With 110 Students Collaborating, Fall Musical Proves Wonderfully Entertaining

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The Theatre Department’s production of “Wonderful Town” provided constant entertainment Nov. 30.

The lighthearted play details the story of Eileen and Ruth Sherwood (Hannah McCandless and Zoe Davidson), two sisters who leave Ohio for New York City searching for a better life. When they arrive, they find that New York isn’t exactly what they expected. Their apartment is cramped, not everyone is friendly and neither sister has luck finding work. Despite their difficulties, the sisters persevere, aided by the generosity of Eileen’s suitor Frank Lippencott (Dean Carlson) and entranced by the friendship of their shared love interest, Bob Baker (Jonah Weinstein).

The production of “Wonderful Town” captured the audience’s attention in new and creative ways.  Actors mastered song, dance and tremendous comedy which, coupled with the professional set, led to a well-executed production. McCandless and Davidson’s on-stage chemistry made for a believable relationship.

Featuring more than 110 actors, management team students and pit orchestra members, “Wonderful Town”  had four showings and an in-school preview, during which select scenes were performed. “Audience response has been very incredible. We had our largest preview ever,” said Theatre Department Chairwoman Christine McBurney, who directed the musical.

“Wonderful Town” is a musical written by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, with music composed by Leonard Bernstein. First appearing on Broadway in 1953, “Wonderful Town” has been produced by both major and minor companies. “It was a lot of work,” said senior Danielle White, the play’s costume chair. “But the simple little things made it all the better. It was worthwhile.”

 McBurney loved directing “Wonderful Town.” “I was very pleased with the process and the progress,” she said. “It was very rewarding.”

 A version of this article appeared in print on 14 December 2011, on page 7 of The Shakerite.

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