AOS Sweet Charity programme Autumn 2014


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Programme for AOS Sweet Charity Autumn 2014

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Abingdon Operatic Society The Amey Theatre Abingdon School OX14 1DE 7:30pm each night Mon 27 October Sat 1 November 2014


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“The minute you walked in the joint I could see you were a man of distinction. A real BIG spender. Good-looking, refined. so Say wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?”


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Abingdon Operatic Society PRESENTS Sweet Charity Book by Neil Simon Music by Cy Coleman Lyrics by Dorothy Fields Based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano Produced for the Broadway stage by: Fryer, Carr and Harris Conceived, Staged and Choreographed by Bob Fosse Originally Produced on Broadway By David Merrick This amateur production by arrangement with MusicScope and Stage Musicals Limited of New York Director - Joy Skeels Musical Director - Mark Denton Choreographer - Gemma Hough THERE WILL BE AN INTERVAL OF TWENTY MINUTES BETWEEN THE ACTS PLEASE ENSURE THAT ALL MOBILE PHONES ARE SWITCHED OFF The use of all cameras, video and audio equipment is prohibited PLEASE NOTE THAT SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE ON ABINGDON SCHOOL PREMISES, INCLUDING ALL OUTSIDE AREAS For lost property enquiries please call 01235 526106 Refreshments are available in the foyer conservatory


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Message from the Chairman ~ John Nye W elcome to tonight’s performance of Sweet Charity. Sweet Charity first emerged in the ‘swinging sixties’ and was brought to the public by the great Bob Fosse; any mention of his name and you know there will be dancing. It is a pleasure to welcome Joy Skeels, our Director, who has appeared regularly on our stage, but who last directed the Society in our 2012 production of Crazy for You. We warmly welcome too, Mark Denton; again someone who has graced our stage over more years than he would prefer me to mention, and a very experienced Musical Director, but wielding the baton for AOS for the first (and it won’t be the last) time. The third member of our production triumvirate is Gemma Hough, our choreographer, making a most welcome return, after there has hardly been time for her last routine from 42nd Street to fade in the memory. Sweet Charity broke the mould when it (or rather she) appeared. Whilst operas had sometimes explored the seedier sides of life, musicals had rarely delved into the same issues. If you already know Charity Hope Valentine, you’ll know what I mean, but if not, be prepared for a few surprises along the way! And of course, there are the very well-known songs which may leave you thinking, ‘I never knew that’s where it came from’. All dancing, all singing, and with plenty of humour, you are about to be transported to a time and place where flower power was the rage. We have had a great deal of fun rehearsing the show, and we will have just as much pleasure bringing it to you. Looking to the future, there are very different offerings in the pipeline. In the Spring, we invite you to The Sound of Music, and in a year’s time, Copacabana. Returning to tonight, our heroine is in search of love, so sit back and allow the ‘rhythm of life’ to enfold you. If you would like to become a member of AOS, please contact the Membership Secretary by emailing 2


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Director ~ Joy Skeels F irst, let me echo our chairman’s welcome to the show. There are many people who like to believe that without them the show can’t go on, but in the case of you, our audience, this is especially true. Thank you for coming out tonight and supporting us. I hope you enjoy watching Sweet Charity as much as I have enjoyed directing it. This is the second show I have directed for AOS – the first was our 2012 production of Crazy For You – and I have to say that I’m still struggling to get used to it. Having spent over thirty years putting on make up, stepping into (hopefully gorgeous) costumes and standing in the spotlight, this business of not being on stage all week is a big adjustment. So how does the old saying go? – ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. That’s certainly been true in my case. My first principal role in musical theatre (which I actually stole from my mother) was Marsinah in Kismet for Rugeley Operatic Society and I was 16 years old on the last night. Since then I’ve managed to fit in more than thirty-six leading roles, including Calamity (Calamity Jane) – twice, Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady) – three times, Sally Brown (Me & My Girl), Polly Baker (Crazy For You) and most recently, in the AOS April 2014 production, Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street. I think you could say that I’ve had more than my fair share of the spotlight. So, with all this experience, what do I bring to my new role as a director? First, from the many wonderful directors I’ve worked with over the years, I’ve tried to create a mosaic of all the best ideas I’ve seen. I also know exactly how it feels to be centre stage for the whole evening, or in the back row of the chorus – and I know that both these roles are vital to the show’s success. Finally, I hope I’ve learnt to have a light touch, allowing people to run with their own ideas when they’re good, and gently adding my own view when needed. And what’s the ideal result? A successful show is a happy one. When the dressing rooms are buzzing with chatter and laughter, when the backstage crew are smiling, and when the audience (that’s you) are enjoying themselves even more than us. That’s my wish for Sweet Charity this week. 3


