News and Reviews
Theater review: Windhausen shines in
B’ville Theatre Guild’s rousing rendition of ‘Bright Star’
By Russ Tarby
As with most theatrical productions with large casts, Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s current staging of “Bright Star” is primarily an ensemble achievement. Directed by music director Colin Keating — who teaches chorus and theater at Baker High — “Bright Star” features a mostly experienced cast playing out an Appalachian melodrama to the high lonesome sounds of bluegrass music.
Click here to read entire review.
BWW Review: BRIGHT STAR a Breathtaking Production
Presented by The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild
by Natasha Ashley Jan. 27, 2020
The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild has brought a truly breathtaking production of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Bright Star to their stage under the superb direction of Colin Keating. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's beautifully crafted bluegrass musical is breathtakingly brought to life by the stellar cast. This local community theatre production could give some professional theaters a run for their money thanks to Director Keating's spot-on casting, his detailed direction, and the unbelievable talents of local community theater performers that are often seen throughout Central New York. Click here to read entire review
Folksy ‘Bright Star’ shines for Baldwinsville Theatre Guild (Review)
Posted Jan 24, 2020
By Len Fonte
“Bright Star” a collaboration between comedian and playwright Steve Martin and singer and songwriter Edie Brickell is kind of an oddball entry into the big and brassy Broadway world. With a score consisting of bluegrass, folk, and a hint of gospel, the show is infused with an awkward but endearing earnestness that asks for love rather than admiration. Although the musical itself is bit uneven, in the hands of the ever-buoyant (and equally earnest) Baldwinsville Theatre Guild “Bright Star” is a very enjoyable evening.
Click here to read entire review
BWW Review: ASSASSINS at
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild
Sondheim musicals are of course thought provoking, difficult, intricate, and highly demanding, Assassins is no exception. It features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and an impressive book by John Weidman. The musical's stars are history's presidential assassins. Baldwinsville Theatre Guild has naturally taken on this musical with full force showcasing the talents of some of the top community theatre actors in Central New York. Click here for whole article
BTG’s ‘Assassins’ is a challenging and chilling look at America’s killers. And it’s a musical. (Review)
Posted Oct 17, 2019
By Len Fonte
Even in the best of times, it would be difficult to reflect on “Assassins,” the Stephen Sondheim musical now onstage in a chillingly effective production by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild. But these aren’t the best of times, and this examination of the political violence that pockmarks the American character shines a light where we’d rather not look, but must. “Assassins” may make us squirm, but it’s clear-eyed and at times towering. Click here for the whole article
REVIEW: B’ville Theatre Guild scores
with an absorbing Depression-era
Review | Stars provide needed
emotional heavy lifting in BTG’s
by James McKillop - Syracuse New Times
'The Diviners,’ folksy charm with
a dash of impending tragedy (Review)
Updated Mar 1, 2019; Posted Mar 1, 2019
By Linda Lowen
‘Spelling Bee’ bounces onto
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild stage
Updated Jan 19; Posted Jan 19
By Len Fonte
BWW Review: THE 25TH ANNUAL
PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
Entertains at Baldwinsville Theatre Guild
Nov 14, 2018
Syracuse New Times
BTG's 'Dracula' is a show to sink your
teeth into (Review)
By Len Fonte
Contributing writer at Syracuse Post Standard
‘Dracula’ cast coagulates in seriously spooky show running through Nov. 3 (Review)
by Russ Tarby
Bram Stoker in Baldwinville (Review)
by Fred Reed
Dracula - Theater Review
By Craig Thornton
Posted: Oct 18, 2018 3:59 PM EDTUpdated Nov 05, 2018 12:00 AM EST
I got a sneak peek last night of the Baldwisnville Theatre Guild’s ambitious production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, adapted for the stage by prolific and renowned playwright Steven Deitz. The classic horror tale, the origin story for all vampire films, television programs, comic books and every other thing the blood sucking freaks may currently inhabit, gets an eerie, well directed, polished production.
Theater review – Happy feet:
Youthful cast performs a carefree ‘Footloose’
Performance staged by B’ville Theatre Guild through Aug. 4
By Russ Tarby
When the cast of Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s “Footloose” play the six degrees of separation game, they can claim close contact with Kevin Bacon. The movie star — who rose to fame after his leading role in the 1984 film “Footloose” — tweeted them a “break a leg” message just before they opened the show July 27 at the Presbyterian Education Center.
Updated May 5; Posted May 5
By Len Fonte
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
Local Community Theatre Brings Victor Hugo Tale to Life On Stage
Click here to see Channel 9 News "Bridge Street" segment
Quasimodo Rings The Bell in Posh
With 52 performers on the floorboards plus 13 players in the orchestra, the musical stage version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame shapes up as the grandest production ever from the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild (running through Saturday, Feb. 10).
If the citation of the Alan Menken-Stephen Schwartz score brings to mind the 1996 Walt Disney animated film, don’t be misled. This much more mature stage version of the Victor Hugo classic comes from Peter Parnell’s 2014 book and became infamous among musical theater buffs when, in spring 2015, it did not go to Broadway.Among this Hunchback’s many allures is the chance to see the one that nearly got away. Read More
BWW Review: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is Powerful at The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, an ambitious community theatre in Central New York, repeatedly tackles some challenging large-scale musicals to show off local talents. Their latest musical production is none other than The Hunchback of Notre Dame, featuring a principal cast of ten, an ensemble of seven, a 22-member choir, and a live orchestra under the meticulous direction of Abel Searor. Read more
Theater review: ‘Hunchback’ rings the bell
BTG stages a sweeping musical version of Victor Hugo’s gothic novel
By Russ Tarby
Contributing Writer at Eagle News
Forget Charles Laughton. Forget Lon Chaney. This ain’t your grandfather’s hunchback!
No, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the musical that opens the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s 76th season, is something entirely different.
Yes, it’s based on the famous Victor Hugo novel about a deformed bell-ringer who falls hopelessly in love with a free-spirited gypsy girl. But this high-brow musical treatment is so much more. The epic BTG production, with its cast of 38 singers spilling off the stage and 14-piece orchestra, is less like those vintage films and more like a mix of Handel’s “Messiah,” Mozart’s “Requiem” and Pomerance’s “The Elephant Man” all rolled into one. Read More
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild brings Paris to central New York
By Sarah Slavin
STAFF WRITER at The Daily Orange
The streets of Paris have taken over the stage of Baldwinsville, as the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild takes on a production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which will run until Feb. 10.
Based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo, the story follows hunchback Quasimodo as he faces the challenge of leaving his bell tower and stepping into Paris. The production company is keeping up with its tradition of producing big winter musicals and brings this show to life with 41 cast members and a 14-member orchestra.
While the cast and crew want the audience to enjoy the show, they also want the performance to leave them thinking, said Liam Fitzpatrick, who plays Quasimodo. Fitzpatrick said the questions “what makes a monster?” and “what makes a man?” resonate throughout the story as Quasimodo interacts with other people and observes how they treat him. Read More
'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' finds musical sanctuary with the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild (Review)
By Len Fonte
Contributing writer at Syracuse.com
Although it carries the Disney imprimatur, the musical "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is a lot darker than the usual stage adaptation from the House of Mouse. Exploring baser motivations and moving away from a feel-good ending, the show sets its sights high. The current lavish staging by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild does well by the show's lofty musical ambitions. It's a feast for the ears. Read more
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's
'Noises Off' is a technical meta-farce done right (Review)
By Dan Poorman
A good farce is not unlike a good ballet.
In dance, every plie is just as important as every show-stopping pirouette, and one little turn-out can make or break one grand jump. Precision and grace are not independent of one another here; instead, precision breeds the seamless and musical final product that has the audience gabbing all the way home.
The same should be said for physical comedy -- just sub in pants-dropping for plies and pratfalls for pirouettes, and magically, the ungraceful becomes graceful.
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's new production of "Noises Off" is a testament to this idea that the farce should be seen as high art. On Friday night, the three-act farce-within-a-farce by Michael Frayn opened to a modest crowd of 30 at the Presbyterian Education Center. This hilarious and incredibly technical production simply deserves more attention, though, so be sure to catch "Noises Off" during its six-show run of the next two weekends (through Sunday, October 7). Read More
Theater review: BTG stages
‘Noises Off,’ a hyperkinetic send-up of British farces
By Russ Tarby
The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild presents two-and-a-half hours of high-spirited hijinks — both on- and off-stage — with “Noises Off,” the award-winning farce of farces by veteran British funnyman Michael Frayn.
To understand what Frayn is doing with this three-act play-within-a-play, you need to know his inspiration. Back in 1970, Frayn wrote a farce for actress Lynn Redgrave called “The Two of Us,” and after watching it from the wings one night, he observed, “It was funnier from behind than in front, and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind.”
The result is “Noises Off,” which takes its title from the theatrical stage direction indicating sounds coming from offstage. Considered one of the funniest farces ever written, “Noises Off” focuses on a cast of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called “Nothing On.”
Directed by CNY Playhouse regular Dan Rowlands, BTG’s current show is like a co-production with the DeWitt playhouse. Several of the actors have done notable work at CNY Playhouse as has Rowlands, assistant director Kasey Polly and props mistress Crystal Rowlands. Read more
'Peter and the Starcatcher' brings
makeshift magic to the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild (Review)
By Len Fonte | Contributing writer
on May 06, 2017 at 2:49 PM, updated May 06, 2017 at 2:50 PM
One of the more enjoyable examples of pure theater in recent memory is Rick Elice's "Peter and the Starcatcher." Based on the children's novel by humorist Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the strictly uncanonical prequel to "Peter Pan" is a wacky look of the classic hero's journey, showing us how the boy who wouldn't grow up got his name and survived thanks to a smart and plucky girl and a little bit of magic. Now onstage in an enthusiastic production by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, the theatrical magic of "Peter and the Starcatcher" is mostly intact. read more
No Trouble In This River City
Posted on January 25, 2017
The years have been kind of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, running through Feb. 4 at the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild. Fifty-eight years ago it beat out West Side Story for the Tony Award, still a bone of contention for demanding musical buffs. It satirizes small-town life from a century ago, just before America’s entry into World War I, and still it keeps on ticking. Read more
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild serves up satisfying 'Music Man' (Review)
By Len Fonte | Contributing writer
on January 21, 2017 at 4:46 PM, updated January 21, 2017 at 4:49 PM
There are some musicals that are like comfort food. The songs are familiar, and I know all the jokes and the outlines the choreography will take. If the mix is right and the ingredients fresh, I can relax and gorge myself. At the end of the evening, I stumble out of my seat and toddle home to recover. For me, Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" is always on that reassuring menu, and this indulgent, highly caloric and very satisfying meal has been served up in down home style by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild. read more
The timeless classic comes to life on stage
By: SISTINA GIORDANO
75 years, ‘76 Trombones’:
BTG celebrates milestone with ‘The Music Man’
By Ashley M. Casey
The Baldwinsville Theatre Guild is marking its 75th anniversary with the fanfare of “76 Trombones.”
