and a “De-lovely” new ticket price for kids and students!

The Barnstable High School Drama Club this week presents one of the most famous musicals of all time, Anything Goes. The plot is frothy, the lines are witty, and the music exquisite. It’s the perfect spring pick-me-up after the snowy, frigid winter we’ve all had to endure.

According to the musical’s director (and BHS English teacher) Ed O’Toole, the BHS Drama Club last presented Anything Goes 40 years ago: “It’s a little different now; the book’s been updated here and there, and the order of songs changed a little form that version, but those Cole Porter songs are still the jewels in the crown.”

No exaggeration there: great songs pop up every time you turn around in this show: “It’s De-Lovely;” “You’re the Top;” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow’” (“a show-stopper, thanks to our choreographer, Laura Shea, and her team of tap dancers,” O’Toole promises); “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and of course the title song.

“We’re trying something new this year, with a reduction in ticket prices to just five dollars for children and all students with an ID. We’re hoping that even if the name is not as familiar to them as those of our last three musicals (Grease, The Little Shop of Horrors and The Sound of Music), they’ll still be inclined to give this great show a look-see.”

“And maybe come back to see it again!” chimed in a passing BHSDC member on her way to rehearsal.

The cast, crew, and musicians number well over 100 and include BHS students and faculty, as well as students and teachers from the Barnstable intermediate and elementary schools. Students are also designing, building and painting the sets under the guidance of the club’s Technical Director, Drama Club alumnus and mainstay of local theatre, Matt Kohler. Master carpenter Wally Seaver is back, too, and if you thought his staircase in last year’s Sound of Music was spectacular, just wait until you see his handiwork on Anything Goes. Costumes are being made by a number of the club’s loyal longtime costume-makers under the leadership of yet another Drama Club alum, Joan Macallister, whom O’Toole calls “invaluable.”

The club’s assistant advisor, Jeff Billard, who along with senior Chad Williams, also plays the comical plutocrat Elisha Whitney, was quick to agree: “There is no way we could do the kinds of shows we do without Matt and Joan.”

In a nice bit of symmetry, BHS Drama and Theatre Arts teacher Keith Caldwell, double-cast with senior Billy Lundy as disguised gangster Moonface Martin, is reprising a role he last played in his senior year at BHS in that 1975 production under the direction of Jim Ruberti. Caldwell said that he “was surprised that so much of what we did back then came right back to me.” Caldwell added with a laugh, “I guess Jim Ruberti made a greater impression on me than I thought!”

Also featured in key parts are BHSDC veterans David Palmer and Gabe Rourke as the charming Billy Crocker and Isabella Macallister and Jenny Griffin as the evangelist-turned-chanteuse Reno Sweeney. Supporting them are freshman Maddie Lamothe and sophomore Hannah Wolfe as the famous debutante Hope Harcourt; junior Saarah Murphy and senior Maggie Murphy as Hope’s upper-crust mother, Evangeline; senior Colton Bergal as the madcap Lord Evelyn Oakleigh; and sophomores Sarah Carlon and Maeve Moriarty as Moonface’s sometime moll, Erma.

O’Toole cites the team approach as the key to the show’s success: “Last year, we put on The Sound of Music with much of this same team and drew over 4,000 people. That success was such a tribute to the teamwork of the Drama Club and the BHS Music Department. We are lucky to have Marcia Wytrwal, Vocal Instructor at BHS, return as our Vocal Director, and Meaghan O’Connor, who teaches Symphonic Band and Music Technology at BHS, conducting the orchestra.

“This is not a simple score by any means,” O’Toole says, “but Marcia and Meaghan prepared for months before they began working with the students, and that preparation is paying off now. Despite six snow days, a snowy February vacation, and the challenges we face in finding enough time to build and rehearse on the PAC stage between Cape Cod Symphony shows, we are — knock wood — right about where we want to be in our last week.”

