Robby and I are very excited to take a road (well, train) trip to Boston on Friday to see a production of Helen directed by my Boston acting buddy (and Elliot Norton award-winning director) Ilyse Robbins, and music directed by my very first vocal coach, John O'Neil. This is going to be a special one for many reasons. Obviously, having two talented friends at the helm is one of them. In addition, we did one of our first readings of Helen at Wheelock. Finally, Wheelock was my ticket into the professional world of acting. Many moons ago, back when I was a young lass of twenty-three, I was given my Equity card for playing the role of Lois in Kiss Me Kate on the Wheelock stage, so heading back to see a show I wrote on that very same stage, is super exciting. So, three cheers for Helen at Wheelock! Check back for more about our trip.
And if you happen to be in the Boston area on Friday, come check it out! The details follow:
Musical Theatre Student Performance: Friday August 15 at 6:30
Helen on 86th St.
Book and Lyrics by Nicole Kempskie. Music by Robby Stamper. Based on the New Yorker story by Wendi Kaufman. Directed by Ilyse Robbins and John O’Neil.
Based on a short story by celebrated author and playwright Wendi Kaufman, the musical Helen on 86th St. follows Vita Calista, a vibrant and unique 12-year old girl, as she learns to cope with an absent father, a single mother, a disappointing role in the school production of The Trojan Horse, and the daily pressures of being a tween growing up in New York City. It’s a story of loss, longing and acceptance, as seen through the eyes of a young girl wise beyond her years, which like the epic Greek stories it interweaves, carries a message of hope and redemption that resonates with people of all ages.
Wheelock Family Theatre’s Advanced Performance Intensive in Musical Theatre is comprised of actors ages 10 and older who have not yet entered high school. The 2 week program culminates with a fully staged public performance of the musical Helen on 86th Street on the WFT main stage. Students in the intensive prepare for a final performance through daily movement, music, acting, and technical exercises combined with in-depth rehearsals. In addition, the work will concentrate particularly on two aspects of character development: immersing a character in song and physicalizing a character.