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Musical Director ~ Mark Denton M ark’s passion for music began as a chorister with Pembroke College Choir, Oxford. His musical education was developed as a music scholar at Magdalen College School after which he studied Performing Arts at Middlesex University. He spent many years in Australia teaching peripatetic brass and piano lessons and conducting choral and instrumental ensembles in independent schools. Since gaining his Diploma in Education from The University of Queensland in 2010 he has worked as a secondary school music teacher. This is Mark’s sixth show with AOS although his first as Musical Director. He appeared in 42nd Street, Half a Sixpence, The Mikado, Irene and as Kurt in the Society’s 1983 production of The Sound of Music! When not teaching music Mark enjoys writing his own songs and has recently released a CD of original swing material in the style of Michael Bublé. Choreographer ~ Gemma Hough emma graduated from Middlesex University in London where she studied Performing Arts – majoring in Dance. She has choreographed many shows locally over the years including Copacabana, 42nd Street, Crazy for You, Oliver!, Singing in the Rain, The Producers, Beauty and the Beast and La Cage Aux Folles, to name but a few. This is Gemma’s second show with AOS after choreographing the last show, 42nd Street. She has thoroughly enjoyed working with the friendly and enthusiastic cast and she apologises to them for shouting and whipping them into shape. emma has also performed frequently on stage over the years, her most memorable roles being Kathy (Singing in the Rain), Peggy (42nd Street), Polly (Crazy for You), Millie (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and Lola (Copacabana). Professional credits include ‘Jeeves and Wooster’, ‘Countdown to Murder’, ‘Soldier’s Wife’ and a series with Heston Blumenthal. She also performs with the ‘Dolly Mixtures’ a professional singing group which sings songs from the 1930s to 1960s. 4 G G


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Sweet Charity ~ A Synopsis C harity Hope Valentine is a girl, or more accurately a woman, employed as a hostess at a New York dance hall in the mid-1960's. Inside the Fan-Dango Ballroom, Charity’s best friends are streetwise hostesses who often share their cynical advice about love and occasionally their long abandoned dreams, while Herman (the rough dance-hall manager the girls affectionately refer to as "Der Fuhrer") makes sure the customers get what they've paid for. Vittorio Vidal, while he reconciles with his beautiful jet-set girlfriend. Charity's apparent chance for happiness comes when the fickle finger of fate traps her in an elevator with a claustrophobic tax accountant named Oscar Lindquist, who also seems to be in search of that certain "something". Charity joins Oscar as he attends a service at the Rhythm of Life Church led by the Reverend Daddy Brubeck, the spiritual Original Broadway cast of Gwen Verdon (Charity), leader of a former San Helen Gallagher (Nickie) and Thelma Oliver (Helene). Outside the dance hall, Francisco jazz group Charity's innocence turned religious cult. and vulnerability is repeatedly taken Romance ensues only to falter when Oscar advantage of by con artists, panhandlers, discovers Charity's true occupation and and even a boyfriend who pushes her into dating history. a lake while stealing her life's savings. But Through trials and tribulations, sweet our heroine does manage a fleeting glimpse Charity continues searching for love, wideof fame when she unexpectedly spends the eyed and hopeful. night in the closet of the Italian screen idol, National Operatic & Dramatic Association A bingdon Operatic Society is very proud to be a member of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and you may notice a number of the members of our front-of-house team wearing their NODA long service medals tonight. NODA’s vision is that amateur theatre should be successful and sustainable, providing a range of opportunities for people to develop their skills and enjoy taking part, at all levels. They support the education and information needs of individuals and groups, contributing greatly to the continued success of amateur theatre in the UK. As usual, a NODA representative will be attending the show during this week and feeding back on the production with the helpful and much anticipated ‘NODA crit’ — a review of the performance and all aspects of the production. 5


