity High School’s Production of Fiddler On The Roof earned 14 Ct High School Musical Theater Award Nominations.

This is Amity’s 8th year in the awards and its 8th consecutive year being nominated for Outstanding production of the year.

The nominations, announced today, are:

Hair and Makeup – Andrea Kennedy (and crew)

Costumes – Julie Chevan, Brenda Burt and team

Lighting – Dan Hassenmayer

Scenery – Rob Kennedy (and crew)

Sound – Tom Ivanovich

Direction – Rob  and Andrea Kennedy

Choreography – Andrea Kennedy

Music Direction – Marcia Rizzotti

Orchestra – Phil Dolan Conductor (Amity Musicians)

Chorus – Amity Theater members

Lobby -Kim Goklowski and Amity Theater Parents

Leading Actor – Tevye – Eric Greenbaum

Supporting Actress – Golde – Yuliya Faryna

Outstanding Production of the Year – Fiddler on the Roof

The show nearly swept every category, the only ones that did not receive a nomination were Ensemble Member, Featured Performer, Supporting Actor, and Lead Actress.

Congratulations to Amity, Rob and Andrea Kennedy, The actors, musicians, costumers and everyone involved in this show.

Click HERE to see all of the Nominations.

Award recipients will be announced from the stage of The Palace Theater, Waterbury, on Monday, June 5, 2017, in a stunning and entertaining black tie gala. Tickets are on sale through the Palace Theater Box office.

Mission Statement:

The CHSMTA program recognizes excellence on stage and behind the scenes. We do not believe that everyone deserves an award for “showing up.” We believe that exceptional achievement should be celebrated as beacons of inspiration and aspiration.

Amity Performing Arts Summer Camps

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May 222017
 

Robert and Andrea Kennedy of the Amity Theater Department welcome area youth to spend this summer on stage at Amity High School.  

The award-winning Amity Performing Arts department is offering a theater and orchestra camp from July 5- 28.  

This half day camp offers daily classes in acting, singing, dancing or music.

Included in the itinerary are movie days, ice cream social, games and fun!  

For information go to www.amitytheaterdepartment.com  or www.amityband.org.   

PHOTOS: Relay For Life Luminaria Ceremony

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May 212017
 

The Luminaria Ceremony at the BOW Relay For Life was quiet, respectful and reflective of lives lost and a time to honor those who are struggling with cancer.

One team, “Mild to Wild” was honored with the Bob Rauch Award as the group that embodied the spirit of the late Dr. Robert Rauch, a longtime Relay supporter and Cancer patient who passed away a few years ago.

All of the team captains, most of them Amity High School Students, collected glow sticks to distribute to their team members, then as a group of victims (or survivors) was read off — if you are here because of a parent; a child; a cousin; a neighbor; etc — snap your glow stick now.

And slowly, the entire perimeter of the track was lit up.

Members of the Amity Creative Arts Department sang, as participants walked around the track in silence and dropped their glow sticks into a luminaria bag on the ground lining the track.

Amity High School Presents “Fiddler On The Roof”

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Jan 102017
 

The Amity Theater Department under the direction of Robert Kennedy will present the classic musical “Fiddler On The Roof” in the spring.

This week Kennedy released the cast list as the young actors sat down for their first “table read.”

Following are the students and the characters they will portray in what Kennedy and his wife, Andrea call “The best musical ever.”

The cast list is in alphabetical order:

Jenna Aconfora (daughter), Ali Ashworth (Momma, Frumah Sarah), Gabby Aversa (Hodel), Sophie Benjamin (son, male wedding dancer), Talya Braverman (Chava), Karianne Canfield (mama), Caitlin Carlson (daughter, Male wedding dancer), Evan D’Onofrio (son), Michael Decesare (Russian), Alaina Dwyer (Yente), Yuliya Faryna (Golde), Simon Flaherty (son, Russian), Kayleigh Foley (mama), Brian Forbes (constable), Jeffrey Gallo (Sasha), Jamie Genovese (son, Russian), Emma Gilshannon (mama), Shane Gordon (Fydeka), Eric Greenbaum (Tevye), Sofia Halepas (daughter).

Also, Tyler Jennes (Yussel), Zach Katz (papa), Kiersten Keating (mama), Brynne Keevil (daughter), Ben Kemp (Rabbi), Emily Killian (Tzeitel), Joyce Lin (fiddler, bottle dancer), Kyle Magri (Mendel), Josiah Oakley (Nahum the begger, bottle dancer, Russian), Kelsey Paier (Shindel), Dean Pocweirz (Avram, bottle dancer), AJ Pocweirz (son), Lilli Querker (Shprintze), Ryan Rappaport (Perchik), Blythe Rets (Bielke).