For the third time in its history, BTG will present Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man,” the story of a swindling salesman who promises to form a marching band in a small Iowa city. Read more
2016 BTG SALT Award Winners
MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Korrie Taylor, Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Abel Searor, Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Marguerite Beebe and Liam Fitzpatrick, Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Stephanie Long and Heather Jensen, Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Ben Sills, Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Erin Sills, Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR IN A MUSICAL
Sweeney Todd (Baldwinsville Theatre Guild).
Posted on September 28, 2016
We know that the phenomenally misshapen John Merrick actually existed in 1880s London because dozens of photographs survive, and his twisted skeleton was preserved ... click here to read entire article
Theater review: ‘Elephant Man’ roars!
Atmospheric set, amazing acting bring this unusual drama to life in B’ville
By Russ Tarby
Who has seen the likes of this before?
So inquires the title card for Scene 3, and the answer is few. Certainly nothing like “The Elephant Man” has ever before been seen in Baldwinsville. Read more
The nicest kids in town: BTG to present youth production of ‘Hairspray’
The first two weekends in August, the Baldwinsville Theater Guild will present a summer youth production of “Hairspray.” Directed by Alison Croucher and Brennan Carman and produced by Mary Tall, Rebecca Croucher and Catharine Ficarra, the musical features talented teen performers from all over Central New York. Read More
Theater review: ‘Hairspray’ cast sings the praises of ‘bringing people together’
Aug 10, 2016
By Russ Tarby
Leave it to the kids to show us the way.
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s annual summertime Youth Musical Production of “Hairspray” lovingly recalls the turbulent 1960s, and — with soaring songs and clever choreography — reminds us all that segregation is sadly short-sighted. Instead, acceptance and understanding elevates everyone.
Set in Baltimore in 1962, “Hairspray” insists that people of all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds can be united in the primal rituals of music and dance.
Teen co-directors Brennan Carman and Alison Croucher note in the program that “Hairspray” tells “a story that is both timeless in spirit and timely in content.” Carman told the opening night SRO audience at the Baldwinsville Presbyterian Church that the musical is all about “bringing people together.” Read more
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild votes irreverent with 'Complete History of America (Abridged)'
on May 06, 2016 at 3:10 PM, updated May 06, 2016 at 11:52 PM
Don't like where this country is headed? Look back in laughter at "The Complete History of America (Abridged)," a show with elements of sketch comedy, improv, audience participation, musical parody, and wordplay. Presented by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild and directed by Sharee Pierce, "History" shoehorns more than 500 years of nation-shaping into a two-hour, three-man play that's a rat-a-tat burst of comedic zingers ricocheting between highbrow discourse and low-blow jokes. Read more
US History Provides Patriotic Punchlines
This production from the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild begins with strong credibility. Veteran director Sharee Lemos has handled this material before and has headed off some problems before the show hit the stage. Pruned are all stale allusions and references (America was first produced in 2000), as the name Justin Bieber now fills in the gag space formerly occupied by Jerry Lewis. Also in are references to Betty White, Noam Chomsky, Whoopi Goldberg, J.K. Rowling and local car kingpin Billy Fuccillo. Read More
Review: Hilarious hurried history
Three energetic actors skewer the past with parodies and puns
By Russ Tarby
Anyhow, director Sharee Lemos-Pierce has assembled a game three-man cast who exhibit boundless energy as they humorously summarize hundreds of years of history. The balding Taylor is joined by the mustachioed Joe Pierce and the bearded Matthew Gordon as they breeze through dialogue penned by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor (a.k.a. The Reduced Shakespeare Company). Read More
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild drenches the hall in terror
By Linda Loomis | Contributing writer
on January 30, 2016 at 1:12 AM, updated January 31, 2016 at 9:35 PM
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild takes community theater to its most intense and ambitious level with "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." The talented cast, comprised mostly of proven troupers with a few gifted newcomers, conveys every globule of revulsion inherent in the macabre Steven Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical that won nine Tony awards in 1979. Read entire article
Bonkers Barber Slays ’Em in B’Ville
By Bill DeLapp
Posted on January 27, 2016
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s penchant for mounting splashy, demanding musicals continues with its current production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, running through Feb. 6. Within the snug confines of the Presbyterian Education Center’s auditorium, director Korrie Taylor has to corral a cast of 23 performers, while music director Abel Searor wields his baton over a nine-member ensemble. Good luck making room for the proverbial kitchen sink. Read entire article
Sinister ‘Sweeney Todd’
B’ville Theatre Guild stages Sondheim’s gruesome musical
By Russ Tarby
You could call it a “grusical.”
With music by heralded composer Stephen Sondheim and book by the late mystery-writer Hugh Wheeler, “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” uses mesmerizing music to tell a monstrous story of revenge-killings and cannibalism. It’s a gruesome musical – a grusical.
With a cast of two dozen, a nine-piece pit band, a crew of 28 and more than three dozen musical numbers, “Sweeney Todd” is a monstrous undertaking in more ways than one for the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild.
