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High School Musical

Pembroke High School presents the musical 'Cinderella' this weekend

By Howard B. Owens
cinderella pembroke musical
Grace Strassburg as the title character in the Pembroke High School production of "Cinderella."
Photo by Howard Owens.

Opening on Friday night in the Pembroke High School Auditorium is the school's production of the musical "Cinderella."

Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students.

"Come watch that sweet, innocent young maiden as she is terrorized by those closest to her and by the evasive love she so desperately craves," said Director Andy Clark. "Witness a brand new script with new characters and new songs in addition to some of the songs and characters from the original musical."

The cast:

  • Cinderella, Grace Strassburg
  •  Prince Topher, Charles Stringham
  • Madame, the Stepmother, Sarah Forness
  • Charlotte, Stepsister, Emily Guilian
  • Gabrielle, Stepsister, Mikayla Stringham
  • Marie, the Fairy Godmother, Lindsey Zanghi
  • Sebastian, the Lord Chancellor, Sam Burton
  • Lord Pinkleton, James Childs
  • Jean Michelle, Micah Forness

"Our show this year also features a brand new set design team that far exceeded my expectations," Clark said. "I call them the 'Amazing Eight.' They are Stephanie and Tim Benson, Jessica and Zack Dawson, Summer Forness, Justin Reynolds, Patti Schafer and Rodney Stringham. We couldn't have done this show without them. "   

Photos by Howard Owens.
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cinderella pembroke musical
cinderella pembroke musical
cinderella pembroke musical
cinderella pembroke musical
cinderella pembroke musical
cinderella pembroke musical

Genesee County high school musicals

By Kara Richenberg

With the high school musical season in full swing, here is a rundown of all of the musicals being performed at Genesee County high schools:

  • Alexander PTA presents "Finding Nemo Kids." Show times are March 1 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.
  • Batavia High School presents "Footloose the Musical." Show times are March 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. 
  • Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School presents "Beauty and the Beast." Show times are March 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students/seniors, and 4 and under are free.
  • Elba Central School District presents "The Little Mermaid." Show times are March 1 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. 
  • Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School presents "Chicago: Teen Edition." Show times are March 7, 8, and 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors.
  • Notre Dame High School presents "Anastasia." Show times are March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. 
  • Oakfield-Alabama High School presents "The Wizard of Oz." Show times are March 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students, and kids 5 and under are free.
  • Pavilion High School presents "The Sound of Music." Show times are March 15 at 7 p.m. and 16 at 2 p.m. Donations will be accepted at the door and will be used to defray the cost of future PCS productions.
  • Pembroke Jr. Sr. High School presents "Cinderella." Show times are March 8 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for k-12, and kids 4 and under are free.

Alexander presents 'Beauty and The Beast' this weekend

By Howard B. Owens
alexander beauty and the beast

This Friday and Saturday, the students of Alexander Central Schools present the musical "Beauty and the Beast" in the high school auditorium.

The cast:

  • Belle, Aubrey Hamm
  • Beast, Carter Edmonds
  • Gaston, Owen Dunbar 
  • Lumiere, Morgan Burns
  • Mrs. Potts, Riley Wall
  • Cogsworth, Drake Orr

A total of 37 students, grades six through 12, are participating in the production, which is directed by Alexander High School graduate Hunter Doran. 

Show times:

  • 7 p.m. Friday
  • 2 p.m. Saturday
  • 7 p.m. Saturday

Admission is free.

Photos by Howard Owens.

alexander beauty and the beast
alexander beauty and the beast
alexander beauty and the beast
alexander beauty and the beast
alexander beauty and the beast
alexander beauty and the beast
alexander beauty and the beast

Notre Dame brings the dramedy of high school to life with 'Mean Girls' March 17-18

By Joanne Beck


When Notre Dame musical director Kate Edwards was looking for this year’s show, she wanted something for her outgoing seniors while also tickling the community with a thoughtful comedy that’s not yet been performed in this region.

Enter “Mean Girls,” a coming-of-age musical based on the 2004 film written by longtime “Saturday Night Live” actor/writer Tina Fey.

