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MEMORIES
----BAND

Questions or comments may be directed to:
John Rafalak

 

 

MUSICAL MEMORIES 

Carousel, Kismet, Showboat, Flowerdrum Song

When I auditioned for the musical Carousel I was one of two girls to be picked for the chorus. At that time it was told to me that Juniors and Seniors had first preference but I got picked, lucky for me. From being in the chorus of Carousel, I did date a Junior and got to go to the Junior prom that year braces and all (laughing) That started me on my way to starting voice lessons and going on with my music in High School being in Kismet ( having a small solo) Showboat and Flowerdrum Song having the minor singing roles. I was also Louisa in Fantastiks as a junior at BK although it was mostly an alumni summerstock production.

I did go on after BK and received my Music Degree at Nazareth and eventually moved to NYC to further my singing.

I am still doing that and auditioning. I look forward to being there at the reunion in July

- Mary Lou Zobel (Zogby)

 


l967 Show time....lst parents show....shahin/heathwood

 

From Peggy Gillen: Joe and I auditioned...and because Joe was so talented they put me in the show too. Our son, Dan was in the pit band and I think he almost crawled under his seat when he saw his mother on stage picking her nose and saying "I don't get it" ....I think from Guys and Dolls?...I could be wrong? We made many wonderful friends....wonderful memories.....oh to be young gain.....and back on that bk stage for showtime and in the cafeteria for Cabaret....hope to see many of you from my era.


 

Carousel Memory, 1968:

One musical memory I had was of playing in the pit for Carousel soph year. It was my first year playing in the pit, and I didn't want to mess up. Trombones always had to play center back, and you couldn't see ANYTHING. There was always one scene where the audience clapped, and I was DYING to turn around and see what was going on, but I was too CHICKEN that Ray would wreak havoc on me for looking. I didn't ask anyone what was happening because I was SURE I could sneak a look during the last show. But alas, I lost my nerve and my chance. I had to ask afterwards; it turned out to be this great scene where they made the carousel with the boy dancers as the horses and the girls as riders with streamers and such (my description may be off since I didn't actually see it). One of (several) missed opportunities in my life, but a learning experience!

-Kathe Kilmer '70


Showboat Memories 1971
"Showboat" was a phenomenal musical. The original show (in 1924) stunned audiences when it opened. It was the first time dark, dramatic material was done on the NYC musical stage, and it revolutionized the Broadway stage, so that shows like "West Side Story" and "Carousel" could be staged.

I am billed as a dancer, but I did a few other things in that show. I was on the stage crew, so I helped build the showboat. Remember the showboat? it was on rollers, and at the beginning of the show it appeared to be docking at a riverside wharf on a Mississippi River town. I was one of the boys who pushed it into place every night, and it was a showstopper. The audience cheered everytime the showboat docked. Also, I was in the showboat band that plays a little tune at the beginning of the show. And, I was a Dahomey native, and stired the cauldren with the bones of a hand and forearm I picked up in Ireland.
I've believe that "Showboat" is the Great American Musical, and I saw it with my brother Bob Walsh in the 1980s when it starred Don O'Connor as Captain Andy.
Tom (Tater) Walsh '71


 

Flower Drum Song Memories 1971
"Flower Drum Song" was done the next year after "Showboat", and I was so proud of my brother Steve Walsh when he got the part of the younger, rebellious brother in the traditional Chinese family of the story. He spent weeks perfecting the art of the yo-yo, and he got many cheers when he used his yo-yo in character on the stage.
I was one of the special effects men and I put fog on the stage for the dream scenes. I boiled water and then put chunks of dry ice in the boiling water pots I put around the stage. Br. Heathwood asked me to simulate a lighted boat traveling across San Franciscio Bay at night during the "Lover's Lane" scene in the show. I tried, but couldn't come up with a good solution. We simply had a lighted boat on a stick that a stage crew member walked across very, very slowly. I mentioned before how the showboat "docked" on stage every night during "Showboat", and for the next year we tried to top that special effect. We did this by erecting the Golden Gate Bridge, stage right, over part of the pit band, every night during the number "Grant Avenue". The towers went up, the suspension cables were strung, the roadbed appeared, and a cable car came down the aisle and over the bridge and onto the stage. What a sight it was! It brought the house to its feet, cheering wildly, every performance!
Tom (Tater) Walsh '71