Director-producer Korrie Taylor – who ably helmed last year’s “Les Miserables,” another operatic spectacle – had to overcome obstacles with “Sweeney,” but she stayed the course and gathered a supportive crew and a superlative cast to bring the show to the boards.
Taylor’s most obvious casting achievement was with the leads. Benjamin Sills makes an especially sinister Sweeney Todd, and Cathleen O’Brien Brown is simply breathtaking as the barber’s pie-baking landlady, Mrs. Amelia Lovett.
Sills uses his bold baritone to create a frightful character obsessed with vengeance, while O’Brien Brown’s complementary contralto ranges from the playful “Worst Pies in London” to a haunting “By the Sea.”
The supporting cast includes several top talents from the area. Robert Searle oozes amorality as Judge Turpin. Liam Fitzpatrick puts his classically trained voice to good use as the judge’s assistant, Beadle, and soprano Ceara Windhausen soars as the judge’s “ward,” Johanna.
Colin Keating – who teaches choral music and theater at Baker High – acquits himself admirably as Johanna’s love interest, Anthony, a naïve sailor.
Three minor role-players make memorable contributions. Dan Williams appears as Pirelli, a con man and competing barber. Turns out that “Pirelli” is actually an Irish charlatan who attempts to blackmail Todd but is immediately killed. Before his character’s neck is slit, however, Williams skillfully switches from a flashy Italian accent to the earthier Irish brogue.
Zachary Thompson, a Phoenix High School student with a strong tenor voice, portrays the simpleton Tobias, who evolves from Pirelli’s streetwise ballyhoo artist to a trusted if unwitting accomplice of Todd and Lovett.
Even with her face covered with tattered veils, Erin Williamson excels as a mysterious beggar woman. Ensemble standouts include Cassandra Angerosa, Michaela Oney, Zach Siracuse and Amanda Stein as spooky-looking street people. Makeup designer Jennifer Pearson remained true to the gothic look of 18th century London, as did set designer Gregg Bilyeu and costumers Heather Jensen and Stephanie Long. Stage manager Sabrina Woodward and technical director Josh Taylor each went the extra mile to make this difficult show flow smoothly from scene to scene.
Musical director Abel Searor began the night with an elegant and eerie church-organ intro, before leading the orchestra in its first rendition of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” That ballad, characterized by both fast and slow versions of the ancient “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath) hymn, is effectively repeated throughout the show.
You may call “Sweeney Todd” a grusical, but Sondheim called it a “black operetta.” The BTG version clocks in at a solid two-and-a-half hours, including a 15-minute intermission, so the audience gets its money’s worth. But after a couple hours, some viewers may find themselves squirming in their seats.
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”continues at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29 and 30, and Feb. 5 and 6; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31. Tickets cost $25, and $23 for seniors at the Jan. 31 matinee only; 877-8465; baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.
SALT Award Nominations are IN!
BTG receives 28 NODS! October 7, 2015
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild is honored and humbled to have received a whopping 28
nominations for the 2015 SALT AWARDS! Here they are!
* So excited to announce BTG recieved 10 SALT awards at the ceremony! *
Ceremony was held at Syracuse Stage on October 25, 2015
YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (14 nominations)
Musical of the Year
Leading Actor ................... Henry Wilson
Leading Actress................. Leila Dean
Supporting Actor............... Josh Taylor *WINNER*
Supporting Actor............... Derek Potocki
Supporting Actress............ Kathy Egloff *WINNER*
Director of the Year...................................... Heather Jensen
Music Director of the Year........................... Dan Williams
Costumer of the Year................................... Stephanie Long
Choreographer of the Year.......................... Korrie Taylor
Lighting Design of the Year......................... Sam Barbuto
Sound Designer of the Year......................... Lisa Harshberger
Set Design of the Year.................................. Josh Taylor *WINNER*
Non Performing Person of the Year........... Jay Burris
JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL (14 Nominations)
Musical of the Year *WINNER*
Leading Actor ................... Henry Wilson *WINNER*
Leading Actress................. Kristina M. Clark *WINNER*
Supporting Actor............... Ben Sills
Supporting Actress............ Jennifer Pearson
Director of the Year...................................... Korrie Taylor
Music Director of the Year........................... Abel Searor *WINNER*
Costumer of the Year................................... Jodi Wilson *WINNER*
Choreographer of the Year.......................... Stephfond Brunson
Lighting Design of the Year......................... Sam Barbuto, Kevin Barbuto, Korrie Taylor *WINNER*
Sound Designer of the Year......................... Mark Palinkas, Josh Wright
Set Design of the Year.................................. Gregg Bilyeu
Non Performing Person of the Year........... Michelle Luzzi
Non Performing Person of the Year........... Josh Taylor *WINNER*
HUGE CONGRATS TO ALL!
See complete list of all nominees HERE
LIFE’S A SWITCH IN MONSTER
MUSICAL JEKYLL & HYDE
by James MacKillop - Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Baritone Henry Wilson brings many assets to sing romantic leads in heavyweight musicals. Many knew him from his band Mothercover, until he wowed everyone last winter as Jean Valjean in Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s smash production of Les Misérables.
Wilson’s voice has range and power, both musically and in dramatic dialogue. He can cajole with honey and growl with abrasive vinegar. But it’s quite a different uniqueness that sets him apart from the crowd as the title character in the company’s production of Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical. Wilson sports the longest male hair in community theater: at once a mane, a crown and a mask. Hyde’s transformation has never been more immediate or convincing.