“I chose it because I have some very strong seniors who were going to graduate, and I wanted a show to highlight them. I thought this was perfect; it had five female leads and two strong males. It kind of fit all our pieces. Tina Fey wrote it, and her husband wrote the lyrics. And it really just deals with a lot of real-life high school issues, but in a satirical way,” Edwards said during an interview with The Batavian. “So it's very funny. She has been quoted in the past that she was really hoping to show how all the bullying and the cliques, and, you know, trying to be body beautiful, and trying to be the best athlete in the world or being the prettiest girl and how that is just inundated on our kids nowadays, especially with the advent of social media.

“And so we just really thought it would be a good option to kind of show what real life is like in high school and deal with it in a funny way that can maybe spur conversations with parents.”

Anyone who has ever gone through high school knows the drill: it’s a jungle out there of competition to be the best, weigh a certain weight, score the highest, wear the coolest clothes, survive being a band geek, a science nerd, a wannabe, and not get eaten alive by those who judge or bully you before graduation.

The action takes to the stage at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Notre Dame High School, 73 Union St., Batavia.

Despite the premise of all that high school drama, it’s an upbeat, energetic show with a lot of “hip-hoppish,” professionally choreographed dancing numbers, Edwards said. Tuan Malinowski, a friend from Orchard Park, now living in New York City, helped out by putting together several dance scenes.

“He’s a professional from NYC. He has a very unique style,” Edwards said. “He choreographs for a lot of colleges and professional shows.”

They used FaceTime and videos that Malinowski sent to collaborate and integrate the dance routines into the two-hour show, which includes an additional 20-minute intermission. The music style is pop rock, and, per one of the songs, “I’d Rather Be Me,” it’s about “accepting everybody,” Edwards said.

The premise is based on Cady and her parents moving from Kenya to a Chicago suburb, where Cady soon realizes that her high school classmates don’t readily accept others who are different from them. Cady accepts the challenge and attempts to find her niche social group as she encounters Regina George, the Queen Bee and member of the “Plastics,” dreamy Aaron Samuels, and the myriad other classmate characters.

Along the way, there’s love, betrayal, heartbreak, pranks, unwelcome weight gain, ridicule, and shaming. One of Edwards’ favorite scenes is around the song “Sexy,” which she admits may sound uncharacteristically risqué for a high school production. It’s actually about Halloween. The character of Karen explains to Cady that in high school, this holiday revolves around looking sexy and having a hot costume.

“You can't just be like, you know, a ghoulish witch or something, you know what I mean? And that is a very real issue in today's world. And so that one I like, and that's a really fun number. It's really, really fun. The dance is fantastic. And the kids have a blast with it. And they're all in costume,” Edwards said. “But then I think the song I liked the most is probably Janice's song towards the end of the act, where she sings about you've got to be yourself don't always try to feel like you should fit in with other people. And that's called 'I’d Rather Be Me.' And that's probably my favorite song of the entire show.”

With a cast of 15, and another 10 backstage, and everything being done by the students — sets being made and moved around, spotlights, soundboards, light boards, staging, acting — a main challenge has been coordinating schedules around their busy lives, she said, from mock trial and classes to basketball and other extracurriculars.

Oh, and having to figure out how to transition scenes without any fancy technology or electronics.

“So, typically, like on Broadway, of course, when they've got their million dollar stages, right, they have these set changes, where they just slide onto the stage and then slide off, and then the stage can rotate, and then things can come forward and go back. And, of course, we can't do any of that,” she said. “The kids kind of figured out how they could make that transition as smooth as possible. And that was really fun to see the kids thinking in more of a technical, backstage way.”

Taking time to be more thoughtful — demonstrated in a comedic, down-to-earth way —  also includes a message about texting, Edwards said. The song “Stop” is about when you’re about to text or post something on social media. Just stop and think before you do it, “because there’s consequences,” she said.

“I really hope kids come out and see it, and I’m really hoping it’s good for some conversations,” she said. “The moral is just accept everybody for who they are and what they do … Accept everyone and be kind. That’s really the biggest issue.”

Does Cady finally discover that true acceptance? Tickets are $10 at the door to find out.  










Le Roy students present Les Miserables, with timeless messages about the human spirit

By Howard B. Owens


The ideals of courage and love, the life lessons of heartbreak and passion, the resilience of the human spirit, these are the themes that play out in the musical "Les Miserables," said Jacqueline McLean, the artistic director of the Le Roy High School production of the classic Broadway show.

