Over the next two weekends, Nyack High School presents a Stephen Flaherty-Lynn Ahrens musical, but not one of the usual suspects.
Several productions of the team’s “Seussical” and “Once on This Island” have graced high school stages across the Lower Hudson Valley. New Rochelle High School even mounted “Ragtime,” a show in which that city figured prominently.
But Nyack director Joseph Egan has chosen “My Favorite Year,” an early, short-lived Flaherty-Ahrens musical based on the 1982 film of the same name.
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Set in 1954, it’s about Benjy Stone, a freshman sketch writer on the popular TV variety show “King Kaiser Comedy Cavalcade” — think Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows” — who is tasked with keeping a boozing, womanizing faded matinee idol, Alan Swann — think Errol Flynn — away from girls and the bottle just long enough to appear on the show.
Andrea Martin won a 1993 Tony Award for her portrayal of comedy writer Alice Miller — think Imogene Coca — in a production that ran just a month on Broadway, closing Jan 10, 1993.
Recent years have seen Nyack productions of “Cats,” “Titanic,” a ground-breaking “Phantom of the Opera” and last year’s “Disco Inferno.”
Senior Colin Brophy, 18, plays the mild-mannered Stone, a man surrounded by larger-than-life characters.
There’s big King Kaiser his boss (Michael Forrest) and his big mom (Emily McCloskey). Even his Uncle Morty (Martin Reinhardsen) and Aunt Sadie (Hannah Greenberg) are large personalities. And there’s Swann, the drunken has-been who is his idol.
If Benjy seems understated in a room full of outsized characters, Brophy says that’s how he is, too.
“This was the part I wanted and it suits me,” he says. “He’s not a phantom, he’s not a rock star in London and he’s not on a sinking ship. He’s an everyday guy. For me, it’s fun to do a real person.”
The audience will be rooting for Benjy, who finds an escape in Alan Swann’s films but can’t separate the person from the persona.
Senior Matt Glover plays Swann, a “very faulted” character.
(In the film, Peter O’Toole played Swann.)
“When I first heard about the part, I said it was the part I wanted,” he says. “I thought I could get my emotion out on him as a character and really try to get the audience into it. That’s all an actor can do.”
For much of the action, the audience isn’t going to like the Hollywood legend.
“That’s true,” Glover says. “But I’m also his hero, so they’ll also see that in me. But I’m constantly disappointing them, so it’s an emotional roller-coaster of I-do-like-him, I-don’t-like-him, I-do-like-him.”
Emily McCloskey, 16, a junior, plays Benjy’s mother, Belle Mae Steinberg Carroca.
“She’s a very big, exuberant character, with a crazy Filipino husband, a former boxer,” she says. “She says whatever comes to her mind.”
“When Alan Swann comes over, I try to be perfect and very fancy, even though I’m not,” she says.
McCloskey is so soft-spoken in conversation, one has to lean in to hear her. But when she’s playing Mae, she’s foghorn loud, with a wild Brooklyn accent.
“Me and my mom would always do that accent around the house, so when I went to the audition and they asked me to do it, I was like ‘I know that accent,’” McCloskey says
She says thinking of her best friend’s mom helps her on stage.
“She’s a lot like the character,” McCloskey says. “She’s big and loud and funny.”
Senior Edy Modica, 17, who played Christine in Nyack’s “Phantom,” plays Alice, the wise-cracking comedy writer.
“I love playing her,” she says, adding that being the lone woman in a male-dominated writer’s room is “how it is normally.”
In “Professional Showbizness Comedy,” Alice’s big number, she gets to have one gag on the TV show — and won’t settle for less.
It’s a literal show-stopper, Modica says, with Spanish gypsy music and hobos.
Playing for laughs — after the seriousness of her roles in “Phantom” and “Disco Inferno” — is “funny and loud, completely like me.”
The show’s finale is fittingly raucous, madcap and over-the-top.
“I’m really excited about that,” Glover says.
What: “My Favorite Year”
Where: Nyack High School, Christian Herald Road, Upper Nyack.
When: 8 p.m. March 12, 13, 19, 20; 2 p.m. March 14, 20.
Tickets: $12; $7 students; seniors free
With: Colin Brophy, Michael Forrest, Benjamin Birkeland, Edy Modica, James Greenberg, Caroline Cummings, Christian Rulon, Matthew Glover, Emily McCloskey, Jeremy Gottfried, Georgette Vaillancourt, Martin Reinhardsen, Hannah Greenberg, Bianca Albanese, Olivia Chanyungco, Lyle Oberman, Alec Biello, Talia Bosley, Alana Brolly, Carl Brooks, Kim Edelsberg, Justin Green, Christopher Guardaro, Christopher Lazarus, Tyler Moson, Alexandra Nikotina, Lucas Ruderman, Olivia Silarski, Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, Emily Spezial, Alexa Tombs, Veronica Torres, Hannah Towers, Scott Guinn, Emma Caster-Dudzick, Samantha Long, Sam Demarest, Aniessa Sencen, Gabriel Becker, Lydia Meehan, Brittany Raglin, Brittany Petronella, Taylor Soriano, Catie Bausinger, Maggie Becker, Abby Bell, Jonas Black, Emile Boyd, Charles Caster-Dudzick, Dana Farris, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Evan Glover, Maurice Hybel, Kara Lubeck, Morgan Pullen, David Aguasca, Allana Gauzza, Jocelyn Hahn, Camille Yongue, Nick Baere, Alex Busch, Ross Richter, Alex Hahn, Justin Green, Miranda Means, Adam Straus, Alex Weigel, Jonathan Rizner, Adrian Singleton, Ben Grange, Sam Rizner, Ethan Cohen