Apparently emboldened by the reception given Les Miz, director Korrie Taylor has designedJekyll & Hyde to be even bigger. Music director Abel Searor leads a pit orchestra of 14 players, including a well-used cello. Given the acoustics of what is essentially a church hall, Taylor, Searor and sound engineers Mark Palinkas and Josh Wright deserve a trophy for keeping the 30 costumed players clear and articulate above the lyrical roar.
We may all know the complete story going in, but much of the dialogue in the play written by Frank Wildhorn, Steve Cuden and Leslie Bricusse is about metaphysics and troubling moral choices. Attention must be paid.
It’s a risk. Jekyll & Hyde famously lost money in its splashy 1997 run, but it has always had fanatical devotees, the Jekkies, and has grown in audience appeal in the past 18 years. Jekyll’s first-act solo, “This is the Moment,” has taken on a life of its own, but the show’s fundamental power cannot be captured on a CD. Instead, Jekyll & Hyde tells of two contrasting but parallel love stories, the virtuous and the debauched, both of which end badly. Director Taylor wants to care about both of them equally and not favor one over the other.
Soprano Jennifer E. Pearson, previously a welcome voice in demanding character roles, cuts a romantic new silhouette. Her blonde Emma Carew is queenly rather than being a mere princess. The big love duet with Jekyll, “Take Me as I Am,” is as equally affecting as the familiar “This is the Moment” in this interpretation. Well supported by her intelligent father, Sir Danvers Carew (a splendid Robert G. Searle), Pearson’s Emma also succeeds in making virtue alluring. Director Taylor wants audiences to be pulling for her.
Even though gentlemen may prefer blondes, brunette vice is often hard to beat. Taylor’s major innovation here is with the previously unknown Kristina M. Clark as the lowlife Lucy Harris, the object of Edward Hyde’s sordid lust. Often seen as a hardened tart, Clark and Taylor plumb Lucy’s pathos, tenderness and needfulness, not unlike Christopher Isherwood’s Sally Bowles before Bob Fosse and Liza Minnelli got a hold of her for Cabaret. There’s nothing retiring about Clark’s delivery as her big numbers, like “Bring on the Men” and “A New Life,” burst with Minnelli-like vivacity and energy.
Just as the two women in Henry/Edward’s life make a contrasting pair, so too do the realms in which they pass, at least in looks. Morally, there is little to choose between them. Henry and Emma meet in a world of learning, privilege and refinement, and Henry’s pal Utterson (Benjamin J. Sills) remains reliable throughout, as heard in such numbers as “Pursue the Truth” and “His Work and Nothing More.” Others are detestable whited sepulchers, including the stiff-necked Lady Beaconsfield (Kathy Burke Egloff), cowardly General Lord Glossop (Patrick Carman) and the hyper-hypocrite (but great tenor) Bishop of Basingstoke (Paul Thompson).
No moral pretense exists at the tavern-brothel the Red Rat, where blonde-wigged Nellie (Erin Williamson) is plying her trade. As an ensemble, put through steps by choreographerStephfond Brunson, the Red Rat riffraff put on a better show than the upper-crust sorts, especially when led by the sordid-looking pimp Spider (Liam Fitzpatrick).
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, founded before World War II, has gone through many transformations and does not appear to be dominated by a single personality. Instead, it enjoys warm community support with an army of volunteers. It has become a company honoring the traditions of the late, lamented Christine Lightcap, featuring big productions with strong voices in important roles and rich musicianship.
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s production of Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical continues on Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 22, 3 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church Education Center, 64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville. Call 877-8465.
Photo by Amelia Beamish/AB Photography
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild tames the split personality of "Jekyll and Hyde" (Review)
By Len Fonte | Contributing writer
Now on the boards in a jaunty production by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild, "Jekyll and Hyde," with music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, is one of the theatrical legends of the 1990s. Reviled by critics, the adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" grew a fanatical following, went on to play for years, and has enjoyed a healthy life on stages across the country. A testament to the show's resilience, the BTG "Jekyll and Hyde," buoyed by assured performances and smooth direction, is an example of the joyful experience that community theater can be.
An early exploration of what we now call dissociative personality disorder, Stevenson's 1886 novella about the mild-mannered doctor who experiments upon himself with a serum that isolates the good and evil human forces into separate personalities was shocking but attractive to buttoned down Victorian sensibilities.The book was immediately popular and ripe for theatrical adaptation. From its first stage version, the book's slim storyline was expanded to include female mirrors of the the hero's two incarnations, injecting a dose of sex into the doctor's strange brew.
At BTG, Henry Wilson controls the evening as the conflicted protagonist. Gifted with considerable stage presence and a supple baritone, he exudes warmth and gentility as the hapless Dr. Jekyll. Using the now famous conceit of becoming Hyde by allowing his long hair to fall over his face, he transforms himself into an eminently hissable villain. Wilson brings life to "This is the Moment" the most well-known song from the show, and elevates the potentially silly "The Confrontation" in which he sings as both Jekyll and Hyde, to thrilling heights.
Jennifer Pearson and Kristina M. Clark shine as the women in the good/bad doctor's life. Pearson bring her effortless soprano to Emma, the good girl to whom Jekyll is engaged. Clark gets the juiciest songs as bad girl Lucy, and she makes the most of them, singing soulfully of "A New Life," and chillingly expressing the darkness of her predicament in "A Dangerous Game," a duet with Hyde.