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Q&A W hen did you first start in musical theatre? I was exposed to musical theatre from a very young age as my Mum and Dad were both regular performers with Exmouth Operatic Society. I would see all of their shows and often used to go along to rehearsals too. I never thought that I would actually go on stage myself. However, when the Society put on South Pacific, they were looking for youngsters to play the parts of Emile de Becque’s children, and that’s when I landed my first role – Jerome de Becque, at the tender age of twelve! What are the favourite parts you’ve played? I have been lucky enough to play lots of ‘Daddy’ Kevin Pope great parts; I guess my favourites would be: Big Jule in Guys and Dolls – cool, mean and I loved the cigar; Mr Fogg in Pickwick – old, doddery and humble; the Major General in Pirates – it was great to do the patter song in front of a s l i d e show; Over the last decade, AOS audiences have regularly laughed at Kevin – and he’s thoroughly enjoyed their laughter. So is it true that behind every clown there’s a tragic figure struggling to get out? We suspect not, but thought we’d ask anyway.


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and Ko-Ko in Mikado – just an all-round great character to play. I also enjoy being a character in the chorus - I had so much fun playing the drunkard during the pub scene in Oliver! So what attracts you to a part? The part has to be a strong character – someone to whom the audience will react. Normally that is why I enjoy playing comedy roles, but that is not always the case. I also enjoy playing disagreeable characters, such as Jigger in Carousel, or Ted Blacklock, the union leader in The Hired Man. Another thing that is important is that the part must not require any serious dancing. I can move, but precise dancing has never been my forte! How do you prepare for auditions? I look at the audition piece and try to find a part in it that, if portrayed in a particular way, could get a strong response from the audience. Having said that, I often have great ideas about how I will say a particular line, but when it comes to the audition, nerves come into play, and it often doesn’t come out the way I intended it at all! So do you enjoy rehearsals? I do. It’s great fun to be ‘working’ with friends, putting everything together to create a show. I enjoy seeing how the show develops over the rehearsal period. From the initial singing rehearsals, where we learn the individual voice parts, and then combine them to produce full harmonies. Also, how often chaotic early dance steps miraculously evolve into well-ordered dance routines. (Or, in my case, evolve into slightly-lesschaotic dance steps!) Do you find that your character changes during the rehearsal process? Yes, the character evolves over the duration of the rehearsals. You start with initial ideas of how to play the role, and during rehearsals you may experiment with ways to say or portray certain aspects. Some things work and some don’t, and so you try to incorporate all the best bits. Do you enjoy show week? Absolutely. Show week is the culmination of all the hard work. I usually get nervous before first going on to the stage. However, once you have come on, and things are going well, the feeling is tremendous. It is always great when you get that first laugh from the 7 audience. You know that you have made a connection. Then this encourages you to put more into your performance, which is rewarded by more reaction. It is a two-way thing. When you have a good relationship with the audience the feeling can be awesome. Do you have a pre-show routine? Before going onstage for the first time I like to find a quiet corner somewhere backstage where I can go over my lines in my head. I don’t know if it actually helps. I know it’s not 100% reliable! How do you feel on Saturday night when the curtains close? There is always a strong mix of emotions when the final curtain closes. You are on an emotional high at the end of the finale. There is relief that the show went well, and there is disappointment when you realise that you won’t get the chance to say that favourite line, or sing that song again in the show. But, as you make your way back to the dressing room, you realise that following a week’s break, you will be back at the first rehearsal for the next show, and the whole process will start all over again!


