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Editorial Continued From Page 24
Pirates of Penzance Slated At Governor Livingston
BERKELEY HEIGHTS – Governor Livingston High School’s Troupe No. 5965 of the International Thespian Society, along with the Governor Livingston Hilltop Players, are currently rehearsing for their performance of Pirates of Penzance.
The production is slated for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, March 9, 10, and 11.
On January 18, new members were inducted into the Society which requires hard work and dedication to the craft of theater.
The Society was established in 1929 by a group of college and high school teachers in Fairmount, W. Va. They named their organization for the first actor, according to legend, the Greek Thespis.
WYACT 2000 Season Continued From Page 24
village which comes into being for only one day each century.
At first taken aback by the strange dialect and 18th century costumes of the villagers, the two men and the audience come to care for Brigadoon’s inhabitants. Jeannie MacLaren, the shy bride of the day, is to be married to the boyish Charlie Dalrymple. Jeannie’s lovely sister, Fiona, becomes the object of Tommy’s affections, and Meg Brokie is a maid determined to capture the cynical, disinterested Jeff, or any lad for that matter.
The blissful occasion is tinged with gloom as Harry Beaton, Jeannie’s rejected suitor, threatens to leave Brigadoon. This desperate act would cause the end of Brigadoon forever. Confronted with the choice of remaining at the side of Fiona or returning to the unsatisfying world familiar to him, Tommy is unable to commit himself to Fiona and returns with Jeff to New York.
Restless and unhappy in the city, Tommy finally yields to the haunting memory of Fiona, and guided by the strength and faith of his love, finds his way back to Brigadoon.
Agnes De Mille’s choreography and timeless songs such as “Almost Like Being In Love,” “The Heather on the Hill,” “Come to Me, Bend to Me,” “There But for You Go I,” and the title song have made Brigadoon a favorite for many years.
Auditions for the July production will be held at Westfield Community Players, 1000 North Avenue in Westfield on Saturday, April 22, and in Newark at NJPAC on Sunday, April 30.
Callbacks will be made on Sunday, May 7, at NJPAC. Auditioners will be asked to sing, dance, and, if appropriate, called back to read from the script.
As an additional note, Westfield Community Players will be presenting their own production of
Brigadoon on Fridays and Saturdays, May 13, 19, 20; June 2, 3, 9, and 10.
Written in 1932, The Gay Divorce,
with music and lyrics by Porter and book by Dwight Taylor, brought levity, good humor, and an artdeco ambiance to a society suffering from the Great Depression. The plot is light and silly.
Mimi (Rogers) is trying to di vorce her geologist husband by
having her lawyer (Horton) arrange a very civilized, phony, “clandestine affair” with a “professional correspondent.” Unfortunately, she mistakes Guy (Astaire), the man she loves, for said correspondent and the result is chaos.
Besides “Night and Day,” the score includes numbers ranging from the energetic “How’s Your Romance?” to the sophisticated “Mr. And Mrs. Fitch” to the beautiful “Why Shouldn’t I?”
Cynthia Meryl, WYACT’s Artistic Director and stage director for both productions played Hortense Howard, Mimi’s friend, in the 1978 New York revival of The Gay Divorce
and again in 1983 at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut.
Ms. Meryl said, “Taking part in
The Gay Divorce was — hands down — the most fun I’ve ever had in my performing career. I would like young performers to enjoy this same experience. In addition, since so many of them are unfamiliar with any works or songwriters before Les Miserables,
I’d like to introduce them to the wonderful work of Cole Porter.”
The Cole Porter Estate and TamsWitmark Music Library are working together to provide WYACT with the same version of The Gay Divorce in which Ms. Meryl took part years ago.
Ms. Meryl added, “We will be doing a search for a young ‘Fred and Ginger, ’ two triplethreat performers to fill those famous roles.”
Auditions will be held on Saturday, April 29, at Westfield Community Players with callbacks on Saturday, May 6.
