Endicott Presents – Wonderful Town by Leonard Bernstein
BEVERLY – Endicott College’s spring musical theater production, Wonderful Town by Leonard Bernstein, is sure to get your feet tapping and heart longing for the Big Apple. Wonderful Town will be performed at the Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale Street, Beverly on Thursday, April 3, 7:30 pm; Friday, April 4, 7:30 pm; and Saturday, April 5, 2:00 pm. and 7:30 pm. General admission is $15, $5 for seniors and students of other institutions, and free to Endicott ID holders.
Set in 1935, it tells the story of two sisters from Ohio who went to New York to make their fortunes: Ruth, the older, wisecracking one in writing and journalism, and Eileen, the younger, beautiful one in show business.
Their subsequent adventures, which include dive apartment-dwelling on Christopher Street, involve the various wacky citizens of bohemian Greenwich Village they encounter while on their search for fortune, fame, and romance in the big city. Memorable are the ballads A Quiet Girl, 100 Ways to Lose a Man, and It’s Love, as well as the nostalgic lament Ohio. Audiences are sure to hear the sounds of later Bernstein creations like West Side Story and Candide in the score.
“This is the most challenging show and score we have taken on to date,” says director, Becca Kenneally, of Marblehead, MA. “Bernstein writes hard stuff and makes it sound fun and easy. That’s tough to pull off!”
Many of the members of the cast, pit orchestra, crew and directing team hale from the North Shore, including co-star Ashley Whippen (Ruth), a senior from Ipswich, MA and a parent in Endicott’s single-parent program, Keys to Degrees. Her daughter, Anna Whippen, 5, is also in the cast as a “street-kid.”
“I thought it would be hard to concentrate on my role with Anna on the set, but it has had almost the opposite effect,” Whippen said. “Knowing she is here with me, learning and having fun, gives me the freedom to do my job and act.”
Others from the North Shore include co-director, Penny Hansen, of Everett; choreographer Nicole Sao Pedro-Welch of Salem; assistant stage manager, senior Dara Goldberg of Peabody; assistant director, Katie Clarke (EC 2013) of Beverly; acting coach, James Ricker of Salem; voice coach, Thomas Smoker and actor, Andrew Hankinson of Manchester-by-the-Sea; professor and actor, Joel Caron of Salem; actress Sarah logan, junior, of Amesbury; actress Alyssa Olsen, sophomore, of Georgetown; actor Michael Saracco of Melrose; actress Ila Bumagin of Marblehead; and actress Eden Tomaszewski, freshman, of Nashua, NH.
Wonderful Town is sponsored by Endicott College and is $15 for general admission, $5 for seniors and students of other institutions, free to Endicott College ID holders, and open to the public. You can reserve tickets at www.endicott.edu/centerforthearts or by leaving a message at the box office at (978) 998-7700.
For more information about the event or the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts, please contact Becca Kenneally, Performing Arts Chair, at email@example.com or (978) 232-2397; or you can visit the Endicott College Center for the Arts webpage at www.endicott.edu/centerforthearts.
Pictured: Ashley Whippen from Ipswich is the brunette who plays Ruth Sherwood.
Kelsey Perez from Newtown, CT, is the blonde who plays Eileen Sherwood.