Rob Kennedy: This Year’s Amity Theater Events

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Sep 062017

We are very excited about all the great programs we are preparing for the 2017-2018 school year.

We will start off with a bang this Saturday night, September 9, on the campus of Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts. Our talented Amity students will be performing at the annual Jamie Hulley Arts Gala.  There will be amazing silent and live auctions topped off by the dance/party 80’s band RUBIX CUBE. Tickets are available at (203) 254-4010 or by going to www.JamieHulleyArtsFund.org .

Save the Dates:

December 8th and 9th 2017 – The Laramie Project – Ten Years Later:
The sequel to our 2007 production of the same name asks;  Can a tragedy bring real change? This moving play written by the Tectonic Theater Company is about the community of Laramie Wyoming and the aftermath of the Matthew Sheppard murder ten years after he died.

Our Spring Musical will be announced soon!

We have lots more in store too!

  • Our 24 Play Festival will return
  • A student Directed musical will debut
  • Monthly Cabarets in our Black Box Theater
  • Walt Disney World Performance April 2018

Do you have young kids who are interested in Singing/ Dancing and Acting?  Read below for a great new opportunity called our ACT Mentorship Program.

Thank you once again for your support and we will see you at all our great performances this coming school year!  Happy fall!

Robert Kennedy

Amity Creative Theater

Dec 202014

215px-Tarzan_musical_Broadway_PosterAfter the gruelling process of auditioning more than 100 super talented singer/actors (and going through call backs) at Amity, the directors released the cast list for the Spring musical “Tarzan” on Friday.

The actor who is playing the lead character is Max Karsanow, who you will immediately recognize from his roles as Anthony in Sweeney Todd — the young man who wooed Johanna (Shaylen Harger); and he was the understudy for the role of Benny in last year’s “In the Heights,” which he was able to fulfill at least during one performance.

Tarzan: This is the older version of the young Tarzan. He has more friends than he used to. He has his best friends Terk and Tantor, who have each others backs. He is stronger and has enemies to challenge. But, he still wonders of what he is. Songs include: Strangers Like Me, Who Better Than Me? Reprise, You’ll Be In My Heart Reprise.

Since Amity has no young children, Ryan Kennedy will play the role of Little Tarzan: A little boy who is raised in the jungle by gorillas. He tries to fit in and wonders why he doesn’t. He notices that he isn’t exactly like all of the apes that he is around. He has a friend named Terk as well. Songs include: Who Better than Me? and I Need To Know. If the name sounds familiar, Ryan is the son of directors Robert and Andrea Kennedy.

The lovely Addie Robbins will play Jane: She adores species and specimen she hasn’t seen before which makes sense when her, her father, and Clayton their hunter/protector come to the jungle. She befriends Tarzan and comes to like him. She always has dreamed of coming to the jungle. Songs Include: Waiting For this Moment, Like No Man I’ve Ever Seen, and Strangers Like Me.

Max is Tarzan

Max is Tarzan

Josiah Oakley will play Terk: The older version of young Terk. He has more style than the younger one. Still, he is best friends with Tarzan and now Tantor the elephant. He has the rhythm of the jungle. Songs include: Son of Man, Trashin’ the Camp, Who Better than Me? Reprise.

Morgan Guadagnoli has been pegged to play Kala: A mother ape that takes Tarzan for her son. She adores him and keeps him safe. She has a special bond with him that no one can understand. She is the wife to Kerchak, the leader. Songs include: You’ll Be In My Heart, Sure As Sun Turns to Moon and You’ll Be In My Heart Reprise.

Kahari Blue is Kerchak: The strong and powerful leader of the gorilla pack. He doesn’t feel that Tarzan belongs and shuns him for awhile. Doesn’t like humans too much. He finally tells tarzan the way he feels at the end. Songs include: Sure As Sun Turns to Moon.

Jali – (Narrators): Ryan Rattley, Kevin Durkee, Ryan Rappaport, Emily Kilian, Joyce Lin and Julia Goclowski.

Caroline Burkhart is Sabor: (description from wiki) The predator of the jungle. He kills Tarzan’s real mother and father and Kala’s and Kerchak’s baby. He continues to kill and destory until Tarzan comes and ends him. Songs include: none but dances/fights.

Jacob Leibowitz is Porter:  Jane’s father. He knows many things about the jungle. He is a lot like Jane in certain areas. He has his quirks about him, too. Songs include: Like No Man I’ve Ever Seen.

Ethan Smith is Clayton:  He is the hunter that protects the Porter family on this expedition. He likes to shoot things with his rifle. He was sent to protect but he might want some things of his own. Songs include: none.

George Grotheer is Snipes: A sailor.

Ape/Animal Ensemble

Jeff Gallo, Chris Casella, David Linet, Michael Prinz, Ryan Chizmadia, Dean Pocweirz, Robert Worth, Max Seigman, Caroline Burkhart, Cynthia elone, Lauren Flaumenhaft, Sedona Trelleik, Ashlyne Gallo, Christina Genovese, Alayra Dixson, Clara Stirling, Nina Triplett, Sarah Warner, Revekah Haupt, Clara Gamsu, Karalyn Kachmar, Emily McManus, Audrey Grotheer, Rebecca Kaplan, Lauren Duhl, Kendall Dolan, Grace Blanchard, Lily Forchetti.

Expedition Crew

Nathan Stirling, Jacob Lyngdal, Eric Greenbaum

Dance Captains

Caroline Burkhart, Lauren Flaumenhaft

Play rehearsals begin next week. I for one can’t wait to see Tarzan swing across the stage next spring.

