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Avon Summer Theater presents ‘The Wedding Singer’

July 11, 2016 Arts and Entertainment, Schools No Comments
Cast members of “The Wedding Singer” working with Music Director Diana Lawler l to r. Kelsey Beadle, Ryan Cullilgan, Miles Messier, A.J. Sisson, Ben Berman and Alex Simmons.

Cast members of “The Wedding Singer” working with Music Director Diana Lawler
l to r. Kelsey Beadle, Ryan Cullilgan, Miles Messier, A.J. Sisson, Ben Berman and Alex Simmons.

Submitted Release 

 This summer’s production of The Wedding Singer marks the 56th continuous summer musical presented by Avon Summer Theater.  A talented group of over 40 students from area schools, including Farmington HS, Avon HS, Canton HS, Classical Magnet School, Miss Porter’s, Kingswood Oxford, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Talcott Academy, have come together to present this fun comedy based on the hit movie and featuring 80’s-style music.

For five weeks, the group works on a summer musical, which always draws an enthusiastic audience.  Considered by many of the students to be the best part of their summer, the program not only includes evening rehearsals, but also sponsors many activities encouraging the students to form a tight community, which helps them to perform better as a company.  They watch movies, go bowling and get together after rehearsals to have a good time.  Students not only return to AST for another great summer the following year, but they form friendships which last year-round and into college, going to support each other’s school shows and other events.

The Production Team includes Doreen Cohn as Program Coordinator and Director, Terri Rowe as Choreographer, Diana Lawler as Music Director, Ken Jones and Larry “Z” Rowe as Technical Directors, Cindy Braunlich as Costume Designer, and Peggy Beauregard as Production Assistant and House Manager.

Canton High School students participating in “The Wedding Singer” l to r Alex Simmons, Kelsley Beadle, Tiegan Aiken missing from photo: musicians: Jake Tilton, Ethan Porter and Tigger Kluessendorf

Canton High School students participating in “The Wedding Singer”
l to r Alex Simmons, Kelsley Beadle, Tiegan Aiken
missing from photo: musicians: Jake Tilton, Ethan Porter and Tigger Kluessendorf

They begin choosing a show long before it is announced.  Why did they choose this particular show?  Doreen Cohn says, “It had all the components we were looking for: Many roles (large and small) for our actors, contemporary-style music, technical components that would challenge our crew, and lots of dancing.  Most of all, it’s a fun show. Our students and staff are enjoying spending the summer immersed in this production, and the audience will love it!”  Diana Lawler summarizes, “The Wedding Singer does for the 80’s what Hairspray did for the 60’s.” Some of the challenges , especially for our costumer,  are providing 20 brides dresses from the 1980’s as well as costuming our  “Las Vegas Impersonators”, Elvis, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol and Tina Turner.

Ken Jones has trained students in stagecraft for over 75 productions in the Farmington Valley area, and students return to the program year after year, just to work with him.  He enthusiastically shares everything he knows about building sets, light and sound boards and more, and his students apprentice at area theaters when the summer show is over.  Peggy Beauregard feels that the best part is watching a show come together over the five weeks.  “The kids get to know each other and take such pride in their work, both from a technical aspect and from a performance aspect.  The directors are a fantastic group to work with.  They really love what they do and bring out the best in the cast and crew.”

In addition to our onstage and technical components, the production has an orchestra of 10 adults and students  under the direction of Diana Lawler.

The musical is based on the 1998 hit movie of the same name starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.  “The Wedding Singer: the musical”  opened on Broadway in 2006 for over 280 performances and since then has continued performing on tour throughout the United States, as well as Europe, Japan, South America and  Germany.  The story revolves around Robbie, a wedding singer, and Julia, a waitress, both engaged but to the wrong people.  Fortune intervenes to help them discover each other.

The cast includes:  Miles Messier (Robbie), Ryan Culligan (George), Alex Simmons (Sammy), Erin Rinehart (Julie), Catherine MacKay (Holly), Hannah Davies (Linda),  A.J. Sisson (Glen), Kate Casner (Angie), Kelsey Beadle (Rosie) and an ensemble of dancers, singers, wedding guests and more: Nicole Asamoah, Megan Beauregard, Lara Beckius, Benjamin Berman, Molly  Ford, Matthew  Giarattana, Emma Kate Johansen, Leanne Jozef, Risa Lewis, Annika Mathias, Madeline Menendez, Christina Murphy, Rachel Nori, Tessa Panczner, Alex Ryan, Timothy Scalzo, Annabel Schwartz, Sydney Secor, Tatiana Yevin and featuring Chuck Simmons as Elvis.

Don’t miss a sneak preview of The Wedding Singer when they appear as a “flash mob” at the Avon Public Library Farmer’s Market on July 18, at 5:00!

This production is appropriate for all ages.

Performances for The Wedding Singer are July 22, 23 at 7:30 pm, and July 24 at 2:00 pm at Avon High School Auditorium, 510 West Avon Road. Doors open 30 minutes before curtain.  The show runs approximately two hours, with a 15-minute intermission. General seating tickets are $15 adult and $10 for student/senior, available at the Avon HS office beginning July 11 from 8:30-3:00, or at the door on the nights of performances.  Payable by cash or check.  (Sorry, no online or credit card ticket sales are available.)

For more information, and a synopsis of the show, please visit http://www.avonsummertheater.com

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