 

Fiddler on the Roof, 1972


The last performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1972 was the most memorable for me. That night I had laryngitis and did everything I could to “save” my voice. Two young ladies (both named Sue) from the chorus, drove to a nearby grocery store and bought me honey and lemons, a gesture that was an example of the “family” atmosphere we all exhibited in Kearney musicals. I took a spoonful every half hour and thought I was beginning to regain my voice. During the performance, I seemed to be doing fine, being careful not to strain my voice on the high parts of the songs and speaking my dialogue a bit softer, until one scene. During a scene where the tailor, Motel, tried to tell me that he wanted to marry my daughter, my voice cracked because I had to yell at the tailor to get him to finally tell me the information he wimpishly stuttering. The cracking was actually appropriate for my reaction to his request to marry my daughter. What I thought was a disastrous embarrassment actually caused the biggest laugh of the evening.
- Bob Zogby ‘72


1974-1978

Hi, it's NANCY BEZEK NEEDLER and boy do I have memories......but the one that was captured time and time again was the DOUBLE CAST scenario.  Musicals between 1974 and 1978 often were double cast, meaning of course, two sets of entire casts that would rotate between performances.  So thanks for letting so many more students perform.  It was a wondeful way to see various techniques from individuals and also a perfect way to protect those young voices.  My thanks also go out to the pit bands, makeup staff, backstage staff (scenery and technical gurus) and the dancers too.  


1978

After graduating from MCC, I performed in many theaters throughout Rochester. Mostly the Downstairs Cabaret (Nunsense, One Man Band), Blackfriars (Chess, Sunday in the Park with George, Evita, An Evening of Andrew Lloyd Webber) and Shipping Dock (Personals, Ain't Missin Dinner) as well as have performed in dozens of cabaret shows at Station 42 and Beams. I have sung on a couple of commercials, Duke Spinner, Doyle Chevrolet and Held Projanki's. I also was Production Coordinator at the JCC and have worked in all of the backstage aspects of theater, throughout the community...Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, Lighting, Props, Dresser - you name it, I've done it. And I love that part of it almost as much as performing! I was in a wedding band for two years, DejaVu (which my sister, Lorraine, took over for me when I left town) And, I think I've sung at about 100 church weddings as well! In 1993, after a year long stint doing One Man Band at the Downstair's Cabaret, I decided it was time to move to NYC and spread my wings. Well, I've been here for these past 10 years and still love it. Still single, but looking, I live in the East Village with 3 roommates and work at Interior Design Magazine as Assistant to the VP, Publisher. I do perform cabaret once in a while and most recently performed a solo act at Don't Tell Mama. I also have released a CD, Higher than the Moon, a compilation of my favorite jazz standards which you can purchase from yours truly. Hope to be at the reunion, but if I don't make it, I'll be there in spirit!

- Donna Accorso - Class of 78 - daccorso@reedbusiness.com


Here are a couple obscure relics I found while poking around the remote corners of the stage a few years ago while working on a kearney show. The stage is a magical place full of mystery and curious shadows- the "lighting office" was the pride of each stage crew who had the pleasure of working in it. It was the domain of the upper classmen, usually, unless they weren't around. It was like walking into a live circuit, it was literally and figuratively "electric".
 
 The "front" is actually the back of a piece of paneling, signed by Christopher Mull "78", Mark Indovina, MGR "77", and Tom Passaretti "77".
 
The "back" is the actual paneling finish, which some of us remember the look, the feel, and the smell of...
 