Choreographer and BHS math teacher Laura Shea is a new part of the team this year. “Laura loves this show: she’s been in it before and was eager to choreograph it,” O’Toole mentions. We put out the call for tap dancers and were overwhelmed by the response. Laura and the dancers bring talent and enthusiasm to every rehearsal. I think audiences are really going to be amazed by these dance numbers.”

Asked about the specific challenges that producing Anything Goes poses, O’Toole answers, “I don’t see challenges, really; I see opportunities for me and the entire cast and crew. I love the collaborative aspects of putting on a big show like this. I always tell the students that no one is ever ‘just in the chorus’ or ‘just in the crew,’ because in an undertaking as big as this, every single part of it must go right every time we do it. And that means that everyone’s contribution is a big one. And that’s what makes the payoff so special.”

If you loved The Sound of Music last year – and over 4,000 playgoers did – you’re sure to love Anything Goes!

Anything Goes will be presented in the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center at 744 West Main Street, Hyannis on March 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7 PM, with matinees on March 21 and 28 at 2 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and students with an ID. Reservations are strongly suggested, and may be made by calling (508) 771-6246.

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The Sound of Music is here!

by Jim on March 18, 2014


The Barnstable High School Drama Club will be presenting The Sound of Music on March 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29, 2014.  The appeal of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical spans generations, with  some recalling the legendary Mary Martin on Broadway in the 1950s, others Julie Andrews in the 1964 movie, and still others Carrie Underwood on the recent live television presentation. The cast, crew, and musicians, of the BHSDC, over 150 strong, ranging from elementary students to faculty members, are looking forward to being a part of that unique tradition.


BHS Drama Club advisor Ed O’Toole says, “The Sound of Music has become a cultural icon that everyone knows, and that we tend to take for granted, simply accepting that it’s great. But it’s more than simply a collection of catchy melodies and upbeat songs. The stage version contains two numbers that didn’t make it into the movie, and both capture the tension and the anxieties of the Austrians in the late 1930s, who were living under the looming threat of the Third Reich.


“Those songs, while certainly not as bitter as some of the songs in a musical like Cabaret, are tinged with a grimsense of reality,” O’Toole says. Assistant director Matt Kohler, a Drama Club alumnus (Class of ’08), remarked, “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s shows are not all lollipops and moonbeams, and this show is no exception. There are a few frightening moments on that stage that remind us of a harrowing time in history.”


As usual, the BHS Drama Club relies on a stalwart group of regulars behind the scenes for everything from costumes to construction. However, this year, in a change that O’Toole calls “a great step forward,” the BHS Music Department is working hand-in-hand with the Drama Club. BHS music teacher Marcia Wytrwal is serving as Vocal Director and David Schroeter, Barnstable Schools Music Director, will be conducting the orchestra, which includes 41 BHS music students.


 “Marcia and Dave are the backbone of the show,” O’Toole says. “The kids love them, and all they do is work hard and then keep working even harder. Their dedication is a great example for the students. This kind of collaboration within the school is a great advantage we have here.


“There’s a real buzz about this show,” O’Toole added, noting that “we started getting reservations about a month ago, and more are coming in every day. We can’t wait to see everyone there.”



The Sound of Music opens March 20 at 7 PM.  Other performances are on March 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at 7 PM and March 22 and 29 at 2 PM. All seats are $10.  Reservations are definitely recommended and can be made by calling the Barnstable High School Drama Club at (508) 771-6246.

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Change in Audition Time

by Jim on December 31, 2013

Please note this update. This is a change from what we previously announced.

 Auditions for the roles of the children — Gretl, Kurt, Marta, and Brigitta — will be held on Wednesday, January 8 from 5-8 PM.

Hope to see you there!!

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The Sound of Music: Live at BHS!

by Jim on December 20, 2013

The announcement so many were awaiting came this week!

It’s official! The BHSDC will present The Sound of Music, the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, with shows slated for March 20-22 and 27-29 at 7 PM, and matinees on March 22 and 29 at 2 PM.

The show will be directed by Mr. O’Toole, who will be assisted by BHSDC and Keene State alumnus Mr. Matt Kohler.