Le Roy will perform a version adopted for high schools next weekend.

"The most important theme, in my opinion, is the importance of standing up for the dignity of the human person," McLean said. "Victor Hugo wrote the novel Les Misérables to exploit and criticize the injustice of 19th century France. This novel transcends time and still speaks of ideals that are important today, such as the rights of women, intergenerational conflict, and conflict with the government. This show is meant to renew the human spirit.

"We hope that this show and these amazing students will help you to reflect on how precious life is and how beautiful it can be even in the darkest of days and nights," she added. 

Jean Valjean is played by Evan Williams.  Williams starred in last year's production of "Newsies" and was a finalist in "Stars of Tomorrow" in Rochester in 2022.

Additional roles:

  • Inspector Javert, Nathan Yauchzee  
  • The Bishop of Digne, Alex Doty  
  • The Factory Foreman, Cooper Terry  
  • Fantine, Ashlyn Puccio  
  • Bamatabois, Jackson Cain  
  • Fauchelevent, Carter Fix  
  • Young Cosette, Leah Cashin
  • Madame Thénardier, Aubrey Puccio  
  • Young Éponine, Madelyn Emke  

For more information on the production and full cast, click here.

The play is being performed in the Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High Auditorium, 9300 South Street Road, Le Roy.

In-person show times:

  • Thursday, March 9 at  7 p.m.
  • Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m.

Tickets: Pre-sale Student/Senior Citizen: $10 Pre-sale Adult: $12. For pre-sale tickets, click here.

At the Door Student/Senior Citizen: $12; At the Door Adult: $15.

There are also two virtual performances: 

  • Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices are $10 for one viewer and $30 for family viewing.

To purchase virtual performance tickets, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens.






Challenging, difficult, technical: 'Les Mis' at BHS clears the hurdles for a 'well-rounded, beautiful show'

By Joanne Beck


In his last year at Batavia High School, Paul Daniszewski — aka Jean Valjean — verbally painted an end to his senior year with sad hues washed in bright swaths of excitement about what’s ahead.

“It’s very bittersweet because it's like, yes, the final show, the final hurrah. But also, Oh God, the final show, the final hurrah. It's very much a sense of like going out with a bang and with a pop,” he said of this weekend’s production of “Les Misérables.”  

His future plans include being an acting major at Genesee Community College, transferring to a four-year college to continue that pursuit, and then “just see where the wind takes me” while hanging onto his vision of being a professional actor.

At present, he’s just trying to follow show Director Caryn Wood’s advice for all 36 cast members: take care of yourselves, eat, sleep, and get ready for some grueling run-throughs over the next two days.

After that, it’s showtime: Les Mis (that’s what everybody seems to call it) goes on at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at Batavia High School, 260 State St., Batavia.

Most everyone has at least heard of Les Mis, even if not having seen it or read the book. Set in early 19th Century France, it is a story of Paul’s character Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his desire for redemption after serving 19 years in jail for stealing — not a suitcase of cash or anything quite so tangibly valuable — but a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child.

Priceless indeed. Yet he serves jail time and then decides to break parole and begin a new life with some inspiration from a bishop.

The 17-year-old actor auditioned for the role after some prodding from the show director.

“Miss Wood guided me on who I wanted to be,” Paul said. “Jean Valjean, he’s my guy. He is just an emotionally challenging character for me to portray because a lot of the characters that I've played in the past have been very upbeat, the first person I ever did was with Shrek, Lord Farquaad. And he's a very, flamboyant and very over the top … and the last one I did was Bill, and he was also very outgoing,” the actor said. “But Jean Valjean, he's so emotionally deep, that it was very hard for me for a while to embody that character. And show me the way essentially.”

Javert, the police inspector played by junior Peyton Woeller, seemed like an atypical character from what he’s usually played in shows, he said.