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Principal Cast in order of first appearance Charity Hope Valentine Helene Nickie Carmen Herman Ursula March Vittorio Vidal Oscar Lindquist Daddy Brubeck Rosie Tara Hunter Kerry Callaghan Kate Brock Sarah Hunt Adrian Amstead Cate Davis Dave Cousin Simon Blainey Kevin Pope Jenna Elliott CHORUS Alice Aldous, Alistair Ballard-Martin, Kat Ballard-Martin, Lucy Bent, Rob Bertwistle, Anne Blagrove, Di Bryan, Beverley Burnham, Katie Cook, Alastair Cooper, Barbara Denton, Jane Digby, Julian Digby, Kerri Dixon, Valerie Findlay, Linda Harris, Helen Hawkins, James Hellem, Laura Huang, Laura Hughes, Phil Hughes, Stephanie Nash, John Nye, Rebecca Peberdy, Jo Pickering, Jon Ridley, Lizzie Slater, Sarahjayne Smith, Stephen Webb, James White, Debbie Wilde THE ORCHESTRA Reed 1 Reed 2 Reed 3 Reed 4 Reed 5 Trumpet Trumpet Trombone Trombone Keyboard 1 Keyboard 2 Guitar Bass Kit Percussion 8 Lorna Edwards Claire Thomas Joanna Rhind-Tutt Joel Thomas Glyn Williams Luke Scott Rob Cooper Huw James Malcolm Gunningham Denise Evans Sue Payne Gary Mullins Mark Hooper Dave Hadland Chris Fletcher-Campbell


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Musical Numbers ACT I Scene 1 ~ The Park by the Lake You Should See Yourself Charity Scene 2 ~ The Hostess Room of the Fan-Dango Ballroom Scene 3 ~ The Fan-Dango Ballroom Big Spender Nickie, Helene and Girls Charity’s Soliloquy Charity Scene 4 ~ A New York Street in front of the Pompeii Club Scene 5 ~ Interior of the Pompeii Club Rich Man’s Frug Dancers Scene 6 ~ Vittorio Vidal’s Apartment If My Friends Could See Me Now Charity Too Many Tomorrows Vittorio Vidal Scene 7 ~ The Hostess Room There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This Nickie, Helene, Charity Scene 8 ~ The 92ND Street “Y” Elevator I’m The Bravest Individual Charity, Oscar TWENTY MINUTE INTERVAL 9 ACT II Scene 1 ~ The 92ND Street “Y” Elevator Scene 2 ~ The Rhythm of Life Church The Rhythm Of Life Daddy Brubeck and Chorus Scene 3 ~ Going Crosstown Scene 4 ~ Charity’s Apartment Baby Dream Your Dream Nickie, Helene Scene 5 ~ Coney Island Sweet Charity Oscar and Chorus Scene 6 ~ Fan-Dango Ballroom Big Spender - Reprise Helene and Girls Scene 7 ~ Times Square Where Am I Going Charity Scene 7 ~ Barney’s Chile Hacienda Scene 9 ~ I’m A Brass Band Charity Scene 10 ~ The Fan-Dango Ballroom I Love To Cry At Weddings Herman, Nickie, Rosie, Helene and Chorus Scene 11 ~ The Park FINALE