Also notable are Ben Sills as Jekyll's faithful friend Utterson, Paul Thompson as a straying bishop, And Robert G. Searle as Emma's father. Liam Fitzpatrick brings his usual verve to the role of Lucy's pimp, Spider. Musical performances are strengthened by Abel Searor's sterling musical direction and large pit orchestra.
Happily, director Korrie Taylor treats "Jekyll and Hyde" like the Victorian melodrama it is. To call the show a thriller would be to go overboard. This is no "Sweeney Todd." There's just too much hokum baked into the script for it to be truly frightening. We wait for a long time for the first appearance of Mr. Hyde, but from then on, there's no suspense in the frequency or the manner in which the evil guy with his hair over his eyes appears. Taylor's brisk approach doesn't really disguise these shortcomings, but ties them into a thoroughly entertaining package.
What: The musical "Jekyll and Hyde," presented by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild.
Where: Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St. Baldwinsville.
When seen: Friday, March 13.
Length: 2 hours 40 minutes with intermission.
Attendance: About 120.
Family guide: Fine from middle school with interest and parental guidance. There is much sexual innuendo.
Performs through: March 28.
Dangerous duality: Wilson gives bravura performance in B’ville Theatre Guild’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’
By Russ Tarby
Baldwinsville — When you see this musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” you’ll be impressed by the visual recreation of Victorian London, the pitch-perfect singing often rendered in tight harmonies and the rousing 14-piece pit band.
What will most impress you, however, will be leading man Henry Wilson in the dual role of the gentle Dr. Jekyll and the violent Mr. Hyde.
Consider Wilson’s assignment: he must embody both the high and the low in man, the devoted and the depraved, the logical and the instinctual, the domestic and the wild, even the conscious and the subconscious.
Though surrounded by a versatile supporting cast, the task of communicating the epic struggle between good and evil is his alone. At times, he throws his entire body into the transformations from Jekyll to Hyde and back again. His brash physicality vividly illustrates the inner psychological battle.
In one mesmerizing scene toward the end of Act Two, Wilson bounces instantaneously and repeatedly from one character to another. One moment his voice sounds soft and aristocratic, and the next moment it’s growling and grunting. One moment, his face is calm, handsome and placid. Then, his long hair’s flying and his teeth are bared.
Wilson’s bravura performance is a sight to see, and that’s not to mention his superb singing. A professional rock vocalist with a wide range and plenty of power, he opens the show as Jekyll with “Lost in the Darkness.” A visionary young physician, Jekyll seeks a cure for catatonia in 1880s London, as explained in “I Need to Know.”
After an hour of exposition spiced by dance numbers showcasing the crowded cast of 29, patience pays off when the chemicals are mixed and Hyde finally appears. Wilson’s copious coif serves him well here as Hyde’s tousled mane pokes out from under his tattered top hat, and he grabs a twisted walking stick which he swings menacingly.
Wilson owes his wife, Jodi, a big thank-you for the work she did as the show’s costume and hair designer. With Gregg Bilyeau’s street-scene set as a backdrop, Jodi Wilson and crew – Danielle Karlik, Tatum Karlik and Karyn Palinkas – created a real Victorian spectacle, with eye-catching period costumes and hairstyles.
Director Korrie Taylor, who helmed last year’s “Les Mis” (also featuring Henry Wilson), had her hands full at the helm of this massive cast. By showtime, however, everybody knew their marks and did what they needed to do to allow Wilson to tear up the scenery.
Taylor relied on choreographer Stephfond Brunson to coordinate the dances, including the lusty gesticulations of the crimson-corseted Red Rat girls.
Musical Director Abel Searor, aka Professor Reliable, kept Frank Wildhorn’s music flowing from curtain to curtain. Augmented with brass and strings, the orchestra benefitted from the presence of keyboardist Tom Wikowski who had also served as the show’s rehearsal accompanist.
Co-stars included the always-stunning soprano Jennifer Pearson as Jekyll’s fiancée, Robert Searle as her father, Gabriel John Utterson as the doctor’s best friend, Kristina Clark as a love-struck prostitute and Liam Fitzpatrick as a outlandishly outfitted pimp.
In Act Two, Pearson and Clark turn in a soaring duet, “In His Eyes,” soon followed by Clark’s solid solo, “A New Life.”
“Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical,” produced by Mark Baker, continues at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 20-21 and March 27-28, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22.
Tickets cost $25 at the door, $23 in advance, and $21 for seniors at the March 22 matinee only; 877-8465; baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.
“JEKYLL AND HYDE” AT BALDWINSVILLE THEATRE GUILD
MARCH 15, 2015 SEAN MCNICHOL
The musical “Jekyll and Hyde,” put on by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild at the First Presbyterian Church in Baldwinsville, is a powerful show featuring some excellent design work, direction and beautiful vocal talent.
If you’re unfamiliar with the musical, it’s based on the original tale “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” written by Andrew Louis Stevenson in 1886. The story comes from the perspective of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll’s friend John Utterson as Utterson explains a series of bizarre maladies plaguing his friend Dr. Jekyll as he experiments with a potion he has concocted that he believes will separate the two parts of man’s soul: good and evil. As I’m sure you’re aware, the drink causes Jekyll to go through a horrible transformation into the homicidal monster of a man named Edward Hyde. The story became a phenomenon upon its publication.
