Get your tap shoes ready, as the Pilgrim Players present Funny Girl this weekend at the Pilgrim High School Auditorium. This production opens Friday, November 22nd at 7 p.m. followed by performances Saturday at the same time and a matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can be bought at the door for $10 for adults, and $5 for students, seniors and children under 10 years old.
Planning of this musical started in late August followed by auditions during the second week of September. Rehearsals have been held since.
Produced and directed by English teacher, Richard Denningham, choreographed by Jenna A. Tremblay, and music directed by Steaphanie Isidoro, make this event wonderful and fun for the whole family. The story is told in a series of flashbacks, taking place in New York City prior to, and following World War I. This musical tells the story of Fanny Brice, who awaits the return of her husband Nicky Arnstein from prison, and reflects on their life together.
This production also includes special appearances by Social Studies teacher Peter SanGiovanni on Friday night, Art teacher Cara McKenney on Saturday, and English teacher Kristen Dwyer on Sunday. According to Denningham, “When the play allows for a small walk-on role, the cast and crew vote for faculty, staff, or administrators to come in as guest stars. It doesn’t happen every year, but we try whenever we can.” Denningham said that production for this musical came from, “My talented choreographer, Ms. Jenna Tremblay.” He added that, “[She] suggested the show after reading the script and listening to the score, it seemed a perfect fit.”
Ticket sales are the players’ primary source of income, and according to Denningham, “Musical productions are very expensive and we are not funded by the school district.” However, through playbill advertisements and small fundraisers made throughout the school year, the program has been able to continue. Denningham said, “The show will cost more than $10,000 when all is said and done” and “We are grateful to organizations such as the Robert J. Shapiro Fund for Warwick Schools and the William C. Bowling Sr. Memorial Fund for their grants and donations. Any surplus funds are reinvested into the school.”
Denningham has been directing the Pilgrim Players since 2006 and tries to run a musical each fall before Thanksgiving, and a non-musical performance each spring at the beginning of April. “Since I took over the Pilgrim Players in 2006, we have reinvested over $47,700 primarily in permanent upgrades to the auditorium and stage space,” he said.
Lead roles are performed by Abbey Spolidoro as Fanny Brice, Jackson Bazarnick as Nick Arnstein, Brianna Callahan as Mrs. Brice, Athena Howlett as Mrs. Strakosh, Zachary Andrews as Eddie Ryan, Christian Tanguay as Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., Sadie Fox as Mrs. Meeker, Mia Caprara as Mrs. O’Malley, and Brian McKenna as Tom Keeney.
Supporting roles and stagehands include: Kayley Hollingshead as John, Connor Williams as Heckie and Snub Taylor, Andreas de Bont as Paul and the Train Announcer, Nathan Robideau as Mr. Davis and Trombone Smitty, Lucas Randall as Mr. Renaldi and Five Finer Finney, Angelia Gareau as Mrs. Nadler, a Ticket Seller, and Mrs. Winston, Emily Corbett as Mrs. Vance, a Messenger, and Pianist, Kendra Lafontaine as Benjie, and the Woman in the Window, and Julie Riccio as Joan.
Follies dancers and singers include; Mariah Hunt as Emma, Alyssa Matos as Jenny, Benjamin Passarelli as Ziegfeld Tenor, Abigail Larson as Bubbles, Kaitlyn Hooper as Maude, Sarah Whelan as Polly, Isabella Thaler as Vera, Kylie Powers as Mimsey, Jolina Phin as Cathy, and Taylor Tarvis as Jody.
The behind-the-scenes managers include; Stage Manager Sarah Corbin, Set Manager Kess Meinel, Assistant Set Manager Mary Wajada, Property Manager Julia Malyuta, Costume Managers Kayley Hollingshead, and Mariah Hunt, and Stage Director Julie Riccio.
Behind-the-scenes crew are; Stage Lighting by Jack Pine and Alexia Clark; Followspot Operators John Dean, Caitlin Erban, and Timothy Vongsena; Music Playback by Sydney Caprara; Body Microphones by Fiona Boisse and Teagan McNamara; Curtains by Rachel Kiernan; Rigging by Ray Beauchaine; Stage Technicians Keiana Cannao, Olivia Conrady, Solange DaLuz, Emily Goldman, Timothy Hourihan, Princess Johnson, and Eleanor Perry.
Costumes, Makeup and Wigs by Aiden Caruso, Abbigail Marsh, Rayna Lenartowick, and Brian McKenna. Scenic Artists are Breanna Campbell and Elizabeth Welch. The set design, construction, and poster/program design were created by Denningham. The Pilgrim Players logo was created by Abigail Nurse, and the Dance Captains include Alyssa Matos, and Taylor Tarvis.