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Charity Tara Hunter Charity Valentine is Tara's first principal role and Sweet Charity is her sixth show with AOS. You may have seen her last tapping away on those NOT so large coins as Ethel in 42nd Street. Tara was stage-struck after being taken to her first West End musical aged four; since then she has had a great love of performing and musical theatre. When she's not busy with rehearsals or committee duties, Tara works full time as a head colourist in a busy Oxford hairdressers. She says that, "the last six months have been great fun, working with an amazingly talented production team, cast and crew." Tara is extremely excited to be playing a challenging yet wonderful role as Charity. Oscar Simon Blainey This is Simon’s tenth show with AOS and he feels very privileged to be playing Oscar, which is his biggest role so far. Having joined the Society for Anything Goes in 2010 to help alleviate a shortage of men, he was well and truly bitten by the musical theatre bug and hasn’t missed a show since. Away from AOS Simon has enjoyed singing with several choirs in recent years, including one whose debut performance was at a transport economics conference, an unexpected consequence of his day job as a lecturer in transportation at the University of Southampton. Charity and Oscar’s brief trip on a subway train means that Sweet Charity has further blurred the boundaries between work and leisure! Nickie Kate Brock Kate had a fantastic time playing Peggy Sawyer in the Society’s last production, 42nd Street. You could say she’s now swapped tapping for taxi-dancing (!) and is looking forward to taking on the role of Nickie. During her teens Kate was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre; favourite roles include Joan of Arc and a vampire in a rock musical. She also does a good line in fairies, having previously played Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Iolanthe (Iolanthe, Oxford University G&S Society). When not dicing with the supernatural, Kate has played a dancing beggar (The Threepenny Opera), a 1920s schoolgirl (Daisy, Daisy Pulls It Off) and a 1960s teenager (Sharon, A Slice of Saturday Night), among others. 10


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Helene Kerry Callaghan Kerry has been with AOS for 15 years and has taken on many roles, portraying a range of characters from sweet innocent girls, feisty leading ladies and sultry women of the night. She has loved being part of the Sweet Charity line up and is really looking forward to performing with such a talented group. Rehearsals have been as demanding as ever, but filled with laughter and plenty of steps to learn, including some tap to maintain her skills from the Society’s last show 42nd Street. Kerry's son Archie, now 11 months old, has been sung to sleep many a night to the sounds of “Baby Dream Your Dream”, which has to be Kerry's favourite song of the show. Herman Adrian Amstead Adrian is delighted to be participating in another AOS show… especially in a principal role. During the last few years he has (quite by accident) become the go-to-guy when it comes to barmen, hoteliers or nightclub owners, having played one of the above in Crazy For You, Calamity Jane and Oliver! He had hoped he’d escaped being typecast in this way, when playing Mac the stage manager in 42nd Street, but now he’s back as the sleazy and overbearing boss of the Fandango ballroom. Playing not so nice characters is lots of fun and spending every night surrounded by Luscious Lovelies and getting to boss them around certainly has its compensations! Vittorio Dave Cousin Dave moved to Oxfordshire in 2013 and joined AOS shortly afterwards, with 42nd Street being his first show. It was also Dave's first involvement in Musical Theatre and first time on stage since 2002; he’s definitely got the bug though and is delighted to be part of such a great bunch as AOS. Dave’s previous stage experience includes variety performances in his home town of Eastbourne, Sussex and he played The Miller in The Canterbury Tales and the Pantomime Dame in Sleeping Beauty while at school. Dave works for Online Pet Shop zooplus as UK Online Marketing Manager and outside of work he’s a keen kayaker and cyclist, but it isn’t all healthy living as he also enjoys home-brewing and drinking the output. 11


