p.m., April 17)
musical a rock and roll riot
By Fred Sherwin
Tofflemire was outstanding in the lead role in Cairine Wilson's musical production
of 'Annie'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
do get when you mix '50s style rock 'n roll with Roman mythology and an underdog
storyline? You get one heck of an entertaining musical, that's what you get.
Goddess" is a collaborative production written and directed by Orleans Young
Players Theatre School instructor Andrea Cochrane and her partner/musician Alan
play was originally performed in 2007 by OYP's Musical Theatre Class in the old
Orleans Theatre with backing tracks rather than live musicians.
2010 version, which is being performed this weekend in the main theatre at the
Shenkman Arts Centre, has a live band and one of the deepest, most talented casts
to ever appear in an OYP musical.
the opening scene of the play we learn that the god Bacchus has come down to earth
and created rock 'n roll which leads to no end of unrest and anti-social behaviour,
not to mention one heck of a racket.
try and put things back to normal Jupiter sends his daughters Venus, Minerva and
Diana to earth where they open a hair salon called "The Goddess In You".
is down until Psyche enters the shop and Venus hatches a plan to turn the average
looking girl into a beautiful poised young woman and then have her beat Bacchus
in a singing contest so that he'll go back to Mount Olympus with his tail between
plan goes slightly awry when Pschye becomes a rock star in her own right. To try
and end her musical career, Venus asks the god Cupid to pierce her with one of
her arrows so she will fall in love and give up her career.
get slightly more complicated when two of Psche's fans witness Cupid shooting
her with an arrow and attack him, using his own arrows to incapacitate him.
to legend, if Cupid is hit with his own arrows he can fall in love with a mortal,
which is what happens when both he and Pysche come to. The two fall in love at
the repercussions of an immortal god falling in love with a mortal woman, Venus
comes up with yet another plan to kill Psyche. The plan works, but Cupid is left
devastated. When he pledges to never fire another arrow again, Jupiter brings
Psyche back to life and agrees to adopt her, making her immortal as well.
plot line is fun and whimsical, but it is the music and the vocal performances
which brought it to life, starting with Chris Shackleton who was absolutely outstanding
as Cupid, not to mention a terrific bass player. Carfey Hutchison as Psyche was
also in fine voice, as was Lewis Caunter who was played Jupiter brilliantly.
for my money the best vocal performance on Friday night was turned in by understudy
Freddy Cyr Michaud. Although Michaud only joined the production in March, her
expecrience in having done four other musicals before was apparent for all to
the most pleasant surprise of all was the singing. All of the lead actors had
incredible voices. In fact, I haven`t heard such a talented collection of singers
in a high school musical since the St. Peter Players production of `Les MisÚrables"
in 2004, which featured the amazing Samantha Mouchet.
ensemble performance of "It's the Hard Knock Life" in opening moments
of Act 1 was worth the price of admission alone and was one of the most professional
performances I have every seen on a high school stage. But then it was followed
by Miranda Tofflemire's first solo performance in the lead role of Annie which
was equally mesmerizing.
that point, I had been completely won over. The remaining lead actors were equally
strong starting with Lindsay Coghill who played Miss Hannigan, the cruel owner
of the orphanage. Brittany Dale played a number of roles, but she shone brightest
as Lilly, the air-head girl friend of Miss Hannigan's conniving brother.
Semakova, who played Warbuck's personal secretary, had one of the purest voices
of the bunch, and Jeff Jackson, who played Warbucks, was impressive as well. His
two duets with Tofflemire were especially strong.
remainder of the cast included Josh Lockhart, Matt Wiley, Jacob Hopps, Jesse Scott,
Brianna Champagne, Jessica Armstrong, Chris Beharry, Sam Loveridge, L-P Dugal,
Marlee Fitzpatrick, Katie Cameron, Arielle Rivet, Suzy Nicholson, Samantha Pearson,
Nicole Logan, Emily Fetterley, Sarah Yates, Amy Stuck, Arden Streib and Emma McGinnis.
play was directed by Cairine Wilson's principal Constance McLeese and teacher
Rick Sambell. The orchestra was under the direction of music teacher Cheryl Trachy
and Rebecca Wemyss helped out as the vocal coach.
the unsung stars of the production was the tech crew made up of Ryan Germundson,
Neil Marleau, Jenna Matchem, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Mackay. It was the tech crew,
led by teacher Bob Martin, who made the cast sound so good. They utilized 16 wireless
mikes which had to be constantly switched during the many costume changes and
they pulled it off with nary a hitch.
in all, the production was a joy to behold from beginning to end. The cast and
crew should indeed be proud of their efforts.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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