“But there's just something about him, I felt like he would be a fun character to play, especially because he contrasts a lot of other characters I've played before, because, like, this is the main antagonistic role. And normally I'm not a main antagonistic role, like last time in Mamma Mia. I was Harry, who was just one of the dads. So it was really fun. It was a change, which drew me to him,” Peyton said. “I actually was not all that familiar. When I've always heard of it, I never got around to watching it. But once we learned that, that was the show we were doing, I watched the Netflix one. And then I ended up watching a bunch of different stage productions on YouTube. But now I'm very familiar with the show. It’s a show based on hope for tomorrow. That's the main message behind it. It's got all of these different intertwining characters, and all of these different relationships that blend together and create just a wonderful, wonderful, complex story. And there's so many different aspects that all get thrown together in different areas. And it's just so beautifully written with the music as well.”

It’s fair to say that Javert is no nice guy. He refuses to let Jean Valjean escape justice and pursues him during most of the play. Meanwhile, Valjean and a host of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists attempts to overthrow the government at a street barricade in Paris.

After Valjean is humbled by compassion from a bishop, he resolves to redeem himself and turn his life around to live for God. Just where does Fantine, Abi Hoerbelt’s character, come into the story? Fantine has a young daughter named Cosette, who is later adopted by a central character.

Abi has been involved in theater since fifth grade, making this her 15th show — and last one in her high school career. Uncertain yet where she will go after graduation this year,  the senior plans to pursue theater and English education to become a teacher.

So, out of 15 shows, which one has been a favorite?

“I would by far say that this show is my favorite show I've been in. I've been in shows since I was about seven. But this is probably the biggest role I've played. And also, I just, I love the music, and I love the community and family we've built with the cast,” she said. “So I've been in shows all four years of high school, and they were all amazing. I love them, but this one was probably my favorite. I think it kind of has something to do with it being my last show. I'm really savoring it.”

Fantine is an impoverished factory worker who loses her job and has to turn to less ideal work so that she can pay a couple to continue caring for her daughter. Aside from absorbing the role of a strong character, Abi has also enjoyed building relationships with fellow cast members. The experience makes for a reluctant curtain call.

“It's really sad. As I said, I've been in the shows all four years of high school. So this coming to an end is really, like, heartbreaking, but I know that I will come back and see the shows, and I'll be doing more shows in my future,” she said.

Director Caryn Wood felt good about this choice of show, as if the students were “eager to take on a challenge.” They have put their “heart and soul” into preparations, and all have been researching their roles, watching the show, and reading reference materials “to build their characters,” she said.

“To begin with, Les Mis is difficult content, the music itself is difficult, it's challenging. The only difference between the full adult version or the standard Broadway version and the student version is that they've abridged some of it, they've shortened some of the songs for length, for time. But otherwise, all of the language is the same. Some of the keys have been adjusted for younger voices, but it's very much the same,” she said. “So that one is right off the bat, it's hard material. But then technically, I mean, there's a ton to incorporate: microphones, gunfire for the battle scenes, you know, there's just a lot to fully, in order to fully embody the tone of the show, you have to really support that you want it to visually be pleasing and to the level that it should be.

“You know, there's a standard, and we have to try to live up to it. People have expectations, and we want to reach those and hopefully exceed those expectations,” Wood said. “So just the show itself is challenging, and lots of costumes, lots of technical needs, lots of lighting design, in order to bring a well-rounded and beautiful show altogether.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and available online or $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors at the door.  







Alexander MS/HS presents Little Women: The Musical

By Howard B. Owens


Alexander Middle School/High School presents Little Women: The Musical on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.

All performances will be in the Alexander District Auditorium and admission is free.

There will be concessions sold at intermission.

Students from 7 to 12 will perform, as well as work backstage, on lights and sound and playing with the orchestra.

The director and choreographer is Batavia resident Jacqueline Morrison. Mark Hoerbelt is the vocal music director and Drama Club advisor. Joe Paris is the set designer. Loretta Stratton is the costume designer.










On with the show means cramped quarters for BHS actors

By Joanne Beck


Rehearsals for Batavia High School’s production of Mamma Mia has not been without its mishaps, senior Samantha Balbi says.

The Abba tune “Money, Money, Money” features actors in lines that move across the stage for a big dance number. Except there was no stage for the last few months, and actors had to adjust during busy scenes, she said.

“I’m weaving through everybody, and it was very difficult, very cramped,” 18-year-old Balbi said during an interview with The Batavian. ”I bumped into people accidentally. It’s a good sized cast; we had to work out spacing.”

