Get ready for a peek behind the curtain! The Gunnery Drama Society will present its fall play, “Backstage,” a comedy by Pat Cook, November 7, 8 and 9 in the Lemcke Theater of the Emerson Performing Arts Center. All performances are at 7 p.m. The community is welcome to attend. Admission is free and no reservations are required.
“Backstage” offers a behind-the-scenes look at what happens backstage at one particular play. As Pioneer Drama Service describes it: “Sometimes there is more drama than the theatrics onstage, especially when the star of the play, one-time matinee idol Burton Cavendish, suddenly dies an hour before the premiere of ‘Don Juan in Cleveland.’ Lou, the director, calls on Ajax, the understudy, to fill in.” The catch? “Ajax must play Cavendish both on and off stage. It will be Ajax's greatest performance. ‘But,’ Lou tells him, ‘You can never tell anyone!’ Ajax reluctantly agrees, only to face nasty critics, doting mothers, and one very large goon sent to collect a bundle from the Great Man. Lines and plot twists fly faster than bullets in this theatrical farce where over-the-hill prima donnas reign, or think they do, and most of the rest of the cast are betting on who comes out on top.”
Producer Sarah Albright said the script was selected for several reasons, but primarily because it highlights many of the Drama Society’s actors so well. “We also try to balance out the fall and winter– we knew we’d be doing a serious musical, so we wanted a funny play,” she said, referring to the drama society’s announcement that the first winter musical to be presented in the Tisch Family Auditorium of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center will be “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” based on the novel by Victor Hugo.
In addition, Albright said of the fall play: “The comedic opportunities in this show are fantastic, and our students are really rising to the occasion. The show is one funny moment after the next, and the quick pace and mix of physical comedy and wordplay make it so that the audience barely knows where to look on the stage.”
The cast of “Backstage” features Sam Schreiber ’20 as Lou and Travis Powell ’20 as Ajax, with Max Farrar ’21 as Max, Tiffany Martinez ’21 as Claire, Alex Zhang ’20 as Mercedes, Izzie DiGiacomo ’20 as Polly, Henry Barthelemy ’21 as Efrem, Erin Ryan ’21 as Yolanda, Sheridan Curry ’22 as Skippy, Sasha Pastoukhova Valdez ’22 as Ginger, and Kaylee Alexson ’21 as Alice.
Goose and crew are portrayed by Hailey Lovallo ’21, Acadia Johnson ’21, Natalie Perkins ’22,
Ishan Vaddadi ’22 and Quinn Hedden ’23. Gwen Brown ’20 is Ms. Oberclaw, Lauren Stark ’21 is Hattie, Gianna Russillo ’20 is Taylor and Buckley Huffstetler ’20 is Pete. Gloria Wang ’23 also joins the cast as the choreographer; the dancers are Lin Zhou ’23, Isabel Martin ’20, Maggie Xiang ’21 and Yolanda Wang ’21, and the accompanist is Noah Ram ’23.
Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.