As the winter season’s second semester begins, WYACT classes continue at Centennial High School on Westfield Avenue in Westfield. Ms. Meryl and her staff teach five levels of drama, three levels of musical theater, voice, ballet, tap, and jazz. Ms. Meryl also teaches musical theater for the Gifted and Talented Program at Somerset VoTech.
The Somerset Superintendent of Schools, David D’Alonzo, and Sheila Buttermore, Theatre Arts Director, have offered their auditorium as home to this year’s annual WYACT Cabaret.
The theme for Cabaret 2000 is “war years,” featuring scenes from plays written between 1930 and 1950 such as Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth,” Edna Ferber’s “Stage Door,” scenes from works that deal with the subject of war or take place during war years, such as “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, and musical numbers of the World War II period such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “A Couple of Swells,” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.”
For information regarding any WYACT event, class, or audition, please call (908) 2333200.
One Popcorn, Poor • Two Popcorns, Fair • Three Popcorns, Good • Four Popcorns, Excellent
By Michael S. Goldberger
A Fine Sadness
How much unhappiness can you handle, and is it what you want in a moviegoing experience? That, is the question. Exquisitely depressing,
Angela’s Ashes is the feelbad film of the year.
Director Alan Parker’s beautifully photographed, finely acted adaptation of Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer Prizewinning memoir about growing up poor in Ireland is lyrical, haunting, evocative and intelligent. But as the Irish might opine, “Oy vay is it sad.”
Mercilessly pressing his points, filmmaker Parker takes the notion of gloomy to new lows. And though the firstperson narrative interjects jewels of dark humor throughout the telling, full comedy relief is rare. The absorbed viewer soon learns that surviving Mr. McCourt’s saga requires finding solace among its glimmers of hope. Knowing that the author survived his horrible childhood and grew up to write this widely heralded account also helps.
The thing is, it’s all too terrible not to be true, and the beauty of its genuineness, evident in practically every scene, must win our admiration. But what a hefty price the writer/ protagonist paid for the character he eventually acquires.
After a short stint in the United States where little Frank’s father, Malachy (Robert Carlyle), can’t seem to support his growing brood, the starcrossed family goes against the grain and returns to Ireland. Of course, things only get worse back in Limerick. Dad rarely finds work, and when he does the pattern seems inescapable: taking his first pay to the pub, which soon renders him useless, he is inevitably fired for not showing up the next day.
Angela (Emily Watson), a study in stoical martyrdom, has come to expect no more from her husband.
Residing in “the lanes,” a euphemism for the Limerick slums where the McCourts dwell in poverty, their ranks are repeatedly thinned as the less hearty children fall victim to the conditions. To
just barely subsist, Angela relies on terribly humbling admissions before the church charity board, while Dad is forever on the dole.
A very different comingofage chronicle, Angela’s Ashes consists not so much of a traditional plot, but rather a succession of challenges Frank (nicely portrayed by four different boys over the years) must face if he is to maintain at least a semblance of dignity.
This includes a series of brutally cruel teachers, a Catholic Church that practices class distinction, a first love surrounded in tragic circumstances, and a slovenly relative who shamefully compromises the family’s selfrespect in return for shelter. The list of trials and tribulations goes on and on like the ordeals of a daytime soap. Except that it’s painfully real. And though the story hardly hints at a way out for our little hero, one still can’t help but root for Frank to pull himself up from his dire circumstances. He just has to.
But then you don’t need a degree in literature to realize that Mr. McCourt’s heartfelt account is much more than what it appears to be on the surface. Great works usually are. This isn’t merely a modern Irish take on “David Copperfield” or “Great Expectations.” And certainly it tells a story bigger than the biography of one poor boy.
Rather, it is the tale of all the little boys and girls who were ever deprived of a decent childhood by the barbarism of poverty. McCourt approaches destitution with a deep and knowing passion. And because he is so depressingly accurate, he needs not embellish to properly abash concerned audiences.