As if scheduling and rehearsing with busy student actors — during a time requiring masks and sanitizing no less — wasn’t enough for Musical Director Caryn Wood and her cast. But then “the other shoe dropped,” she said: She and her cast were left without an auditorium for rehearsals. A massive windstorm boasting 75 mph gusts on Dec. 11 last year left portions of Batavia High School’s roof severely damaged. That in turn rendered the auditorium below inoperable. Up to that point, her production of Mamma Mia was well on track for an early March debut, Wood said.

“In very early December we did auditions. We had just finished Sherlock Holmes,” she said. “All was fine, we’re just rolling onto the next show. We were starting our rehearsal process, and the windstorm happened.”

All of the air exchanges on the roof were damaged, leaving no way for air circulation in the auditorium, she said. No one was allowed to use the space until the exchanges were fixed. She and students initially and enthusiastically marched on. They learned their lines and music while seated in smaller areas, including the band and chorus rooms, and then added in hallways and sections of the gym for choreographed pieces.

Their plans for a show during the first weekend in March were eventually dashed, Wood said.

“We found out there was no way that was going to happen,” she said.

The group’s biggest space needed for choreography and blocking wasn’t going to be an option. For the next several weeks, they sought out whatever space was available for rehearsals, moved all of the chairs out of the room, and did what they could, she said.

“I’d say, ‘ok, we’re going to go on a field trip now,’ and we were going to find some space,” Wood said.

She met with Superintendent Jason Smith and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski, who were working with buildings and grounds staff about the necessary repairs. They were all “trying to move on a timeline,” she said.

In the meantime, a two- to three-week delay wasn’t just about rehearsal space, she said. Wood had to get an extension from Music Theater International for the show rights and usage of scripts and to extend costume and backdrop rental (which was shipped from Kansas) and materials from the art and hardware store.

“All of that had to be readdressed and readjusted,” she said. “It felt surreal, I didn’t know how it was all going to play out.”

The same could be said about Mamma Mia, a musical comedy about a young bride-to-be who invites three men to her upcoming wedding, with the possibility that any of them could be her father.

Wood had to make hard decisions, such as deliberately putting off the bigger choreography numbers until there was more room to move. It’s not the first time the director faced this type of dilemma, she said. Her cast had to work around a capital project for Shrek three years ago. Only she at least had a more definitive timeline, unlike the unknowns this time around.

“We were nomadic. We were going where we could go," she said. "I feel like young people handle change better than adults. All were on board, and they wanted to make a good show; they were up for the challenge. They are without a doubt super excited and thankful to come back into the auditorium.”

Rehearsals moved into the auditorium this past Monday for the first time all year. It was a “breath of relief,” said Balbi, who plays the character Donna.

Fellow actor Michael Bartz, a junior, has participated in theatrical shows since fifth grade. He is happy to be part of "a super upbeat show," and took the regular field trips with stride, he said.

“I’ve never had to move between rooms before; that was just fun, I enjoyed it,” he said, adding the downside “The space we had was not accurate to the stage. At the end for a megamix of three songs back to back, there are fun dance numbers and moving lines going back and forth. It was harder to transfer that to the stage.”

Wood explained that, after having to shrink down the dance moves to fit a hallway, there was then a challenge to expand all of that to fit across the school’s comparatively gigantic stage. She is grateful for the district administrators' assistance to get back into the auditorium, especially since the roof has not yet been completely repaired.

“We’re very fortunate, the show is only two weeks later,” she said. “There were some weeks when I was waiting with bated breath.”

The show has been postponed to run March 18-20.






Top photo: Members of Batavia High School's drama club rehearse a scene in the hallway of the State Street school. Other venues are tapped in an effort to find available space in lieu of using the auditorium due to roof damage. Photos by Howard Owens.

Newspaper history set to music in Le Roy production of Newsies

By Howard B. Owens


Le Roy High School is presenting a production of the Disney musical Newsies on March 10, 11, 12, 18 and 19 in the school auditorium.

Newsies is the story of a homeless NYC newsboy, Jack "Cowboy" Kelly, who befriends two newcomers to the trade.  Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer sets new rules that make it harder for newspaper hawkers -- newsies -- to make a buck so the boys go on strike. A journalist sympathetic to the boys' cause gives them some tips on public relations and the newsies battle grips the city.

