"Wonderful Town" to Premiere Friday, February 22

By Kristen Cantarella
Staff Writer

Next week, the Marywood Players will take a step back in time with three performances of Leonard Bernstein’s family oriented musical “Wonderful Town.” The story tells of the Sherwood sisters as they venture from their small Ohio town into a 1930s New York City to make their dreams come true.

Eileen is a beautiful, aspiring actress who finds more men in the big city than she can keep track of. Her sister, Ruth, is the complete opposite; the epitome of average next to Eileen, but fortunately, for her, looks do not matter when seeking a career in writing. Along the way Eileen and Ruth encounter crazy neighbors, lucky breaks, men, and, of course, some obstacles. And well, what better way to tell their story than to sing and dance with the 1930s flair of swing in 19 musical numbers.

A lot of work has gone into the making of this production. Mr. William Weber and a full orchestra will provide the music. Ms. Jenifer Brotherton, the costume designer, has worked diligently to outfit the cast in appropriate 1930s attire. Ms. Jenna Audia, the stage manager, and the stage crew, will be able to get a little bit of a break this year, thanks to the revolving stage, allowing the show to move along much smoother. And, perhaps the most important elements of the theater ambiance will be taken care of by Mr. Robert Lozada, lighting design, and Mr. William Roditsky, sound design.

Dr. Paulette Merchel (producer and director), Dr. Joseph Fields (producer), Mr. Patrick Toomey (production manager), Mr. Rick Hoffenberg (vocal director), and Ms. LaToya Martin (choreographer), have been working closely with the Players in order to help them perform to their fullest potential. The cast of 17 (15 Marywood students and two community guest performers) has been practicing since the beginning of the spring semester. They can now be found in the Performing Arts Center perfecting the portrayal of their characters, singing and learning period dances such as the “Turkey Dance,” for approximately 100 hours per week.

Colleen Reynolds (Eileen Sherwood), a Freshman Music Education Major and Scranton native, is definitely feeling the sting of her long weeks but says it is well worth it. Reynolds, who has been singing since age six and acting since age 16, has never done anything quite like this before, but has definitely learned from the experience.

“It’s really nice to be able to work with new and different people. I’ve learned so much and, even though it’s a lot work, it’s still a lot of fun.”

Scranton locals may recognize her from her previous roles, which include: Johanna in “Sweeny Todd” (Mystar Productions, 2005), Emma in “Jekyll and Hyde” (Mystar Productions, 2006), Dolly in “Mr. Christmas” (The Corner Bistro, 2006), and Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof” (Bishop O’Hara/St. Anthony of Padua, 2007). In addition, Reynolds enjoys cantoring masses, weddings, and funerals at local churches in the area. She currently cantors at St. Anthony of Padua (Dunmore), St. Paul’s (Scranton), St. Rose (Carbondale), and St. Lucy’s (Scranton).

Reynolds and all the Players can be seen in “Wonderful Town” in the Sette La Verghette Performing Arts Center on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 24 at 2 p.m. General admission is $15, $7.50 for senior citizens and students, and free for Marywood students with their ID. For tickets, please call the box office at (570)-348-6211, ext. 2161.