It’s the kind of moral instruction that leaves indelible images: Frank and his little brother Malachy in the school playground, ashamed of the absurd makedo shoes their father cobbled together out of an inner tube; Mother Angela begging for leftover scraps outside the priests’ residence; or the teenaged Frank after he leaves home, so hungry that he feverishly licks the pages of the newspaper that just recently held his Uncle Pat’s fish and chips.
Even the most cynical of moviegoers will leave the theater musing, “There, but for the grace of God...,” and vowing, at least until an aftershow snack distracts them, to do their part to fight penury. The film is that affecting.
Insofar as the greatest nonquestion of them all: Is it better than the book? The answer is, doubtful. Unless one is an absolute dolt, there is no filmmaker who can compete with the artistic subjectivity of the human imagination. Only poorly written books turn into better movies. Still, accomplished director Parker (Bugsy Malone, Midnight Express) knows his way around a can of celluloid. And he understands the possibilities, as well as the limitations, of his medium. Adapting the work with screenwriter Laura Jones, he makes sure we get the message.
Perhaps from Angela’s Ashes will rise a phoenix of renewed compassion and caring. For Frank’s sake.
* * * * *
Angela’s Ashes, rated R, is a Paramount and Universal Pictures International release directed by Alan Parker and stars Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle and Michael Legge. Running time: 145 minutes.
February Recital Revealed By Musical Club of Westfield
Clarissa Nolde WESTFIELD – The Musical Club
of Westfield has announced its February recital, which will be held on Wednesday, February 9, at 1 p. m. at the First B a p t i s t Church in Wes t f i e l d . Five groups of performers will be featured.
T h e a f t e rn o o n ’ s concert will commence with Clarissa Nolde performing on the flute with Marie Daniele Mercier at the piano. The duo will perform Poulenc’s “Sonata for Flute and Piano.”
Louise Andrews will then join Ms. Mercier at the piano for Barber’s
“Souvenirs” for fourhand piano. They will be followed by cellist Wayne Smith, who is a popular soloist in the Metropolitan area.
The fourth pair of performers will be
soprano Sally Beckwith, who will
be accompanied by guest artist
Victoria Griswold on the piano.
The final performers for the afternoon will
be Dr. Theodore K.
Schlosberg with the
B u c h e l h o rn, Tromobuchel and alphorn, and Trent Johnson on piano.
Refreshments will be served.
Hospital Art Exhibit Will Include Westfield School Students, Artists
Children’s Specialized Hospital will celebrate Youth Art Month with a February exhibition featuring the artwork of pupils from Westfield Public Schools.
“From kindergarten through high school, our students are provided with a complete “Disciplined Based Arts Education,” encompassing studio production, art history, art criticism and aesthetics,” said Linda King, Supervisor of Fine Arts Department for Westfield Public
Schools. “We believe the arts are our humanity. They are languages of civilization
through which we express our fears, our anxieties, our hungers, our struggles and our hopes.”
The exhibition is open to the public from 8: 30 a. m. to 8: 30 p. m. daily at the hospital. Admission is free. Visitors are requested to enter the hospital through the Ambulance Entry.
The artwork remains the property of the students and will not be sold.
hard McLean fans running with their hands over their ears.
Covering legendary songs doesn’t always have its drawbacks. Diva Quartet Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand and even Mariah Carey have all had tremendous fortune spinning legendary looms of song into gold all their own. Dion did “All By Myself,” originally by Eric Carmen. The genres fit because both artists are pop musicians and fit into that Lite FM set. Mariah Carey’s cover of Brenda K. Starr’s “I Still Believe” makes sense because both artists are from the pop/ dance genre. But, when it comes to classics like “American Pie,” Madonna should have been struck with laryngitis the day she cut that song. She could have considered it an omen.