The story is based on an actual labor dispute between newspaper salesboys and Pulitzer in the summer of 1899.  For more on the history behind the story, click here.

Performances in Le Roy are:

  • March 10, 7 p.m.
  • March 11, 7 p.m.
  • March 12, 7 p.m.
  • March 18, 7 p.m.
  • March 19,7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at or at the auditorium, 9300 South Street Road.

For more photos or to purchase prints, click here.











Video rental for musical 'Sister Act' performed by BHS Production Club is extended until Wednesday night

By Press Release

From Caryn Leigh Wood, IT support aide, BHS Musical & Drama director:

Per several requests this morning -- VIDEO RENTAL HAS BEEN EXTENDED FOR VIEWING "SISTER ACT"!

Rent the streamed video HERE!

Also be sure to check out the SHOW PROGRAM by clicking the button in the lower left corner of the online rental portal.

The steps for rental include clicking the purple bar in the middle of the page that says rent video, then click on the Current Events tab on the next page that opens, and finally click the Rent Video button under the poster image. You have the option to do single or multiple devices as well. An access code will be emailed to you. 

Once you have begun viewing it, you will have 48 hours to complete the video. RENTAL IS NOW AVAILABLE UNTIL WEDNESDAY NIGHT!

Help support this AMAZING group of students by watching their show in the comfort of your own home! You won't be disappointed!



Previously: For BHS Production Club, the show must go on with 'Sister Act'

O-A presents 'Little Women' musical within COVID restrictions

By Press Release


Press release:

As with all things this year, everything is different because of COVID-19. Some activities cannot currently run and those that can happen look much different than in past years.

Although many aspects of a live stage performance had to be adjusted, we were very excited to still be able to provide this opportunity for our students. In an attempt to remain as healthy and safe as possible, while also following the regulations, we were able to get our students on stage (and on screen) using masks and as much social distancing as possible while interacting with each other.

We, unfortunately, had to make decisions to have a smaller cast, have our ensemble prerecorded, and scale down much of our sets and props to less than normal. However, it allowed our actors and actresses to focus more on their emotions and character portrayal in order to bring this touching musical to both our live audience and our supporters online.

It has been amazing to work with our students this year – to see their passion and joy, to take them beyond what they thought was possible, and to have them shine on stage. It is truly wonderful to still be able to create opportunities and live performances with our talented students.

Our cast and crew put on three amazing performances. And although most of the general public could not attend the performances in person, there is still an opportunity to catch these outstanding performers.

The performance has been uploaded online and is available to watch through April 18th. You can purchase access to the performance by going to and following the link on our homepage. From there you can either purchase single viewer access for $10 or access for the entire household for $25.

All money helps to offset the cost of rentals and royalties for producing the musical. You can purchase the access at any time before April 18th, an email link will be sent to you, and once you hit play you will have 48 hours to view the entire performance before your access runs out. Please sit back and enjoy the show from the comfort of your home.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.








Le Roy drama students delve 'Into the Woods' -- a musical journey about life and choices

By Billie Owens

Photos by Howard Owens.

Information from Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School:

Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School will present the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods" at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, and POSTPONED -- Friday and Saturday -- March 13 and 14 -- in the auditorium.

Tickets are $10 presale; $12 at the door. The school is located at 9300 South Street Road in Le Roy.

Based on the book by James Lapine, "Into the Woods" at first appears to be a familar story based on Grimm’s fairy tales that most of us grew up with. But there's frustration afoot as the audience delves into questioning what brings true happiness.

The story is a metaphor for life's journeys. What directions we choose to take in life and the discoveries we make along the way in regards to love, loss, values, choices, and responsibilities. The story also shows the lightness and darkness which we all encounter in life and focuses on how the choices we make in our lives truly do affect those who are around us and the journeys they take, says the production's Artistic Director Jacqueline McLean.

While this show poses a lot of serious questions and thoughts, it also has a delightful score full of beautiful and entertaining music, as well as several comedic characters and moments, and characters we all know who take us through the ups and downs of the journey called life.

Le Roy students have proven up to the extreme challenge of the difficult score as well as developing the deep characters.

"We spent an extensive amount of time developing our characters this year so that we would find ease forming the correct relationships on stage, thus hoping to make it believable," McLean says. "Through the process, students asked themselves questions and did a bit of self discovery as well. 