And Nico Sagnelli (Mordcha), Ethan Selmon (Papa, bottle dancer), Sydney Sherrick (daughter, male wedding dancer), Nathan Shilling (Lazer Wolfe), Lily Swain (mama, male wedding dancer), Halle Syrop (daughter), Julia Vinci (daughter), Maren Westgard (daughter, grandma Tzeitel) Kayla Zamkov (mama).

Since the Kennedy’s took over, he Amity Theater Department has tackled many huge musicals including Les Miseables, Tarzan, In the Heights, Rant, Sweeney Todd, Legally Blonde and Chicago.

They chose “Fiddler on the Roof” because it is a beloved musical and their all time favorite show.

So, this spring get ready for this wonderful musical with well-known songs including: Sunrise Sunset, If I Were a Rich Man, Tradition, Matchmaker, Do You Love Me … and more.

]Fiddler on the Roof  cast list by character:

The Fiddler                                      Joyce Lin

Tevye the Dairyman     Eric Greenbaum

Golde his wife               Yuliya Faryna

His Daughters:        

Tzeitel                          Emily Kilian

Hodel                          Gabby Aversa

Chava                         Tayla Braverman

Shprintze                  Lilli Querker

Bielke                        Blythe Reis

 Yente the Matchmaker        Alaina Dwyer

Motel the Tailor                   Harrison Paek

Perchik a student                Ryan Rappaport

Lazer Wolf the Butcher       Nathan Shilling

Mordcha an Innkeeper        Nico Sagnelli

The Rabbi                             Ben Kemp

Mendel the Rabbi’s Son      Kyle Magri

Avram a Bookseller             Dean Pocweirz

Yussel the Hat Maker          Tyler Jennes

Grandma Tzeitel                  Maren Westgard

Frumah Sarah                      Ali Ashworth

The Constable                      Brian Forbes

Fydeka a Russian Soldier   Shane Gordon

Sasha his friend                   Jeffrey Gallo

Shaindel- Motel’s Mother  Kelsey Paier

Nahum the Beggar               Josiah Oakley

Rumor Soloists           Emma GilshannonKayla Zamkov, Ali Ashworth

Yente’s Boys               AJ Pocwierz, Evan D’Onofrio

Bottle Dancers:          Dean Pocwierz, Joyce Lin, Josiah Oakley, Ethan Selmon

Wedding Dancers:  Caitlin Carlson, Lily Swain, Sophie Benjamin, Syndey Sherrick

Villagers

Mamas: Lily Swain, Kayleigh Foley, Kiersten Keating, Karianne Canfield, Emma Gilshannon, Kayla Zamkov, Ali        Ashworth, Brynn Keevil

Daughters: Maren Westgard, Sydney Sherrick, Caitlin Carlson,  Halle Syrop, Julia Vinci, Sofia Halepas,  Jenna Aconfora

Sons: Josiah Oakley, Simon Flaherty, Jamie Genovese, AJ Pocwierz, Evan D’Onofrio, Sophie Benjamin

Papas                          Ethan Selmon, Zach Katz

Russian Soldiers      Josiah Oakley, Simon Flaherty, Jamie Genovese, Micheal DeCesare

                                       Dance Captain           Joyce Lin

Classic Theater Brings What Matters To The Amity Stage in December

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Nov 222016
 

Rehearsal for Our Town

Rehearsal for Our Town

The Amity High School Theater Department will present Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Our Town, on Friday December 9th 2016.

Our Town presents a timeless tale of everyday life in the fictional Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Teenagers George and Emily meet, fall in love, and marry; enduring both the joys and sorrows of everyday life. Wilder transforms their ordinary story into a poignant and captivating exploration of mortality and the wonder of living.

Our Town has been called the “Great American play by Edward Albee. Thornton Wilder was a lifelong resident of Hamden, Connecticut. Although the play takes place in New Hampshire many of the inspirations for the play come from this region of Connecticut. Woodbridge resident, Yale Professor and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies in his recent foreword to Our Town, wrote; “Indeed the play’s success across cultural borders around the world attests to its being something much greater than an American play: it is a play that captures the universal experience of being alive.”

When Our Town was first performed, America was experiencing the aftershocks of the Great Depression and living under the impending shadow of World War II. Although uncertain times and fear characterized the time period, Wilder focuses the play on the facets of the human experience, which testify to the strength, and endurance of the human spirit. The New York Times hailed the play as “beautifully evocative,” and named it “one of the finest achievements of the current stage.” Our Town cemented its place in history when Wilder was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938.

For director Rob Kennedy, Our Town’s New England setting and its message about everyday life make it an especially relevant piece for the Amity audiences. “Each visit to Grover’s Corners reveals some new facet,” Kennedy said. And while you may have seen it before or been in it in high school, Wilder himself points out that “I Love You” and “I Suffer” have been said many billions of times, and never twice the same. Kennedy hopes audiences will “watch with fresh eyes, for the first time.”

