Broadway Players set to ‘Trip the Light Fantastick’
In searching for a theme for their latest song-and-dance production, the Broadway Players were strongly attracted to goings-on in New York City.One attraction, of course, were the attacks last September on Manhattan. For a group of singer-actors that has looked to Broadway for material and inspiration for its annual productions, the attachment to New York is particularly strong.”I think we needed to pay attention to New York, to honor that,” said Jeannie Walla, one of the seven local stage performers who make up the Broadway Players.Another, less-obvious reason to look to Manhattan is the closing, after over 40 years, of the musical, “The Fantasticks.” The musical opened in 1960 and ran continuously in the tiny Tompkins Square Theater until earlier this year, making “The Fantasticks” the longest-running show in theater history.Songs from “The Fantasticks” are at the heart of the Broadway Players’ latest revue, “Trip the Light Fantastick.” The show will be presented at the Wheeler Opera House tonight and Friday at 7. In the tradition of the Broadway Players making the production as accessible as possible, admission is free and people of all ages are encouraged to attend.”Trip the Light Fantastick” will feature a segment of six songs from “The Fantasticks,” including such hits as “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and “Try to Remember.” Walla said there were good reasons the show became such an enduring hit: “It was the most simple, the most romantic, the most elegant jewel of a play.”The show will open with a medley of “New York State of Mind” and “42nd Street,” which will feature the first tap-dancing routine by the Broadway Players. Another song is “New York, New York,” from “And the World Goes Round.”Other selections include “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” from “Porgie and Bess”; “It Would Have Been Wonderful,” from “A Little Night Music”; “Sit Down,” from “Guys & Dolls”; and “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” from the current hit, “The Producers.”Performers are Michael Monroney, Valerie Lee, Cathy Markle, Meredith Daniel, Gary Daniel and Scott MacCracken, as well as Walla. Bob Finnie is music director and keyboardist, with Chris Goplerud on drums and Tom Paxton on bass. There will be guest musicians on harp and flute. Choreography is by Marisa Post, and Brian O’Neil serves as producer.The Broadway Players ensemble was put together seven years ago by a group of local performers who found they didn’t have enough opportunities to work together. Each year since, they have put on free shows as a gift to the community, and Walla finds that the desire to work with the rest of the cast remains strong.”Part of why we want to do this is it’s such a joy to work with one another,” she said. “Surrounding yourself with these people who are so talented and amusing – that’s the best fun.”And it gives us a chance to work on new material. And it feels so good to put on a show for a community where people care deeply, and have worked hard all winter.”
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