Spring musical marks district’s first live theatrical performance since Fall ‘19
For the first time since 2019, members of the Johnstown Drama Club will perform live on stage in front of an audience, with the return of the district’s annual spring musical on March 25, 26 and 27. This year’s production will be “Seussical,” a musical comedy featuring stories and characters from many of Dr. Seuss’ most famous works.
Shows will take place at the Johnstown Performing Arts Center at Johnstown Jr./Sr. High School (1 Sir Bills Circle, Johnstown, NY 12095) at 7:00 p.m. on both Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, with an additional performance at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the door.
First-time director, Ms. Ashley Polidore is at the helm and serves as director, musical director and choreographer. She is a 2012 Johnstown graduate who currently works as a substitute teacher in the Johnstown School District. Polidore is flanked by assistant director and producer Christopher DeConno who is a special education teacher at JJSHS, and assistant musical director Michael X. Bevington, a 2015 graduate of Johnstown.
Polidore agreed to direct the show in late January, after the previous director parted ways with the district. With less than two months until opening day, she decided the best way to jump into her new role was to do a “total reset” with the entire cast and crew.
“Our very first rehearsal, we got down to basics. We just sat in a circle, went through the entire show and sang all the songs,” she said.
Polidore commends the cast and crew for their hard work and perseverance, as well as the trust they showed in their new director.
“At first, I was nervous to tell them there was going to be a new director, but luckily, they were on board almost immediately,” Polidore said. “You could feel the energy in the room shift. After the ‘fresh start,’ everyone has just thrived.”
Polidore, DeConno and Bevington all have several years of experience with local community theater and were excited to share that knowledge with the students.
“We used our outside experiences to help mold a true theater experience for the Seussical cast and crew,” DeConno said. “We’ve built up the Johnstown Drama Club to be more robust so we now have officers and for the first time, our students sold ads for our playbill. Outside of putting on a great show, it’s important for the students to learn how to be in a club, how to do extracurriculars and how to be social,” he added.
As for opening night, Polidore says she will likely be a combination of nervous and excited – but most of all, proud. “These kids have been through so much, including a pandemic that resulted in the Johnstown stage going dark for two years. They’ve worked really, really hard and they deserve the best opening night possible,” she said.
Seussical Cast Members
The Cat in the Hat: Conner Edel
Horton the Elephant: Luke Solby
Boy/Jojo: Anastasija Morse
Gertrude McFuzz: Kristen Draper
Mayzee LaBird: Autumn Kurtz
Sour Kangaroo: Isabella Dittmer
Mr. Mayor: Michael Crisafulli Jr.
Mrs. Mayor: Maya LaCoppola
Bird Girls: Natalie Williams, Lucy LoDestro, Isabella Lewis
Wickersham: Jayden Elston, Carson Sarr, Cece D’Amore
Yertle the Turtle: Ally Salamack
General Genghis Kahn Schmitz: Jayden Elston
Grinch: Cece D’Amore
Vlad Vladikoff: Molly Young
Who/Cadet/Circus Performer: Ax Airey, Rebecca Rumberger, Carly Smrtic, Molly Young
Featured Dancers: Cece D’Amore, Jayden Elston, Isabella Lewis, Lucy LoDestro, Carson Sarr, Natalie Williams, Molly Young
Seussical Production / Creative
Director, Music Director, & Choreographer: Ashley Polidore
Assistant Director & Producer: Christopher DeConno
Assistant Music Director & Sound: Michael Bevington
Dance Captain & Student Choreographer: Cece D’Amore
Set & Costume Design: Justin Newkirk
Props: Sara Baldwin
Set Construction: Dave D’Amore, Matt Lewis, Jake VanEvery
Set Painters: Ax Airey, Pamela Baran, Michael Bevington, Becky Boggie, Michael Crisafulli Jr., Cece D’Amore, Virginia D’Amore , Chris DeConno, Kirsten Draper Jayden Elston, Autumn Kurtz, Joe LoDestro, Anastasija Morse, Ashley Polidore, Hailey Preston, Carson Sarr, David Snyder
Photography: Sara Baldwin, Kyle Polidore
Seussical Crew Members
Stage Manager: Hailey Preston
Stage Crew: Lein Goodemote, Cole Preston, Axel Ritcher, Alannah Sheckton, Alex Smith, Hunter Zelich