2009-12-10 / Letters to the Editor

A successful ‘Willy Wonka’

There are so many ingredients that go into the making of a delicious performance. Like so many other recipes, if you omit just one item, the results are diminished. Such is the case with the recent production of “Willy Wonka,” produced by the Jamestown Community Theatre.

Many people gave generously of their time, talent and money, and the end result was a play that, in the words of Wonka himself, was “scrumptious.” The cast and crew worked diligently for months on their creation, and we owe them all our gratitude. Although it might seem long-winded to list each person and organization by name, it’s a great opportunity to see just how many community members it takes to fulfill such a magical vision.

Mary Wright inspired us throughout with her energetic direction. Patty Vandal and Walter Sage kept us on tune as musical directors, Carol Hopkins and Debra Murphy made sure the oompas’ toes were tapping with their choreography, and Maia White and Maryanne England assisted in keeping track of details and organization during rehearsals. Lee White gave us a feast for our eyes with her imaginative costume design, and Tony Gutierrez created the Wonka world for us to live in with his set and lighting design. His ongoing dedicated assistants were Dan Wright, Greg DiGasper, Bill Geib, Sam Baugh, Robert Gibbs, Peter Hansen, Jack Cunningham, Shannon Reardon, Marc Rubenstein, Joanne McNamee, Geherily Gomez and Sean McCarthy.

Like a duck swimming on the water – cool on the surface, but paddling like mad below – our backstage crew worked tirelessly to make sure that everything went smoothly onstage. Missy Engelhard, Kellie Tolland, Teresa Murphy, Madeline Robinson and Alex Burke made for an impressive backstage tech crew, while John Warner, Maia White, Allie Brown, Caty Schnack and Bennet Hirsch kept us seen and heard with lights and sound. Dori Hirsch, with help from Jane McCarthy, provided us with props to hold. Mary Haite, as chief “kid wrangler,” kept the company organized and the oopma loompas on time, along with the much-appreciated help of Luigina Curran, Jane Lee, Alix Flood and Ramona Bessinger. Rebekah Gomez and Dori Hirsch, with help from our amazing volunteers who worked at the intermission tables, made the experience sweeter with their leadership and selection of goods for refreshments. Xtramart, Jamestown Mobile, Trattoria Simpatico, Dolores Bauer, Toppas Restaurant Supply, McQuade’s, the Dutra Family and Rhody Fresh Farms made generous donations to our refreshment table.

Kathleen Brown, Jane Wright and Elisabeth Baker helped transport our audience with their whimsical lobby design, and Durga Larkin, Barbara Tuthill, Theresa LeBlanc and Lisa Brown kept our operation running smoothly with house management and ticket coordination. In fact, all parents of children in the cast were helpful, patient and flexible, and to each one, we give our thanks.

We played to nearly sold-out audiences at almost every show, and that is due in great part to the efforts of Cindy Blair and her beautiful poster, ad and program cover designs. Cathy Kaiser made sure that the inside of our program was as lovely as the outside with her organization and design. Baker’s Pharmacy, The Secret Garden, Cathryn Jamieson Salon, Conanicut Marine Store, Midnight Sun and Pleasant Surprise went above and beyond, once again, by agreeing to be our ticket agencies.

Likewise, the Jamestown Press has continued to be one of our greatest supporters and vehicles for publicity, and we appreciate their time and efforts. Thank you to the Walrus for his frequent Wonka updates. Advertisers helped make both our programs and our play fuller this year: They included Slice of Heaven, Chopmist Charlies, The Purple Door, Of the Earth Floral Design, Jamestown Wine and Spirits, Jack’s Electric, Jamestown Hardware, Ali Dunn Packer Memorial, Grapes and Gourmet, The Secret Garden, House of Pizza, Trattoria Simpatico, Island Realty, Lois and Allen Cicchitelli, Narragansett Cafe, Cathryn Jamieson Salon, R.I. Hand and Orthopedic Center, and Conanicut Marine. Phyllis Bedard was extraordinary in her efforts to procure advertisers.

What would a theatre be without a home, and we are grateful to the Jamestown Recreation Department for providing us with one. Rehearsals at the country club afforded us generous rehearsal time, and Bill Piva, Jill Goldstein and Deb Tungett provided exceptional support, while the teens of the Jamestown Teen Center graciously let us use their facility during performances. Thank you!

Above all, we are thankful to and for the glorious cast of actors and actresses who each night exceeded expectations, performed under pressure and provided the audiences with two hours of delight. In order of appearance, they are: Terry Horsley, Tom Wiggin, Patti Vandal, Tot Wright, Carol Hopkins, Jeffrey Kerr, Michelle Gibbs, Caelum Kerr, Hope Darrigan, Julie Adams, Madeline Brown, Julia Hirsch, Jolie Curran, Ed Silvia, Joshua Brown, Alex Burke, Mary S. Wright, Jan Trouville, Dana Larkin, Annie McIntyre, Steve Heath, Laura Smith, Natalie Tolland, Colette Baker, Rebecca Brazil, Caleb Brown, Finbar Mc- Carthy, Emma Kerr, Lauren Tolland, Sarah Farrelly, Lily Wright, Madeleine Hirsch, Abigail Hirsch, Eliza Gomez, Alyssa Gibbs, Matt Gibbs, Ula McCarthy, Henry Benson, Hope Benson, Anza DiGasper, Alex Trousilek, Rachel Warner and Hanna Geib.

Last and certainly not least, we are thankful to the many people who came to see the play, without whom there would be no point. It’s indeed a treat that we have so many people who support live, local theatre!
Lisa Kerr
producer of ‘Willy Wonka’
Jamestown Community

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