Our Town includes ACT new comer Brian Forbes as the Stage Manager who leads audiences on their journey through Grover’s Corners; Emily Kilian as Emily Webb; Harrison Paek as George Gibbs; Carrie Ann Canfield as Mrs. Webb; Eric Greenbaum as Editor Webb; Alaina Dwyer as Mrs. Gibbs; and Ryan Rattley as Doctor Gibbs. Other cast members include Lili Querker, Evan D’Onofrio, Ryan Rappaport, Maren Westgard, Shane Gordon, Jeffrey Gallo, Dean Pocwierz, Ben Kemp, Joyce Lin, Emma Ginshannon, Kelsey Paier and Kayla Zamkov.

Set design by Rob Kennedy, costumes by Julie Chevan, and lights by Dan Hassenmayer.

The Assistant Director is Yuliya Faryna and the stage managers are Jacob Okolo, Jillian Gusciora and Sophie Clemons.

The show will be presented to the Amity student body grades 8 through 12 as part of our Spartan Seminar program from December 7th through the 9th. The public performance will take place on Friday December at 8pm.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.amitytheaterdepartment.com or by calling the box office at 203- 392-2019.

Kennedy Featured Speaker at OACC Fall Program

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Sep 262016
 

Rob and Andrea Kennedy

Rob and Andrea Kennedy

The Orange Arts and Culture Council will host its Annual Fall Program on Monday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Meeting Room,at Case Memorial Library, 176 Tyler City Road, Orange.

[The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. A brief Annual Meeting will be held at 7 pm for members.]

Rob Kennedy, Amity alumnus and current theater arts teacher, director and producer for Amity Creative Theater, is the featured speaker. Some of the Amity students who had the honor this summer of being invited to Scotland to participate in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will accompany Kennedy. The students performed their show,The Third Wave at the Festival.

This is the second time Amity has been invited to attend the Festival, appearing first in 2012. The Amity Creative Theater students were chosen from more than 2,500 applicants. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place for three weeks every August in Scotland’s capital city.

Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

Amity's 2016 Fringe Festival participants

Amity’s 2016 Fringe Festival participants

When at home, Amity students perform in a new 750-seat theater which was built in 2007. A 100-seat Black Box Theater was added in 2013. The students’ level of talent and dedication to the craft has garnered many accolades. According to the theater group’s website, “The school was awarded two Moss Hart Awards from the New England Theater Conference for Best High School production in New England and 21 Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards including Best Actor in the State (John Jorge in 2010), Best Actress (Ali Kramer in 2012) and Best Overall Production (Sweeney Todd in 2013). In 2010, John Jorge also was a semi-finalist at the National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmy’s) on Broadway. The student actors also have performed at the Walt Disney World Resort in 2013 and 2015.”

In addition, OACC will present the winners of this year’s Picture This Photo Contest.

 

A New Voice Under The Friday Night Lights

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Sep 232016
 

rob kennedy announceTonight the Amity Spartans Football Team (0-2) will take on the Jonathan Law Lawmen (1-1) at 7 p.m.

Both of the past games have been well-attended and fans have kept their enthusiasm through the last play.

Amity fans have noticed something different at their home games and some haven’t been exactly pleased.

Several years ago, back when Joey Choiniere was captain of the team, his dad, former football player Ed Choiniere, took over the announcing duties in the booth when longtime announcer Stan Gedansky fell ill on the first day of the season.

Ed stayed even after his youngest son graduated, and was tinkering with the idea of returning this year, until he moved out of the Amity region. (the commute would be a killer). So, Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin went looking for a replacement and found sports fan, Amity teacher Rob Kennedy who was willing to take the seat.

On his first night, the soloist for the National Anthem and Amity Band were not in sync, the numbers on the roster did not match the players on the team, and Kennedy did not have a spotter in the booth to help ID the athletes who made a play, and the scoreboard was not working.

When Kennedy called a number and said what the player had done, fans in the stands were heard saying, “He has a name Jack@**”

Kennedy heard this, but kept going til the end and he returned last week too.

Week 2 was much different. The soloist stood in front of the band, the roster was correct, a spotter showed up and the scoreboard worked fine – so did Kennedy.

“Mr. Choiniere made it look easy,” Kennedy said. “The first week was rough, but it will get better with time.”

You may miss Ed Choiniere, but remember, Rob Kennedy stepped in at the last minute to perform in front of one of the toughest audiences in his career. He teaches all day long, then hangs around until the game and goes home about 15-16 hours after he went to work in the morning.

So Please, if he makes a mistake, remember that YOU are not perfect and you’ve made mistakes too.

