What do you do when the director who revived your theater program takes a job elsewhere?
If you’re students at Peekskill High School, you try your hand at Shakespeare.
This weekend, students will present “An Evening With Shakespeare,” some of the bard’s most famous scenes.
There’s Hamlet’s soliloquy and the “get thee to a nunnery” scene. There’s the balcony scene from “Romeo & Juliet,” Caesar’s murder and Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen” speech that follows (above, in a photo by Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News), and scenes from “Othello” and “The Taming of the Shrew.”
All acted by those who had never spoken Shakespeare’s lines before. (Photo of by Carucha Meuse/The Journal News.)
Director Richard Gonzalez — hired to stage the production after Scarlett Antonia started a resident company at Peekskill’s Paramount Center for the Arts — says the students chose their scenes and did all the heavy lifting of memorizing and finding the meaning in the centuries-old words.
“I told them they had complete artistic freedom to use modern dress and modern speech, but they decided to use the old English and period costumes,” Gonzalez says at a dress rehearsal. “They’ve done their best.”
Alex Velez-Green, a senior, plays Hamlet to Samantha Torres’ Ophelia in a scene that involves the great Dane treating the girl shabbily. It takes a lot of work, Velez-Green says, because he and Torres are good friends. (Photo of Torres and Velez-Green by Carucha Meuse/The Journal News.)
Stephanie Gil says watching that scene is pretty emotional.
“I watched it last week and a tear actually came out of my eye,” says the sophomore, who plays Juliet in the balcony scene. “I was, like, ‘He’s being so mean to her and she’s so depressed. This is just so wrong.’ ”
Velez-Green says the soliloquy, which starts “To be or not to be,” was not difficult to memorize.
“The words themselves I don’t fumble over as much, but the feeling behind them I’m trying to get down,” the senior says.
Ay, there’s the rub.
“An Evening With Shakespeare,” 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $12, $8 students with ID, $5 for seniors and students, children under 5 free. Peekskill High School, 1072 Elm St., Peekskill. “An Evening with Shakespeare” features: Ryan Agosta, Camille Anthony, Danny Bush, Hashim Campbell, Jessica Curtin, Nick DeChristopher, Jason Dick, Emma Doherty, Christian Garrido, Stephanie Gil, Jamil Gutierrez, Kimberly Carlo, Valerie Kropf, Vertis McMillan, Edgar Paul Pauta, Lauren Prairrie, Samantha Torres, Robinson Vasquez, Alex Velez-Green
The kids at the Children’s Shakespeare Theatre in Palisades are old hands at the bard, and they’re not shy about taking Shakespeare out of his comfort zone. Consider that that this weekend and next they’ll present “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” billed as a “sumptuous, elegant show full of magic, love and delightful insanity.” Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 12. $12, $10 seniors and students, $8 for children. At the Palisades Presbyterian Church, 117 Washington Spring Road, Palisades. 845-365-9709.
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are past, Thursday night marks Food Bank Thursday, with a benefit performance of Bedford Community Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol, the Musical.” A 7 p.m. preshow champagne reception offers a chance to meet the creative team before the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $50 to $100, with show-only tickets $30. All proceeds go to the Food Bank for Westchester, a network fighting hunger in the county. If you miss the benefit, remaining performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 3 pm. Sunday. Tickets to nonbenefit performances are $18. At Bedford Hills Community House, 74 Main St., Bedford Hills. 914-244-0474 or www.bedfordcommunitytheatre.org. (David Seven-Sky of Ossining plays Ebenezer Scrooge. Photo by Angela Gaul/The Journal News)
Thursday night’s performance of Target Margin Theater’s “The Really Big Once” closes out 2009 for Anna Becker’s Insights & Revelations Performance Series at the Emelin Theatre. The show mixes journal entries and notes from Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan, scenes from their collaboration on the failed play “Camino Real,” and Kazan’s testimony before the McCarthy hearings in sort of a collage on collaboration, alienation and time. Thursday at 8. $25. At the Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck. 914-698-0098. www.emelin.org.
Larchmont’s John Treacy Egan moonlights from Broadway’s “Bye, Bye Birdie” at his home away from home, the Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown, where he is an impresario of sorts. He’s been booking the swank room high above the Hudson for nearly a year now — they call it Cabaret at the Castle — and he will hold forth there the next two Sundays, singing old favorites and songs from his new CD, “On Christmas Morning,” which is on iTunes and cdbaby.com. $100 per person includes dinner in the Equus restaurant at 6, show at 8. $50 for the Viennese (dessert) table at 7:15 p.m. $30 for the show only. Castle on the Hudson, 400 Benedict Ave., Tarrytown. 914-631-3646. www.castleonthehudson.com.
Westchester Broadway Theatre’s holiday show, “The Christmas Voyager,” is now on stage at the Elmsford dinner theater. Written by WBT’s late great Bob Fitzsimmons, it’s the story of a time-traveling Star Man in search of the origins of Christmas and features favorite holiday songs and a served meal. At 1 Broadway Plaza, Elmsford. 914-592-2222. www.broadwaytheatre.com.
Croton Falls meets Bedford Falls as The Schoolhouse Theater turns its stage over to Christian Thom, who does a one-man version of Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. “You won’t believe his Donna Reed,” says Schoolhouse artistic director Pamela Moller Kareman. $15. At 3 Owens Road, Croton Falls. 914-277-8477.
Helen Hayes Youth Theater presents “Rent: School Edition” — with a Pulitzer Prize-winning book and music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. At 7 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and Dec. 11 and 12 at Riverspace in downtown Nyack. $15. 866-811-4111. www.helenhayesyouththeater.com.
Grammy winner Al Jarreau sings “Holidays & Hits” at the Paramount in Peekskill at 8 p.m. Saturday. He’ll sing from his first Christmas album, “Al Jarreau — Christmas” and from his long list of hits. $45 to $65. At Paramount Center for the Arts, 1008 Brown St., Peekskill, 914-739-2333. www.paramountcenter.org.
You want your cigarettes? Greenville Community Theater is proud to present Dale Wasserman’s “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” Dec. 2 through 6. Performances are Dec. 2-5 at 8 and Dec. 6 at 2. Directed by Michael N. Ferrara assisted by Judie Phillips, “Cuckoo’s Nest” features Danielle Budde Cavazzi, Glenn Cavazzi, Kevin Cullen, Jean Eifert, Peter Franzoso, Peter Gehn, John Geil, Richard Gilbert, Richard Gould, Scott Griffith, Stewart Hanges, Joshua Judin, Gregory McCormack, Elizabeth Mortiz, Anotonio D. Soares, Jr., Lewis Sunderland and Liza Warner. At the Edgemont High School Theater on White Oak Lane, Scarsdale. $15 ($10 for Dec. 2), $13 for seniors and students. Group discounts available. 914-636-2863.