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Ursula Cate Davis This is Cate’s third production with AOS after joining for Calamity Jane and playing the role of Fiametta in The Gondoliers last year. She has been involved with music and drama throughout her life. Before moving to Oxfordshire to train as a teacher, Cate lived in Dorset and was a member of the Weymouth Operatic Society and Drama Club for many years. Highlights during this time included playing Olivia in Twelfth Night, Kate in Nicholas Nickleby and the title role in Gigi. Playing a feisty French film star in Sweet Charity has been a lot of fun (not to mention getting some of the best costumes!) and it has been great to be part of such a fantastic cast. Rosie Jenna Elliott This is Jenna’s third show with AOS, having previously played Bet in Oliver! and Tessa in The Gondoliers. Throughout her life Jenna has been involved in many choirs and orchestras; performance highlights include the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls. From 2008-2012 Jenna was an enthusiastic member of the Oxfordshire Youth Music Theatre from which she gained a passion for musical theatre and performance. In her final year with OYMT she was lucky enough to play Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at the Oxford Playhouse. In 2012 Jenna graduated with a Music degree from Southampton University, with classical voice as her performance module. She currently studies voice with the wonderful Christine Cairns. Jenna is very excited to be performing again with AOS and hopes you enjoy the show! Carmen Sarah Hunt Sweet Charity is Sarah's second show with AOS having joined the Society a year ago. Sarah relocated to Abingdon from Chesterfield last year to accept a graduate job opportunity as a town planner and has since jumped feet first into AOS life! Sarah was a member of the chorus for 42nd Street and is enjoying having a little more of the spotlight in her principal role as Carmen, a dancer at the infamous Fandango Ballroom! Now a member of the committee for AOS, Sarah is already looking ahead to The Sound of Music and the new member auditions. This week however, the focus is all on Sweet Charity and maybe one or two thoughts on what to order at the Society’s annual curry night! 12


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Production Team Director Musical Director Choreographer Production Coordinator Stage Manager Assistant Stage Manager Stage Crew Joy Skeels Mark Denton Gemma Hough Barry Greenaway Nick Cook Barry Greenaway Patrick Biggs, Katie Cook, Shirlaine Fasanya, Lucy Littlejohn, Rosie Littlejohn, Larisa Roberts, Mike Waite, Malcolm Walters, Julie Winfield Mike Waite Chris Biggs Abingdon Operatic Society Stage Crew Tom Smith of Henley Theatre Services Tom Smith of Henley Theatre Services Jack Davies, Nigel Millward Henley Theatre Services & Amey Theatre George Jackson JT Stage Productions & Amey Theatre Joy Skeels Brittany Brooks, Rosie Littlejohn, Emily Wilkes Teresa Miller Abingdon Operatic Society Frankie Wilson Claire Dowdeswell Abingdon Operatic Society Sue Richards, Ann Turton Ian Skeels Denise Evans, Sue Payne Di Bryan, Tricia Cook, Valerie Findlay, Iain Launchbury, Jane Maggs, Amanda Robinson, Lorna Stevenson Walker George Riddell Jenny Willis Marilyn Moore Ian Skeels Marilyn Moore Vaughan Billings Chris Bryan, Chris Turton Felice Armstrong, Debbie Bater, Chris Biggs, Alison Brown, Di Bryan, Lorraine Bowker, Brian Burrows, Tricia Cook, Sarah Forrest, Dennis Garrett, John Goss, George Green, Pat Greenaway, Kath Hadris, Hugh Hercus, Maggie Ingram, Ruth Lawton, Martin Mellor, Niall Moore, Jessica Payne, Robert Rees, Daisy Robinson, Jenny Sharp, Gordon Skidmore, Gill Skidmore, John Smith, Lynda Teasdale, Ann Turton, Chris Waite, Nigel Winter, Lynn Winter Pam Verrall Stage Carpenter Set Design Scenery constructed by: Lighting Design: Lighting Operator: Following Spot Operators: Lighting equipment supplied by: Sound Design: Audio equipment supplied by: Costumes: Makeup: Hair & Wigs: Wigs supplied by: Properties Design: Assisted by: Properties supplied by: Prompts: Programme Design & Production: Rehearsal pianists: Rehearsal refreshments: Photography: Publicity Coordinator Archivist: AOS Webmaster: Box Office: Front of House Manager: Assisted by: Front of House staff: Confectionery: 15



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