Hairspray and Little Shop of Horrors - This Summer

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By Craig Thornton

"Hairspray" will run from Tuesday, July 23 through Saturday, July 27, and "Little Shop of Horrors" will run from Tuesday, Aug. 6 through Saturday, Aug, 10, both in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music.

Set in 1962 in Baltimore, Md., "Hairspray" tells the tale of plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream to dance on the Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show. The Tony Award-winning musical was written by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyricists Shaiman and Scott Wittman. "Hairspray" is a social commentary on the injustices of parts of American society in the 1960s. The musical was based on the 1988 John Waters film starring Ricky Lake, and then was remade as a movie musical in 2007, starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah and Zac Efron.

"Little Shop of Horrors" is a comedy-horror rock musical, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood. Menken's music is in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, and includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, "Skid Row (Downtown)," "Somewhere That's Green" and "Suddenly, Seymour."

In addition to the original long-running 1982 off-Broadway production and the 2003 Broadway production, "Little Shop of Horrors" has been performed all over the world, and in 1986 was made into a film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz.

Both productions will be directed by Donna Drake, who was in the original Broadway casts of "A Chorus Line," "Sophisticated Ladies," "Woman of the Year," "The Wind in the Willows," "5678-Dance" and "It's so Nice to be Civilized." She has received an Emmy nomination for "Dear Alex" and "Annie," four Drama Desk Award nominations, a Mac Award nomination and a Theatre World Award. Drake choreographed Catherine Zeta Jones for the American Film Institute Awards and directed John Tartaglia's "ImaginOcean," which ran off-Broadway at New World Stages. Recently, Donna co-wrote and directed "Well Strung," which premiered in New York City at Joe's Pub on May 1.

Rhonda Miller will be the choreographer for "Hairspray" and the associate choreographer for "Little Shop of Horrors." Miller has spent the last several years choreographing, staging and directing in all areas of the entertainment industry. Most recently, she choreographed three productions of "All Shook Up" at Maine State Music Theatre, Carousel Dinner Theater and Pace University, as well as "Kiss Me Kate" and Andrew Lippa's "Wild Party" at Schimmel Theater in New York City. She is honored to have choreographed the highly respected "Nothing Like a Dame" show for Broadway Cares at the Marquis Theater, also in New York City.

The production's artistic team features a mix of local professionals, as well as designers from around the U.S. CPS will bring back local music director Sara Simon-Shult and sound designer Jim Wildman, both from Canton. SUNY Potsdam staff member Alexis Foster will serve as the costume designer. Annmarie Duggan will return to Potsdam as lighting designer, having previously worked as resident lighting designer for multiple seasons at Music Theater North. Sets will be designed by Kenneth Goldstein, who has been a set designer at multiple theaters along the East Coast.

The cast will feature a mix of New York City-based actors and local community members.

Local artists in the "Hairspray" cast will include:

  • Stacey Oloan of Massena as Amber,
  • David Bish of Massena as the male authority figure,
  • Cecilia Snow of Potsdam as a Dynamite,
  • Maria Bufalini of Watertown as one of the "nicest kids in town," and
  • Ensemble members Rachel Horwitz of Canton; Brody LeCuyer, Tiffany Alderson and Abigail Truax of Massena; Logan Barkley of Madrid; Connory Marsh of Potsdam; Cheyenne Padgett of Winthrop; Shawntel Courtney of Colton, and Zack Kelley of Gouverneur.

"Little Shop of Horrors" will include local residents:

  • David Bish of Massena as Mushnik,
  • Cecilia Snow of Potsdam as an urchin, and
  • Collin Jacobs of Hogansburg as a puppeteer.

Tickets for this production are on sale for Producer's Club members now, and will be available for the general public on June 14. For more information on joining the Producer's Club, please call (315) 267-2412 or visit the CPS website at www.cpspotsdam.org.

The CPS productions of "Hairspray" and "Little Shop of Horrors" are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council, with additional sponsorship from Frazer, Inc., SUNY Potsdam and Mahoney's Auto Mall.

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Friday, November 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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