Valentine Spectacular Planned By Function 10 Theatre Group
WESTFIELD – Valentine 2000,
a variety style show, will be presented on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11, 12 and 13, at The Theatre, 83 Galloping Hill Road, Elizabeth, at the rear of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Performances will be held on Friday at 8 p. m. and Saturday and Sunday at 3 and 8 p. m. All tickets are $9. Reservations can be made by calling (908) 3179296.
For the past ten years Function Ten, Inc. has been producing new plays, original musicals, variety shows and Shakespeare plays for its Union County audience.
For the past four years this show has presented new performers and members of the Function Ten, Inc. family of actors, singers and dancers
in acts that feature their favorite love songs and original songs by Margaret N. Fontana, Executive Producer and Musical Director of Function Ten.
This year the fifth valentine spectacular,
Valentine 2000, will present a number of performers who have been seen in past shows and some who are new to Function Ten. New cast members this year are Rhonda
McBee and Stephen Christen. 1979 and surrounded by Mr. Callahan’s fiction, is set in Westfield during late October 1992.
After a Roselle Park youth is stabbed in Mindowaskin Park, sophomore high school reporter Ashley Munroe ponders an escape from the mundane shadings of his innocent childhood to publicize the afterdark drug ring that has been prevalent there for over two decades.
When he discovers his older brother’s involvement with the park activities he decides to go ahead with his findings. Once the article appears on the front page of the
Hi’s Eye, a storm of trouble begins. Grisly vandalism to his home, telephoned death threats, and a bomb scare at Westfield High School cause Ashley and his parents to wonder if he made the proper decision.
The novel takes a turn to follow the antics of a rambunctious best friend, Blake Spencer, who leads Ashley on a wild Mischief Night while dodging those he exposed.
Tara Vovens, a blossoming love interest, leaves behind her friends at the park scene to help Ashley out of the trouble she creates by doing so. A shocking series of events on a descriptive Halloween Night brings it all to a stunning resolution where we see how one youth, by following his conscience, can truly make a positive impact on society.
Set locally around the landmarks, businesses and streets of Westfield, “Muckraker” ($ 12 paperback) is now available at the Town Book Store in Westfield, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon. com.
Callahan Continued From Page 24
Arts Association Show To Begin on Feb. 14
SCOTCH PLAINS – The Scotch PlainsFanwood Arts Association Members’ Show will open on Monday, February 14, in the downstairs Gallery of the Scotch Plains Library, and continue until Saturday, February 19.
There is no admission fee and the public is invited to view the exhibition during library hours. The artists will be available to discuss their work during the reception on February 19 from noon to 1 p. m. An awards presentation will follow.
The judge for this year’s show will be Jean McCullough, an art teacher for 15 years. Ms. McCullough earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts and Education from Michigan State University and a graduate degree from Kean University. She is a Past President of the Westfield Art Association and her work has been exhibited throughout New Jersey.
For more information, please call Tom Yeager at (908) 3225438.
Officer Wolfson isn’t the only one with a day job that is different from his true heart’s passion. According to Junior, Tunkel works with computers and other band members hold jobs far away from the limelight of musical stardom.
“The diversity helps us not to be too likeminded,” said Junior who believes each band member contributes something unique to the 16 Oz. Kings.
Once they took the stage at the Gemini, Tunkel sang with a Tom PettyBob Dylan voice, “Some way, somehow, I don’t want to lose what I’ve got now.” Pounding out songs that are almost American rock anthems in and of themselves, Tunkel’s voice sometimes got lost in the magnificent mix that band creates. But, each member does bring a unique quality worthy of praise.
And behind the power of the guitars and the soul that pours out from Tunkel’s lyrics, beats the heart of Westfield’s own Officer Wolfson, throwing himself heart and soul into the music – law enforcer by day, rocking the world by night.
* * * * *
Editor’s Note: The 16 Oz. Kings will perform next at 8: 30 p. m. on Saturday, February 19, at The Saint in Asbury Park.
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