In show business, they say, the show must go on – even if it’s years later.
After a 10-year hiatus, Secaucus’ community theater program, known as CAST, will put on its first stage production in October with auditions taking place on May 3 and 4.
The cross-generational musical variety production will, according to co-producer Pat DeFerrari, feature singing, dancing, and music to showcase the town’s “deep theater talent pool.”
“I expect to have a wonderful group of about 30 adults and children as young as 12,” said DeFerrari. “We’ve always been about to find an amazing, musically talented group. I don’t expect to have trouble finding good talent for the show.”
“I expect to have a wonderful group of about 30 adults and children as young as 12.” – Pat DeFerrari
On May 3 DeFerrari, co-producer Joan Kashuba, and director Michael Griffo will hold auditions for singers, which will be followed up the following day with auditions for dancers on May 4. Callbacks will be held on May 11.
“After the show has been cast, we’ll send everyone home with a CD of music. They’ll also be given sheet music. And every one will be told to learn it,” said DeFerrari. “Then, we’ll come back together in September for intensive rehearsals. That’s also when the cast will learn the choreography.”
“We expect to have people from every walk of life helping us,” said co-producer Kashuba. “Already, we’ve had engineers, teachers, and architects volunteering to help us backstage. So, even if you aren’t in the show you can be part of the show.”
Many young people who performed in CAST’s earlier incarnation, which lasted from 1983 through 1997, are now grown but hope to perform in the upcoming fall show as adults.
“CAST was a great experience,” said Nico Jandreau, a student at U. Mass. and a graduate of Secaucus High School. “I hope to do some vocal training with the male actors and work on lighting design. It is different to be behind the scenes but totally worth it. I think that everyone can act but they just need a little guidance. This program gives them that, helps them believe they can.”
Jandreau, who is now a theater major, said performing in CAST shows as a teen enabled him to “encompasses my love of dance, drama, music, and visual arts…It gave me experiences that helped bridge many aspects of theater and allowed me to figure out which part I was most interested in studying.”
Jandreau’s theater concentration is in lighting and set design.
Because the show, fittingly titled “The show Must Go On,” is a musical variety, and not a standard scripted show such as “Guys and Dolls,” or “South Pacific,” it will pose unique challenges, DeFerrari said.
“You can do what you want with a musical variety. You can dress it up or dress it down. We’re dressing it down. But that means there will be an even greater emphasis on everything else – the quality of the music, singing, and choreography,” she said.
The show’s heavy reliance on just the basics will pose challenges for the cast.
“That can be more difficult for the performers, because the show doesn’t rely on dialog between lead characters, with everyone else doing one or two songs,” said Assistant Director Maleesa Lamatina. “Most songs involve the ensemble, so there’s more for them to memorize.”
Jody Jaron, director of the Garden State Ballet and summer stock theater who will be assisting CAST with choreography said, “For some of the younger performers, community theater can act as a feeder program. If you get the younger kids used to professional-level training, they come back the next year with a different perspective on what it takes to audition and perform well.”
“Hopefully CAST can offer a quality experience and set the bar high for older teens so they’re ready to major in theater or audition for summer stock, because community theater is a feeder for that, too,” added Jaron, who has directed 13 musicals at Secaucus High School.
“The Show Must Go On” will be performed at the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center on Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday Oct. 22. Show times will be announced in the fall.
Auditions for singers will be held on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 p.m. A separate audition for dancers will be held on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. Both auditions will be held at the Secaucus Senior Center at 101 Centre Ave. Callbacks will be held on Wednesday May 11. Singers are asked to bring 16 bars of Broadway music to the audition. Performers must be at least 12 years old to audition.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.