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MUSICAL 'ORCHARD OF HIDE & SEEK' BIG HIT St. John's Conservatory Theater Offers Family Fun


Last updated 8/8/2015 at 9:08am

Pirates, Fairies, Pixies, and an Evil Witch, too sing "All Around You" from the original musical ORCHARD OF HIDE & SEEK - photo by Andrea Kelly

St. John's Conservatory Theater's fourth original musical comedy Orchard of Hide & Seek, is a real audience-pleaser and continues the 16, 17, 18 & 19 in their new air-conditioned theater.

Think The Wizard of Oz meets Peter Pan in this madcap musical comedy featuring an original story and songs written and directed by award-winning playwright and composer Richard O'Donnell. No stranger to professional theater, O'Donnell was 21 years old when he and co-author Dianne Adams (Arranger for the current Tony Award-winning Best Broadway Musical "A Gentlemen's Guide to Love & Murder), landed off-Broadway with their 30's and 40's Movie Musical titled "One & One." After receiving 3 ASCAP music awards, it was later recorded by Tony award-winner Nathan Lane ("The Producers"). Eventually O'Donnell went on to write for the largest entertainment center in the country Radio City Music Hall, were he co-authored one of their highest grossing musicals "Manhattan Showboat." To date, he has written over a dozen original theatricals including Wisconsin's state musical celebrating over a 150 years titled "Wish Wisconsin" as well as the long-running cult-hits "Elmore & Gwendolyn Putts," and "The TV Dinner Hour," and last year's JCT hits "Alice Isn't All There," and "A Kreepy Christmas Carol."

The music is arranged and orchestrated by skilled musician Ryan C. McNally. A student at the Ogdensburg Free Academy, his arrangements are quite beautiful and are reminiscent of Danny Elfman's magical score for Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands," and "A Nightmare Before Christmas."

The props and sets were painstakingly created by local fine-artist Stephen Chambers. They include an authentic apple orchard, reassembled above the stage from his parent's own orchard. There is a hand painted backdrop as well as Ophelia Hollyhock's lair, where she and her evil cauldron Misty plot the demise of the fairies and the children. Mr. Chambers also hand-crafted the troll's outfit complete with eerie dragon wings. Additional costumes are provided by JCT veteran Ann Losurdo and newcomer Karen Fishbeck Carmany and include outfits for the fairies, pixies, pirates and the evil witch, too.

The dazzling choreography is staged by Claremont McKenna college student Johanna Carmany and includes over half a dozen spectacles that display a variety of cartwheels, hand-stands, and splits. This is the first time the theater company has put aside their "Reader's Theater" style format for a fully staged show. According to the enthusiastic reaction from the crowds, a choice they'll incorporate into their fall musical "Kreepy Hallow," based on Washington Irving's masterful "Sleepy Hallow." Their Christmas show will continue the trend with the restaging of their hit Brazillia R. Kreep's "Christmas Carol."

Cast with local talent from Ogdensburg, Huevelton, De Kalb, and Canton, "Orchard of Hide & Seek" stars Taylor Morrill as fairy Queen Gossamer, Myah Myers as Battyboo, Hailey Weber as Stargleam, Emily Gardner as Raindew, Meghan Gardner as Heartglow, Sloane Ryan as Prixy Pringle, Madalyn Bascom as Trixy Tringle, Caitlin Kelly as Ariah Ropidy, Payten Walsh as Opidy Dobity, Grace Wills as Zopidy Yopity, R O'Donnell as pirate Capt. Jean-Pierre Beunet, Stefanie Jones as Scallywag, Lizette Haenel as Shivers, Rebecca Bascom as Ophelia Hollyhock the evil Witch of Hubbub, Angela Conzone Dwyer as Misty Cauldron, Ryan Woodard as Bob the juggling Troll, and a surprise guest or two.

Other vital production personnel include executive producer Fr. Michael O’Donnell, executive musical director Angela Conzone Dwyer, technical director and production coordinator Christopher Dwyer, stage manager Sadie Smith, assistant stage manager Baily Durham, assistant technical director Ryan Woodard, house manager Sheila LaMere, and general manager Bill LaMere .

Prixy Pringle sings "If You Believe" to a heroic pixie Battyboo as the fairies, children & Queen Gossamer look on in ORCHARD OF HIDE &SEEK - photo by Andrea Kelly

The story of the Orchard of Hide & Seek is based on the magnificent Irish folk tales of the late 1700's. Many of the tales were set in a wooded, Medieval Ireland filled with larger-than-life characters such as kings, warriors, witches, and fairies. The battle between good and evil was always a central theme.

VIP seating is now available, which includes soft drinks and finger foods for a tax-deductible $35, as all proceeds benefit the St. John's Food Pantry.

Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings July 16, 17, and 18. Curtain is at 7 p.m. and July 19 at 2 p.m. The show runs about 90 minutes. Tickets cost $15 at the door (suggested donation), or $10 at JCT is located on the second floor of St. John's Parish House, behind St. John's Episcopal Church on the corner of Franklin and Knox streets in Ogdensburg. Handicap parking is available off Franklin Street.


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