Fast forward a century or so later, “Jekyll and Hyde” the musical is born and has found its way to Baldwinsville. The show takes place in the infamous Victorian London, and the space is both cleverly designed by the production team and well used by the actors. The play is a chilling musical story. If you like a musical where the band is playing almost as much as the actors, this show has a fun and compelling score that pair well with the action of the play and BTG has accompanied the show with a massive band to help tell the story.
Following the band, the play features some excellent moments between actors and some great physical acting on the part of its lead, Henry Wilson, who plays the very tall order of Jekyll/Hyde with astounding vitality. The transformations from Jekyll to Hyde were both unsettling and smoothly executed. There were a number of excellent performances in this show, including the BTG debut of Kristina Clark as Lucy in a tragic story arc that takes you from the red light to the handkerchief.
A number of individual performances came together beautifully to create this compelling piece. I had a chance to speak with the producer of the show Mark Baker and the director, Korrie Taylor. We discussed placebos and O’Douls and the fun they had putting this show together. Well done to Baldwinsville Theater Guild. I hope to see another performance of this caliber soon, and luckily, I’m sure they’ve got something in the works.
Les Miserables performs at the 10th Annual S.A.L.T. Awards,
Abel Searor WINS Best Music Director!
B’ville Theatre Guild’s ‘Young Frankenstein’ captures
lightning in a bottle
By Russ Tarby
Electrifying performances breathe laughable life into the Baldwinsville
Theatre Guild’s presentation of Mel Brooks’ punny parody of “Frankenstein,”
the 1930s-era fright-film franchise.
Directed by the Heather Jensen and produced by Jay Burris, the monstrous musical “Young Frankenstein” showcases three of Central NY’s best performers, Henry Wilson, Leila Dean and Josh Taylor.
Wilson – fresh from his spectacular performance as Valjean in BTG’s “Les Miz” – stars as Fredrick, the Manhattanite grandson of monster-maker Victor Frankenstein. Insisting that his name is pronounced “Frawnk-in-STEEN,” he lectures on “The Brain,” while his medical students let their notebooks do the dancing care of choreographer Korrie Taylor.
The ever-sensual Leila Dean – who ruled as Queenie in CNY Playhouse’s “The Wild Party” – appears here as Inga, Fredrick’s titillating Transylvanian lab assistant. Though her looks can’t be overlooked, Dean’s talents outweigh her formidable physical attributes. Like Wilson, she’s a professional musician who really knows how to sing! And her Carpathian accent cools her down with a hint of cuteness.
Skinny as a twisted rail draped in black, Josh Taylor’s wise-cracking Igor nearly steals the show at several turns. He greets Fredrick at the train depot with a celebratory “Together Again,” and then introduces the good doctor to eager Inga with “Roll in the Hay” in which Dean yodels like an alpine cowherder on aphrodisiacs.
Taylor – a BTG regular recently showcased as Buck Barrow in Covey Theatre’s “Bonnie & Clyde” – wisely uses his bulging eyes to punctuate Brooks’ comic dialogue, and Igor’s movable hunchback is always good for a laugh.
While they appreciate Taylor’s onstage antics, audiences should note that he also designed the set and directed the show’s technical effects which include a spark-hurling electrical lever. His laboratory set crackles and hums with Tesla coils on the table, gadget gewgaws on the back wall and steampunk gear-and-cog designs on the flats.
After lightning brings him to life, The Monster, played by a twitchy Derek Potacki, rises from its slab toward the end of Act 1. Makeup designer Jennifer Pearson complements his green skin with a big, bushy black wig and fascinating fishnet scars on his hands.
Several supporting cast members revel in the blend of horror and humor. BTG veteran Kathy Egloff excels as Frau Blucher (“Neigh! Neigh!”), especially on the ultimate torch song, “He Vas My Boyfriend.”
Molly Brown displays a glass-shattering singing voice as Fredrick’s intended. Though introduced by a comic ditty – “Please Don’t Touch Me” – she returns in Act 2 to sing a lusty “Deep Love.” Hair designer Jodi Wilson outdid herself with Brown’s bright-red “Bride of Frankenstein” beehive.
As one-armed Inspector Kemp, Gennaro Parlato leads the villagers in tunes such as “The Law” and “Transylvania Mania,” while William Edward White bumbles about as a blind Hermit begging, “Please Send Me Someone.”
From his piano bench, Music Director Dan Williams leads a supple 11-piece pit band buoyed by musicians such as violinist Erica Moser, trumpeter Clayton Morgan, trombonist Colleen Dailey and synthesizer player Andrew Kyle.
No matter what you’ve planned for this Halloween weekend, do yourself a favor and add “Young Frankenstein” to your schedule.
“The New Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein” continues at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2. Tickets cost $25 at the door, $23in advance, and $20 for seniors at the Nov. 2 matinee only; 877-8465; baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild reaps monster's share of laughs with 'Young Frankenstein' (Review)
Kathy Egloff as Frau Blucher, Leila Dean as Inga, Henry Wilson as Fredrick Frankenstein and Josh Taylor as Igor.
(Photo courtesy of Amelia Beamish Photography.)
By Linda Loomis | Contributing writer on October 26, 2014 at 11:12 AM, updated October 26, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Everything about the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's "Young Frankenstein" at the First Presbyterian Church is big - the musical score, the production numbers, the junior-high schtick and the local talent that manages to unify the sprawling material. At the Friday Oct. 25 production, the audience responded in kind, with big laughs and big applause for the high-energy show directed by Heather Jensen and produced by Jay Burris.