1978

STAGE CREW - "S CREW"

yeah,  we were cool. We (stage crew 1983) were "so bad" (details forthcoming after a few drinks-see you at the reunion!)...that we were actually banned from the auditorium enmasse and ordered to disband by Principal Brother Walsh. Eventually we negotiated our way back into the musical("Funny things happen in the Auditorium"). and we had a logo, too.
 
Tim (Bozo) Prinzing '83
 
what legacies did we pass on? pink bellies, otto the-rubber-chicken, and the zoo. I think we were the last crew to ever do maintenance on the turn-tables...POWERTOOLS FOR EVERYONE!

The moment I was hooked: freshman year...I quit wrestling 1/2 way thru season and gave up on athletics. I was working weekends with my dad doing plumbing & heating. One day I was installing a furnace in Steve O’Hara’s basement, he told me to try stage crew...the next weekend I entered the theatre from the backstage door for the first time. The crew was in full swing building/lighting Pippin. The tunes were crankin on the P.A. system...I think it was Genesis, (Lamb). It was amazing, the air was thick with sawdust, hemp (rope), melting gel...the licos and fresnels were on... guys were everywhere, it was soooo wild, so dramatic. I think I sorted and straightened nails for two hours, then I swept the stage, yeah, this was cool. Paul Haefner in his green ford pickup truck drove home the Webster crew every weekend. He smoked merit gold, and soon, so did we. (Although, when he joined the brothers, we didn't let the peer pressure get to us)...Pippin was a technical masterpiece. Got the shock of my life that year. I was working stage left and it was my job to plug in the lights on the rolling platforms before that scene with the white faces and white gloves. For some reason it was actually wired backwards so the male end of the plug was actually live. I picked up both ends and WHAM-YOOOOOOOOOOW! THE CART LIT UP using me as a jumper cable, across the stage the guys said my eyes really lit up. My hair has never laid flat since then.

Tim (Bozo) Prinzing '83

The torch passes on to the post-shahin era: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Waay to the Forum" stage crew 1983


Man Of LaMancha Stage Crew (some of us) with Brother (oh, Brother) Mark "rosco" Cavanaugh.
L2R:

Tim Prinzing, Bro. Mark, Pete Logar, Paul Allen, Lou Micca, Don Haehl, John Clement, Tim Palamar.


1983 lighting crew


1983 lighting crew

Man of LaMancha opening night, Dancer Denise Ugino and stage crew Dan Kester and Paul Allen, and Tim Palamar


1978

I first auditioned for the school musical in my freshman year in 1978. I didn't have the strongest stage voice so I didn't get in that year or the next. In my junior year I joined the band, which included playing in the pit band for the musicals. I auditioned again that year and the next for a part in the musical and Ray just said to me, "I'm not picking you for the musical. I need you in the band. You're the only guitar player". He always knew best, because since graduating from college with a master's degree in music, I found my niche as a theater pit musician. In the last 12 years I have played guitar, bass, banjo and mandolin in over 50 pits throughout Western New York .

-Leah Zicari, Class of '81


Dawn Sharpstene on Follow spot

 
Crew heading out for a night of golf (immature golf that is) Don, Paul"fender bender" Bowers, and Mike "Load" Fonte. Not shown, but also in tha back of Don's Silverado Pickup was probably Dan "wheeler-dealer" Bender.

 
Cabaret Crew:
Steve "casey" O'hara at the console, Don aka "Crash" and Cathy aka "Zoom" dancing the night away... Tim looks on (wearing a suit to tech a show???) Cabaret was very special, indeed! They were serving alchohol at the dinner theater, what else can I say?

 

Joe Micca


anonymous


 

Otto

Otto made many appearances in Kearney musicals, but the best was his duet with Peter Veech during the balad of "Little Bird-little bird" from "The Man of La Mancha". His was a talent bested only, arguably, by the "rubber stage weight-dropped-from-the-loft" gag.