He is taking time away from his family to volunteer and provide you with this important coverage.

Appreciate the fact that he cares enough to want to do it.

 

PHOTOS: Amity Musical “Into the Woods” Opens This Week

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Apr 062016
 

IMG_8962If you purchased your tickets for “Into The Woods” early, then you are fortunate. The show is nearly sold out… This weekend IS sold out and you are in for a treat.

Orange Live sat in on a technical dress rehearsal on Tuesday night. The cast is just as talented as in past years, the set pieces, lobby display and costumes are terrific.

Here are a few photos from rehearsal. Soak them in now and enjoy the show!

Note: The two princes are hysterical. 

 

Today Is The First Day Of Auditions For Amity’s Spring Musical — Amity Students Have An Advantage

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Jan 042016
 

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.50.36 PMToday and tomorrow, Amity Theater Kids will audition for roles in the Amity spring musical, “Into The Woods.”

Auditioning can be nerve-wracking for even seasoned performers, but the Amity Creative Theater students have a leg up on this one.

Back on Oct. 26, 2015, Broadway actor Rob McClure addressed the theater students who were seated in rows on the Amity stage, sounding more like a friend than a celebrity.

Here is a video from that special event

He shared personal stories of his own experiences and walked them through the way to tackle an audition.

McClure revealed that on his first audition he did not know what show he was auditioning for and decided to try out for the part of Toby (Sweeney Todd). When his turn came up, he sang “Stars” — from… Les Miserables. No, he didn’t get the part, but one hiccup didn’t stop him from achieving his dream of being on Broadway.

He said acting is playing make believe, connecting with the audience and having them empathize with you. If you get good enough at play acting you can achieve anything.

McClure said Steven Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” is the ultimate masterpiece with complicated, catchy tunes and lyrics.

He asked the students to sum up “Into The Woods” — what is the function of fairy tales in real life?

The answer — to teach a lesson.

He said Sondheim asked what do you get when a young girl puts everything she has into getting a prince? What happens after she gets prince charming? Jack  from Jack And the Beanstalk did not have a father figure in his life, and he did a lot of things he shouldn’t have.  What happens after the beanstalk falls and Jack kills the giant? The baker’s wife cheated on her husband with Prince Charming – What happens next?

“This show has so much to offer,” McClure said, “Listen to the lyrics… that’s what woods are for… or is it, ‘that’s what Would’s are for’?  It’s all about the possibilities.”

McClure had all of the kids stand and make a large circle for a warm-up exercise involving eye contact and reactions.

“Acting is reacting,” he tole them, “Everything you do is in response to something else. Your life is a constant state of reacting.”

Another lesson he taught was that eye contact is awkward and personal … the eyes are the window to the soul. Big eyeglasses hide what you’re feeling, you have to let people in.

As students took center stage to sing a few lines from a number from Into The Woods, McClure explained what the character is feeling, realizing about their situation and themselves.

With each break the students’ performances improved (see video link above).

The kids really responded to him and hung onto every word he said.

Now, 2 months after that opportunity of a lifetime, the actors should remember to make eye contact, and to rely on one another.

Before taking the stage for their auditions for “Into The Woods,” today, the actors have to think about their character’s objective, are they in a public or private place, what is their relationship to other characters and more.

We, at Orange Live wish all of the actors the best of luck in their auditions and look forward to a stellar production of Into The Woods next spring.

This full day workshop was facilitated by the Broadway Method Academy of Fairfield, CT.  The Broadway Method Academy was founded in 2014 by Amity alumni Connor Deane of Orange.  Deane is a 2010 graduate of Amity High School and of The University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.  His company offers comprehensive training in acting, singing, and dancing. Broadway Method Academy or BMA offers a variety of classes, private coaching sessions, and performance opportunities, bringing in some of Broadway’s top talents to work with students.  Their mission is to provide the essential tools for young artists to integrate acting, singing, and dancing. BMA helps to build audiences for tomorrow, to educate audiences of today, to enrich the community, and to enrich the lives of children.

Rob McClure received the 2013 Tony, Drama League, Astaire, and Outer Critics Circle Nominations, and won the Theatre World and Clive Barnes Awards for his performance as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin The Musical on Broadway. He recently starred, opposite Tony Danza, in the Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas.

A two-time Barrymore Award winner, Rob starred on Broadway as Princeton/Rod in the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q. He made his Broadway debut in the 2002 Broadway revival of I’m Not Rappaport alongside Judd Hirsch and Ben Vereen.  McClure most recently spent the summer at the MUNY in Ohio playing the Baker in Into The Woods.  Rob will be returning to Broadway in the highly anticipated revival of Noises Off starring Smash star, Megan Hilty. 

Amity partnered with the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation to bring this opportunity to Amity students.