Weekend Guide to Hudson Valley High School Musicals

Cunning, clever dialog overtop an eccentric cast make for a damn good time at Cornwall high school this weekend in their presentation of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying a skin-of-the-teeth triumph that will appeal to audiences young and old. With whimsical songs about coffee breaks and mailroom antics, the show keeps a light mood. Female lead Rosemary (played by Brooke Garfinkle)* is a dose of sweet and satisfying. You'll love watching her hot-in-pursuit of her white collar counter lead Finch played by Craig Frank*. James Gillick's larger than life portrayal of company President J.B. Biggley is comical and conceited (true to the role) and Rhiannon Guilfoyle is the epitome of bad news and bad at her job secretary Hedy LaRue. You'll pity the unfortunate luck whiny antagonist Neil Higgins endures as Bud Frump, but find redemption in the magnetism of his memorable vocal performance.

Director Richard Aufiero is enjoying his 15th year directing the student productions at Cornwall high school. A Verizon employee by day, Aufiero finds a great sense of satisfaction in the stage presentations he orchestrates each Spring, pulling the teenage starlets out of their comfort zones and into center stage. The sight of 90 kids in synergistic movement is a feat that has resulted in accolades for the theater lover who is resigned to a policy to cast every student who auditions (grades withstanding). This year's cast features 88 singing, dancing, talented kids who have been rehearsing since January to bring this colorful story to life.

Plus there is a celebrity appearance woven into the fabric of this show...

The first HHV fan to write-in to us with the famous name will win a starbucks gift card!


How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (H2$) with Performances April 11th through 13th at 7pm, and April 14th at 2pm. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for seniors and students. You can reserve your seats by calling 845-497-3914, or you can email your requests to: cchsdramatix@yahoo.com.

* Hannah Fabiny and Dante Giannetta are alternating the lead roles on Friday and Sunday's performances.


Next up this weekend, Newburgh Free Academy's AIDA, 'destiny ignited by an act of war'. Extravagant sets and over-the-top productions in years past have created a template for Newburgh's celebrated Spring musical, but this year you can expect something different. Heavier, for sure, than last year's playful Hairspray, the show is riddled with deep-seeded soulful singing and a musical score championed by Elton John and Tim Rice. The sophisticated story of a slave master and his brave capture AIDA is complicated by subtle layers of violence and forbidden fruit. A dance scene featuring suave Egyptian soldiers in synchronized movement sets the mood early in the show, dancing girls in blue sequin 'power suits' were a stunning surprise. The harem of belly dancers fit the geographical profile of the story. Emerging themes of unlikely friendships, legacy and forbidden love climax tenderly well into ACT 1. The cast is comprised of students looping in versatile roles. The show is rooted in themes of native pride and tribal integrity. AIDA will touch your heart. The singing is exceptional.

AIDA is directed and choreographed by Mandy Clifford, with vocal direction by Karen Sheehy, technical assistance from Rick McCurdy. The pit orchestra will be conducted by Chris Zoutis. Aida is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International, Inc. Tickets are $10.00 or $8.00 for senior citizens and children under 12.

Get Tickets through the school website. Tickets must then be picked up during bookstore hours or on the day of the show up until 7:00 on 4/12 & 4/13 or until 2:00 on 4/14 (201 Fullerton, Avenue, Newburgh, New York.)

Next weekend, Beacon high school will perform the Wiz. Get more info on the website.

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