The farcical Mel Brooks musical, which parodies 1930s monster movies, rolls along at a frenetic pace, with 11 scenes and songs in the first act and eight more in the second. Costumed by designer Stephanie Long as if ready for an Oktoberfest, the players cavort with such compelling force and physical humor it's easy to forget that such big action takes place on a small stage.
Big sounds come from the 10-piece pit band, too, as they play an integral role in plot progression with 1930s-style music under the excellent direction of Dan Williams. One of the best features of this Mel Brooks show, which often is denigrated for rehashing jokes and characters from earlier works, is the seamless integration of his lyrics and music with the dialogue.
Henry Wilson portrays the brilliant American Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein--that's Fronk-N-Steen--with a maddening innocence, resisting a journey to Transylvania,, where his grandfather's scientific experiments at reanimation only horrify Frankenstein the younger. He makes the quest in 1934 to settle the monster-maker's estate and, inevitably, creates a "creature" of his own, though never with the mad-scientist persona one expects. Wilson is a natural for the musical stage, and he becomes more authoritative in his role after the early scenes, singing confidently and acting with assurance.
The three female leads are terrific, each foregrounding her own strengths and lifting her character to the apex of parody. Kathy Egloff, as Frau Blucher, embodies the stereotypical monster movie housekeeper, creepy and gruff and sexually frustrated. She reveals her sublimated desires with big voice and bawdy body language in "He Vas My Boyfriend," as she reminisces about her relationship with the deceased Dr. F.
Young Dr. Frankenstein's fiancée, Elizabeth-the untouchable, is played to the hilt by Molly Brown, who uses her voluptuous body to tease but never deliver, mocking the perfectly coiffed movie stars of the '30s. Her "Please Don't Touch Me," sung to Dr. F. at his bon voyage, reverberates through the hall, and her second act "Deep Love" has the crowd laughing aloud as she succumbs to the amorous advances of the creature and abandons her rule of hands--and other appendages--off.
The three female leads are terrific, each foregrounding her own strengths and lifting her character to the apex of parody.
Casting Inga can't be easy: She must be strong, sensual, lithe, and vocally sophisticated. Leila Dean fits the bill with bonus--she yodels like a Swiss mountaineer, a talent essential to the plot. Her provocative role as lab assistant is pure stereotype, so blatant that the audience overlooks the pigeonholing and simply enjoys this actor's comedic talent. She soars on "Roll In the Hay" in Act I and on her spotlight solo in Act II, "Listen to Your Heart."
Brooks predictably writes a part for a hunchbacked, demented sidekick, and he unsurprisingly is named Igor--that's Eye-gore! Casting take a bow; you nailed this one with Josh Taylor, filling the role to perfection. His every move is flawless, and his natural timing extracts the most humor possible out of every gag thrown his way.
Derek Potocki manages to be both sweet and threatening as The Monster. He makes it possible to believe his yearning for something more than a plodding, mundane, misunderstood existence. He longs for full life, a condition only possible through human love. In that, Potocki portrays Everyman, seeking what we all need to be fully enlivened. His scene with Hermi, the allegorical blind hermit played by William Edward White, gives him a chance to fulfill another's longing in a scene of pure slapstick and big-show-tune humor, "Please Send Me Someone."
The Monster's triumph, or Young Dr. Frankenstein's genius fulfilled, takes place in the iconic ensemble piece that is generally acknowledged as the saving grace of the entire musical: a reworking of Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz." Alive at last, Monster sings, dances, and loves, embracing the force of life in, yes, a big way.
Even the resolution of this campy show is big in the sense that, predictably, as with a prize-every-time boardwalk game, everyone--on stage and in the audience--goes home a winner.
What: Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's "Young Frankenstein."
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville, N.Y.
When: Reviewed Oct. 25. Continues Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1 and 2. Evenings at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
Tickets: Call 315-877-8465.
BTG gets 10 nominations at the 2014 SALT Awards!
We are so pleased to announce that we have received 7 nominations for LES MISERABLES and 3 nominations for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS! Congrats to all the nominees, and we are so proud to be so well represented this year! See all the nominees here.
By Russ Tarby
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” a musical comedy running through May 10, at the First Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St.; 877-8465.
VIDEO: GETTIN' DIRTY ON BRIDGE STREET
Aired on April 21, 2014 ~ Bridge Street interview and performance (DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS)
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild does justice to the musical blockbuster Les Miserables
Familiarity is both a blessing and a curse. More than 66 million people in 42 countries have already seen Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schöenberg’s pop opera Les Misérables. Quite a few of them live in Onondaga County, including the audiences that have been selling out the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s productions that run through Feb. 8. Read entire article
Strong "Les Miserables" Marches onto Baldwinsville Theatre Guild Stage
on January 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM, updated January 26, 2014 at 9:39 AM
It's easy to get cynical about "Les Miserables." Sometimes it seems like there is no escaping Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's mega-musical version of Victor Hugo's mega-novel. After long West End and Broadway runs and many high school and community productions, you would think that the musical juggernaut would be ready to slink into the shadows. But given a second wind by the hit film version, "Les Mis" fever is upon us again (the show even has its own nickname!), and a new Broadway staging will open soon. Happily, with the current Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's rousing production of "Les Miserables," cynicism melts away. Read more....
‘Les Mis’ luminescent!
B’ville Theatre Guild stages a sensational version of the classic musical
By Russ Tarby
Few musicals engage the mind and excite the senses as does “Les Misérables.”