December 6, 2019
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Classic Broadway Royalty

Published April 03, 2019

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Growing up in New York, my junior high school class was in the audience for Leonard Bernstein’s famous “Young People’s Concerts” broadcast live from the New Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center, in the early ‘60s.

So imagine my utter delight, a mere four years after its production of Bernstein’s greatest Broadway musical, West Side Story, to be dazzled by the Drama Club’s production of Bernstein’s first musical, On the Town—which I’ve never seen attempted by a high school, ever.

This is the classic Broadway royalty at its best, and the authentic, talented cast included showstoppers John Gabelman, Tim Jacoboski, and Liam Welsh as the three sailors; Olivia Gaidrey, Maggie Maselli, and Maddie Bradley as their dates; and terrific character actors/dancers Davonte Mitchell, Amy Young, Penny Amara, Joe Bradley, Alice Gadon, Ian Mason, Conner Cart, and Mara Kelley.

The direction by Ms. Lenore Grunko, and her choreography, assisted by standouts Mara Kelley and Maggie Maselli, were dynamic and true to Jerome Robbin’s original. The costumes and sets were right out of the ‘40s. Mr. Jeremy Milton’s orchestra was note-perfect with an exceedingly complex score. The duet “Carried Away” and the six-voice “Some Other Time” were perfection itself!

What a delight. Thanks once again go to Old Saybrook High School. Thanks go to the Harbor News, too, for Susan Lambert’s magnificent front-page photo of the exciting stars aloft, which deserves a Pulitzer for theatrical journalism.

Nathan M. Wise
Old Saybrook