"There is not a person in the world that can’t relate to or see someone they know in the characters of 'Into the Woods'. While the students portray these characters, it is an exaggerated version of real-life stereotypes and personalities."

The cast includes:

  • Erik Schwab (Narrator)
  • Hailey Grasso -- Cinderella
  • Brady Fix -- Cinderella's Prince
  • Wade Dzedzic -- Rapunzel's Prince
  • Sean Czyrca -- Wolf
  • Evan Williams -- The Baker
  • Alexis Pfendler -- The Baker's Wife
  • Marlena Pencille -- The Witch
  • Emily Overacker -- Jack's Mother
  • Ashlyn Puccio -- Little Red Ridinghood
  • Nathan Yauchzee -- Jack
  • Jackson Cain -- Mysterious Man
  • Maureen Klaiber -- Rapunzel
  • Allison Primatera -- Cinderella's Stepmother
  • Jillian Curtis -- Florinda
  • Kylee Wright -- Lucinda 
  • Amalia Morris -- Cinderella's Mother
  • Catie Long -- Giant
  • Jonathan Napper -- Cinderella's Father
  • Cooper Terry -- Granny
  • Ethan Riggs -- Steward
  • Allyson Austin -- Snow White
  • Anna Long --Sleeping Beauty
  • Maria Calhoun -- Milky White

In addition to Artistic Director Jacqueline McLean, the production crew includes:

  • Assistant Director -- Joseph Kusmierczak
  • Vocal Director -- Jeffrey Fischer
  • Choreographer -- Jessica Pcionek
  • Pit Orchestra Director -- Nastassia Dotts
  • Costumes -- Mary Platek, Heidi Austin
  • Dance Captain -- Allison Primatera
  • Assistant Dance Captian -- Aubrey Puccio

"Into the Woods" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

The Wizard of Oz presented by Pavilion Central School

By Sharon Smith

Pavilion Central School presents The Wizard of Oz in the High School Auditorium! Many talented students will perform this musical classic! Come show the youth you support their commitment and hard work!

Adults: $8.00 Seniors and Children: $6.00

Event Date and Time

Notre Dame students perform musical 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' on Friday and Saturday

By Billie Owens


Students at Notre Dame High School will perform "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" in the auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, and at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Tickets available at the door for $8 each.

The high school is located at 73 Union St. in the City of Batavia.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is a 1967 musical comedy based on the characters of the beloved comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz.

Joseph Condoluci is Notre Dame's Instrumental / Vocal Music teacher.

Here's the Notre Dame cast list:

  • Charlie Brown -- Owen Mileham
  • Snoopy -- Grace Mileham
  • Lucy -- Judah MacDonald
  • Linus -- Amanda Bergman
  • Schroeder -- Nathaneal Brew
  • Sally -- Lily Gaylord
  • Ensemble -- Justice YorkowskMarylin KruppaAmanda Doan

Photos by Howard Owens.








BHS Drama Club presents matinee concert from three Disney musicals Saturday at Jackson School

By Billie Owens

The Batavia High School Drama Club presents "Ice & Fire" in the multipurpose room at Jackson Primary School at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22.

This showcase concert will feature music from the animated Disney musicals "Aladdin," "Frozen," and "The Lion King."

Free-will donations will be collected at the door.

Jackson School is located at 411 S. Jackson St. in the City of Batavia.

Musical parody 'Monty Python's Spamalot' opens tonight at Pembroke HS

By Billie Owens
Submitted photos and information.
Pembroke High School Theatre Arts Department presents the comedy musical spoof "Monty Python's Spamalot" tonight at 7:30, with two performances on Saturday as well, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Come watch Monty Python's musical adapted from the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend.
The setting: England 932 A.D. -- A Kingdom divided. To the West the Anglo-Saxons, to the East the French. Above -- nothing but Celts and some people from Scotland. In Gwynned, Powys, and Dyfed -- the Plague. In the kingdoms of Wessex, Sussex, Essex and Kent -- you guessed it, more Plague. In Mercia and the two Anglias -- alas, Plague.
The plot: With a 50-percent chance of pestilence and famine coming out of the Northeast at 12 mph. Legend tells us of an extraordinary leader, who arose from the chaos, to unite a troubled kingdom. A man with a vision who gathered Knights together in a Holy Quest. This man was Arthur, King of the Britons. For this was England!
"Monty Python's Spamalot" (This show has a suggested rating of PG-13.) in the auditorium, 8750 Alleghany Road, Corfu:
  • Friday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 9 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at 
Presale tickets are $7 and $9.
Tickets at the door are $8 and $10.

