Musical will be last before theater’s 18-month, $8-million renovation
The Gaiety Theater in Deadrock, Nev., is on its last legs. A foreclosing banker is on his way from New York.
If only there were a song-and-dance white knight with a big idea, who had access to cash. Enter Bobby Child, the singing, dancing foreclosing New York banker.
That, in a nutshell, is the plot of “Crazy for You,” the Gershwin musical that comes to Bronxville High School this week with songs from “I Got Rhythm” to “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” The cast of 40 students will be tapping up a storm.
The real-life story of Bronxville High School’s auditorium, built in 1924 and renovated in 1959, has elements that mirror “Crazy for You.” It is on its last legs, having hosted generations of musicals, concerts and meetings. The paint is peeling, the balcony shut for safety reasons, the lighting and sound housed in a makeshift area. But there’e no foreclosure hanging over the hall. The $8 million to fix it up is already in the bank, with no song-and-dance required.
The Board of Education, the school’s foundation, the PTA and Bronxville’s taxpayers are the white knights, footing the bill for the 18-month, floor-to-ceiling renovation that will begin as soon as “Crazy for You” closes and its set is struck. The Gaiety Theater disappears on Sunday; a new Bronxville High School theater will begin to rise the next day.
A glass box-office atrium and art gallery, a sound and lighting booth and a new balcony will be added. Air-conditioning will be installed and the acoustics improved. While the auditorium’s footprint won’t change, the stage space behind the curtain will actually shrink, as the original 1924 proscenium is restored. This will mean that concerts can be staged with a curtain as a backdrop. The auditorium’s original stained-glass windows — covered over at some point to make blackouts possible — will be restored, with blackout curtains installed.
“I think this auditorium is going to become a landmark in Bronxville,” says director Peter Royal. “The architect’s design is wonderful for drama and music. It’s going to look beautiful, but it’s going to function well. This is the most public space in the district, which is all in one building.”
While the state-of-the-art auditorium will be grander, it will have fewer seats, says Royal, going from 624 to 500.
“With new regulations, the seats have to be wider, the rake (the angle of the seating area in relation to the stage) has to be steeper,” Royal says.
The renovation will make next year’s musical a moveable feast, with Royal investigating performance spaces at Sarah Lawrence or Concordia colleges.
“It has to be somewhere nearby, but we’re still investigating,” he says.
For now, though, there’s a show to stage, with senior Spencer Borwick playing Bobby, appearing in his first musical. He’s not a stranger to music, though, having studied opera for years.
Next year, Borwick plans to go to college and pursue a Bobby Child-like course of study: “I’m looking at economics and musical performance as my two huge interests.”
‘Crazy for You,’ Bronxville High School, 177 Pondfield Road, Bronxville. 5 p.m., Feb. 6; 7 p.m., Feb. 7 and 8; open dress rehearsal, free for senior citizens, 5 p.m., Feb. 5. $10. 914-961-8822; On Facebook. With: Caroline Schetlick, Thomas Neville, Spencer Borwick, Katie Toal, Becca Blanco, Jim Grant, Frankie Gallo, Matthias Ribka, Kenny Xue, Alex Szor, Christina Weiler, Chase Judkins, Caroline Dent, Maddie Coyne, Natalie Arenzon, Alexis Petnuch, Nicolette Petnuch, Emily Kowalski, Kylie Regan, Emma Versaj, Will Tague, Jamie Carroll, Rachel Bothwell, Grayson Elder, Yasmeen Fahr, Lauren Gray, Emma McKinnon, Ally Minoli, Hiroko Mitsui, Michelle Moriarty, Natascha Puri, Dryden Quigley, Sonora Rivera-Heinz, Olivia Samios, Alexa Shepard, Grace Winant, Ariana Sher, Morgan Taylor.
Here’s my Running Lines video from Bronxville. Enjoy!