By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Northborough/Southborough – At a red carpet event held May 18 Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) English teacher Tom Alera and the cast and crew of the school's December production, “Damn Yankees” received six High School Musical Theatre Awards (TAMY). The coveted awards were judged and granted by Mount Wachusett Community College's Theater at the Mount in Gardner. Damn Yankees” walked away with Best Playbill, Best Production Number (“Shoeless Joe”), Best Ensemble, Best Actress (Brittany Price), Best Choreographer and Best Director (Tom Alera).
On the heels of the TAMY awards honors, the ARHS thespians will be presenting this week “The Apple Tree,” a series of three musical playlets with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Bock and Harnick with contributions from Jerome Coopersmith. The three musical miniatures include: “The Diary Of Adam And Eve,” a quirky, touching spin on the tale of the world's first couple, adapted from Mark Twain's Extracts From Adam's Diary; “The Lady Or The Tiger?,” a rock and roll fable set in a mythical barbarian kingdom which explores the fickleness of love; and “Passionella” which is based on Jules Feiffer's offbeat Cinderella-story about a chimney sweep whose dreams of being a “glamorous movie star” nearly sabotage her one chance for true love. While each act has its own storyline, the three are tied together by a common theme.
“The Apple Tree makes us think about things,” said Alera. “Even when we are laughing and enjoying the songs, music and entertainment, there are some powerful ideas going on in the subtext of the musical. Additionally, each story has a strong female lead which drives each story?which is nice to see.”
Traditionally, Alera chooses a May production which is dedicated to “theater that matters,” working to connect the communities of Northborough and Southborough. Last year”” Our Town production (the first theater in the round) did just this. In preparation for the production, the cast and crew spent time with local senior citizens discussing the power of play and what life looked like 75 years ago, which was when the play first was produced. The students also did research to discover what was happening in Northborough and Southborough 75 years ago.
The Apple Tree is the school's first ever spring musical.
“Every year I work to take chances with the spring show and continue on the path of challenging and important theater,” said Alera. “My mission is always “theater that matters and makes a difference” and over the years the spring show has done just that. It's quite exciting seeing us all come together to make this work”
For Alera, the mission for the next few years is to connect with the community and build up the program.
The Apple Tree will be performed Wednesday, May 28 through Saturday, May 31 in the ARHS small performance theater. Tickets may be purchased for $10 each at the ARHS main office and at door the night of performances – seating is limited.
The cast of “The Apple Tree” includes Brad Smith, Jacob Gore, Scott Abrams, Freddie Pim, Hannah Moran, Sophie Jackson, Brittany Price, Michela Garvey, Julia Baker, Rachel Shipp, Sam Deans, Max Teplansky, John Clark, Chris Lang, Spencer Cardillo, Henry Fournier, John Arnold and Gabby Russo.