Musical 'Annie' opens Thursday night at Byron-Bergen High School

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Byron-Bergen High School presents the spring musical "Annie," opening at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7.

This rags-to-riches tale features the music and acting talents of: Molly Belknap, Jack Benstead, Sarah Bleiler, Justine Bloom, Shelby Bridge, Stephanie Buell, Fiona Burke, Dominick Butz, Caleb Calhoun, Hailey Canfield, Caris Carlson, Hannah Catalino, Emily Chaback, Destiny Colon, Sadie Cook, Jacey Donahue, Jeremy Donahue, Serenity Donahue, Kendan Dressler, Josh Fleming, Sara Fraser, Aurora Hiscutt, Jason Hoehn, Kelly Ireland, Sage Johnson, Callista Kinkelaar, Aiden Kulikowski, Naomi Mathias, Courtney Pakusch, Libby Piper, Alexandria Schuck, Chloe Shuskey, Deacon Smith, Isabelle Stevens, Nicole Stone, Alayna Streeter, Hannah VanSkiver, and Lexi Vurraro.

Erin Parnapy, Coltin Henry, and Suzanne Scholand provide stage and set management.

Direction and musical direction is by Laurence Tallman. Special Byron-Bergen staff cameos by Karen Tischer and Peter Spence.

There will also be performances at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9 in the Jr/Sr High School Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. Tickets are available in advance in the High School Main Office during school hours, or at the door.

This show is presented with special arrangements with, and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Music Theater International (MTI).

Photos courtesy of Gretchen Spittler.

Alexander HS presents 'Guys and Dolls' this weekend

By Howard B. Owens


The theater and music departments of Alexander High School will perform "Guys and Dolls" this weekend.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday.

Tickets are $9, or $10 at the door. Students, seniors, and veterans can purchase tickets for $7 or $8 at the door. To purchase tickets online, click here.

Directors and crew:

  • Director, Kate Schrodt
  • Music Director, Mark Hoerbelt
  • Pit Conductor, Rachel Clark
  • Set Design/Builders, Jeff Houseknecht & Ethan Schrodt
  • Choreographer, Mary Loliger
  • Costumer, Loretta Stratton
  • Sound Technician, Trinity Reynolds
  • Light Technician/Stage Manager, Hunter Doran

The Cast: 

  • Nathan Detroit, Carson Daley
  • Miss Adelaide, Alyssa Lafferty
  • Sky Masterson, Nick Allen
  • Sarah Brown, Lydia Daley Nicely-Nicely, Nolan Quackenbush
  • Benny Southwest, Connlan Hotnich
  • Rusty Charlie, Shawn Calmes
  • Harry the Horse, Bradley Caudill
  • Lt. Brannigan, Kylie Shillea
  • Angie the Ox/Joey Biltmore's Voice, Ethan
  • Stroud Big Jule, Jake Day
  • General Cartwight, Kasey Smith Arvide,
  • Holly Ulrich Waitress/Actress, Erin Hess
  • Hot Box Dancers: Allison, Paige Sikorski Ferguson, Julia Francis Vernon, Emma Cline, Mimi, Emma Ferraro
  • Mission Band: Leanne Dolph, Jasmine Wessel. Morgan Burns, Sara Chase, Kathryn McClellan, Olivia Burkhardt, Mercades Koschara, Hailey Szczygiel







'The Sound of Music' to be performed this weekend

By Steve Ognibene

Press release:

Oakfield Alabama Central School drama club presents "The Sound of Music" tonight at 7 p.m. with two shows also tomorrow night at 7 and Saturday at noon.

Tickets are Adults $8, students $6 and are available from any cast member or by calling 948-5211, ext. 4515.

Presented through R&H Theatricals.

Any questions contact, Advisor and Director Wendy Bergman at:  

Details are on the school website here.

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