Little Theatre to perform ‘All Together Now’

Little Theatre to perform ‘All Together Now’

Image Credit: Lori Feeney

When the stage lights come up next at The Little Theatre in New Philadelphia, it will be for a first-of-its-kind production, running for one weekend only. An ensemble cast of 18 and 30 dancers from the Tuscarawas Dance Arts Center will perform the all-new musical revue, “All Together Now,” from Friday, Nov. 12 through Sun, Nov. 14.

The show is part of a global effort to help theaters recoup some of the losses they suffered during the pandemic. More than 2,500 theaters across the globe, in all 50 states and in more than 40 countries, will perform the show simultaneously.

“The purpose of the show is to make people aware of us and to help us recover from a year and a half off,” director Kathy Blair-Bergstrom said. “During COVID, nobody was allowed to do anything, and it really hit theaters hard.”

Something for everyone

With songs from musicals as varied as “My Fair Lady,” “Rent,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Les Misérables,” Bergstrom said this show has something for everyone. The show’s 15 songs were chosen by her from a list of 40.

One of those songs is “Tomorrow” from “Annie,” featuring 10-year-old soloist Lydia Gustkey of Dover in her first show at TLT. The daughter of Jamie and Sharon Gustkey, who also is in the ensemble, Lydia said, “I like to sing a lot because my mom is a singer, and it’s fun.”

As TLT celebrates its 70th year, Bergstrom wanted to include songs from some of the shows performed there in the past. “We also have original cast members from some of those shows,” she said.

One of those cast members is Kameron Murdock of Bolivar, who was in TLT’s 2006 production of “Oliver!” Murdock will sing in “Consider Yourself” and will solo in “Beautiful City” from “Godspell.”

After a long dark spell, Murdock said, “Now that we’re all back together, it’s really inspiring to be working with everyone and seeing how much passion they have for the theater.”

Chester Boffo of New Philadelphia, who will play Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast,” said, “Lumiere is on my bucket list of characters to play, so it’s exciting to actually get to do it.”

Boffo’s wife Jade also is in the ensemble. “I’m glad to be bringing theater back here,” she said. “It’s an energetic and super fun show.”

Veteran TLT actors Don Irven and Bart Herman will treat the audience to “A New World” from “Songs for a New World” and “Children Will Listen” from “Into the Woods.” Both also are featured as part of the ensemble in other numbers, as are all the actors.

Herman also is the show’s musical director, and Rex Huffman is assistant director.

“It was really important to me that everybody in the cast have at least one solo so they all have a chance to shine,” Bergstrom said.

Getting in on the act

Michael Antonelli, Kait Wilsterman and Lee Elliott will serve as “hosts,” entertaining the audience with trivia about the musicals and the history of The Little Theatre.

Choreography is provided by Shannon Mitchell. Others involved in the production are Mary Maxwell, production assistant; Tom Albury, lighting; Pam Douglas, stage manager; Lee Elliott, dramaturge; Michael Brindley, sound; and Kathy Cummings and Joe Compton, back stage.

Dancers are under the direction of Shelly Beitzel with choreographers Lee Beitzel and Pamela Susco.

Evening performances on Friday and Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and children. Call the Kent State University Performing Arts Center box office at 330-308-6400.