Summer Theater Arts Day Camp Now Accepting Registrations

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May 172013

Summer_Theater_Camp_logo12-300x276Have you ever wanted to be a star?

Robert and Andrea Kennedy the award winning directors that brought “Les Miserables”, “Chicago”, “Legally Blonde” and “Sweeney Todd” to the Amity High School stage, are excited to direct their 2013 Summer Production, “OnBroadway!”

This theater arts day camp is designed to teach students voice, dance, and acting skills; give them performance experience; ignite their creative spirit; build a sense of accomplishment and community; and encourage them to have fun!

Fun camp activities include; Movie Day; Improv-Olympics; Ice Cream Social, and more! The camp culminates in a full production where all the students participate. All skill levels are welcome.

If you have a love for singing, dancing and being on stage, join us for this theatrical journey.  Just bring a snack, wear comfortable clothing, (sneakers please, no sandals), and be ready to have fun!

Register online at https://amityadulted.myprogramplus.com/course/summer-2013/amity-summer-theater-camp-on-broadway

For questions regarding the camp email director Rob Kennedy at robert.kennedy@reg5.k12.ct.us

WWRS?: Rob Kennedy Talks About Sweeney Todd

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Mar 112013

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 7.48.15 PMOne parent voices concerns about the subject matter of a high school play.

One individual composes a sensationalized story leading others to think there’s a posse going after the Amity Theater Department.

Yes, Sweeney Todd murders people in his barber chair, but will the Amity Stage flow with blood? – No

Yes, People are the main ingredient in pies sold to townspeople. but will the smell of burning flesh fill the auditorium? – No

Will there be hundreds of angry people with picket signs demanding that the show NOT go on? – highly unlikely.

Robert Kennedy was summoned by the Amity Board of Education prior to its monthly meeting, and by the Superintendent at the end of the school day.

We spoke to Kennedy this afternoon to see what he had to say about his choice of musicals for Amity.

HERE is a video of his candid responses.

WWRS (what would Rob say)? Now you know.

Don’t Miss Out! Tickets On Sale Tomorrow for Amity’s Musical “Sweeney Todd”

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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.


Travel Notes: Day Two Amity Kids Tour Stratford Upon Avon

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Aug 142012

The Amity Creative Theater Students in England at Stratford Upon Avon on day two of their trip.

As we first reported on Saturday, a group of Amity Theater kids are in Europe, enroute to Scotland where they were invited to perform the play “Almost Maine” at the Fringe Festival.

On Sunday, after an overnight flight they hit the road running and saw the sights in London, including a portion of the 2012 Olympic Games Men’s Marathon.

The students are accompanied by chaperones, Director Rob Kennedy and Costume Designer Julie Chevan.

On Monday, Aug. 13, they were in Stratford Upon Avon for the entire day. They visited Shakespeare’s birthplace; his home; his daughters home; and his grave.

They took a fun acting workshop with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and saw a performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream (a very comic strange yet wonderful version in Russian with sub titles and a trick dog).

“It was another great day in the UK,” Kennedy wrote, “Just got in at midnight and up at 5 a.m. to drive to Scotland!”

Here are some of Rob Kennedy’s photos from day two of the trip:

Jun 062012


Sophia Gall "Paulette" in a memorable scene on the Palace Theater stage.

The 2012 Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards presentations at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on Monday yielded many surprises for Amity High School, including the fact that OUR “Paulette” Sophia Gall did not win Outstanding Supporting Actress, but the “Paulette” from East Lyme High School walked away with the prize.

Our dynamic chorus was beaten by Valley Regional High School’s “Titanic” cast.

But, enough sour grapes on my part, call me biased (I am) — then again, I did not see all the other shows like the adjudicators, so what do I know. Seriously! were they sleeping when Sophia was on stage?

Back to the show and what we did get.

Stage Manager Sloane Churchill did receive a trophy for Outstanding Student Achievement.

And our Amity Superintendent John Brady, who attended the show to support the Amity Creative Theater Program found his way up on stage two times.

The CHSMT organizers asked if he would present an award, and he said he was happy to do that.

Brady was surprised when Sophia Gall, whom he felt was a shoe in for the award, did not win in her category. “Not to take anything away from the girl who won, but I just think that Sophia was over the top,” he said.

Amity Supt. John Brady, accepts the President's Award.

He was even more surprised when he was called to the stage to receive his own award that evening. The recipient of the President’s Award went to Brady in recognition for his overwhelming support for the arts at Amity.

Parent Russ Adair captured the moment on video.

For Amity, the most rewarding part of the evening was when the second to the last award was announced and Amity senior Alli Kramer’s name was called.

The Palace Theater erupted in thunderous applause as everyone, including ALL of the other students from competing high schools rose to their feet for Connecticut’s number one actress in a musical.

Brady said he was ecstatic when Alli Kramer won the top prize for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role. “Having seen all of the nominees, to me, Alli was the performer who had it all — she danced, she sang, she had a presence — She had it all, and, being biased toward Amity, I think the Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards got it right by selecting Alli Kramer,” he said. “To me she was the most deserving. All the other nominees did a fantastic job, but Alli stood out.”

Alli Kramer is the Best High School Actress in CT

Alli and the amazing best actor winner, Shevance Stephens, who portrayed Coalhouse in the Regional Center for the Arts production of Ragtime, will accompany chaperone Robert Kennedy (from Amity) to New York City for a week long experience of a lifetime, training with Broadway choreographers, vocal coaches and directors with the best of the best from across the nation.

The week culminates into a performance on a Broadway stage for the National High School Musical Awards.

11 nominations – 2 wins — I can’t say the evening was a complete disappointment.