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Concert celebrates Summer Drama Workshop’s 30th year

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Youth Theater performers present a number from “Once on This Island.”

Hudson – Local musical-theater performers from shows spanning three decades reunited July 25 when River’s Edge Arts Alliance (REAA) partnered with Hudson Recreation to present a concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of Summer Drama Workshop (SDW). The free concert was moved from Wood Park to inside Hudson Town Hall due to forecast of inclement weather. Serving as co-hosts were SDW Program Director Ryan DeFoe, and 7-year-old Helena Hollmer, a participant in SDW’s Little Theater for children entering grades one to three.

Guests were welcomed by Lisa Schliker, REAA board president and SDW alum. In 1989, Schliker had participated in the program’s first season’s “Camelot” with performers of high school and college age. Also produced that summer was “Snow White” with elementary and middle school students.

While the summertime program was initially known back then as Hudson Drama Workshop, a few students from out of town also participated. Now, SDW attracts young theater enthusiasts from a number of communities throughout central Massachusetts. This season offered four subprograms producing musicals with students entering grades one through 11.

Joining Schlicker onstage in the anniversary concert to sing songs from 30 years of SDW musicals were other alumni: Marcelle Durrenberger, Samantha Keville, Kevin Santos, Max Teplansky, Kaycee Wilson, Peter Worrest and Sarah Worrest.

During the concert, REAA presented its first Standing Ovation Award to Sarah Worrest, a SDW alum and longtime director. A Hudson native, Worrest studied directing and acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Since returning to the area she has been actively involved in various capacities with REAA and other community arts organizations.

The celebratory concert also featured current SDW participants including rising fourth- to sixth-graders in the Children’s Theater program performing music from “Dear Edwina Jr.,” which they staged in its entirety July 26 and 27.

Additionally, students entering grades seven to 11 in Youth Theater previewed song-and-dance numbers from “Once on This Island Jr.” SDW previously presented that musical in 2002, so the alumni and current cast shared the stage to perform the show’s music as the concert finale.

SDW’s Youth Theater will present “Once on This Island Jr.” on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 2 and 3, at 7 p.m. Also, SDW’s Little Theater will present “The Great Wolf Mashup” on Friday, Aug. 3, at 1 p.m. All of this season’s SDW productions are staged at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, 215 Fitchburg St. in Marlborough. For more information, visit upwitharts.org.

(Photos/Ed Karvoski, Jr.)

Singing songs from 30 years of Summer Drama Workshop musicals are alumni (l to r) Sarah Worrest, Marcelle Durrenberger, Kevin Santos, Peter Worrest, Max Teplansky, Kaycee Wilson, Samantha Keville and Lisa Schliker.

Children’s Theater performers sing songs from “Dear Edwina Jr.”
Sarah Worrest accepts the Standing Ovation Award from Lisa Schliker
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