Mr. David Schroeter, the K-12 Music Director of the Barnstable Public Schools, will be our Musical Director and Ms. Marcia Wytrwal, who teaches everything from Chorus to Vocal Jazz (and fresh off a stint directing The Sound of Music herself at the Barnstable Comedy Club), will serve as Vocal Director.

Auditions for Grades 8-12 will be held in the PAC on Wednesday, January 8 and Thursday, January 9 from 2:30- 4 PM, with callbacks scheduled for Tuesday, January 14 from 6- 9 PM. First rehearsal (read-through) will be on January 16 at 6 PM.

FEMALE audition songs: Climb Every Mountain  and The Hills Are Alive (8 measures each)
MALE audition song: Edelweiss and 16 Going on 17 (8 measures each)

Auditions for the roles of the children– Gretl, Kurt, Marta, and Brigitta — will be held on Wednesday, January 8 from 5-8 PM. If you’d like to audition for one of those roles, you should be able to sing eight measures of Doe, a Deer, and be able to match pitches played on a piano.

Everyone who auditions will also be asked to read lines as well.

Audition songs and sides are available outside the Drama Club office near Mr. O’Toole’s room (2726).

Anyone interested in auditioning is welcome to attend. Even if you are interested in backstage and/or tech crew only, we’d like you to come to auditions to fill out the paperwork and speak with Mr. O’Toole and Mr. Kohler.

We’re looking for everyone who likes to work hard and have fun to help us put on The Sound of Music. The Drama Club can use you no matter your talent… and you may discover a few you didn’t know you had!

BHSDC Trivia Fact: The only other time the BHSDC has presented The Sound of Music was in 1991.


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It isn’t often that a high school drama club unveils a world premiere, but that seems to be the case for the Barnstable High School Drama Club, which is presenting the first-ever theatrical presentation of a movie classic, 1940’s The Shop Around the Corner.

“Well, the world premiere in English, anyway,” Drama Club advisor Ed O’Toole stipulates. More on that later, though.

O’Toole, who is in his 15th year with the club, had long been interested in finding a seasonal show that had not been done frequently, and recalled the classic Jimmy Stewart-Margaret Sullavan film about Alfred and Klara, co-workers at a Budapest leather-goods shop who fall in love through an anonymous pen pal correspondence, but who quarrel constantly at work.

“I knew the film was one link in a long chain,” O’Toole said. “It had been based on a Hungarian play called Parfumerie, and then was remade in 1949 as a Judy Garland musical, In the Good Old Summertime. Then it  was turned into a Broadway musical in 1963 called She Loves Me. Its most recent incarnation was as the famous ‘rom-com,’ You’ve Got Mail, in 1998, which is the one most people recognize,” O’Toole admits.

“I thought, that despite the lack of a ‘brand name,’ the movie would make a perfect holiday show. So, two summers ago, I began the search for performance rights, figuring that, given all the adaptations, someone certainly would have created a theatrical version.”

O’Toole started his search for the performance rights with the traditional licensing services in July of 2012, but came up empty. A little snooping on the Internet revealed that a French translation of the script, La Boutique au Coin de la Rue, had been licensed and had played in Paris in 2002 to great acclaim.

Hoping that the rights-holder would allow him to produce an English-language version of the script, or would be able to point him in the right direction, O’Toole wrote to France – “relying on my memories of high school French and Google Translator” – to no avail. A French literary agent did give O’Toole the name and email of the détenteur des droits (rights-holder), but he never heard back from him.

“After that I tried Turner Classic Movies, Turner Broadcasting, the Loews Corporation, and even Columbia University’s Library of Rare Books, which holds the rights to publish the papers of the screenwriter, Samson Raphaelson. I wondered if performing the screenplay might be considered a form of publishing it.”

A Columbia librarian did write back to O’Toole on August 27 of this year. She told him that the librarian who might be able to help would be out for a week, and that he could expect a “delay in her response.”  O’Toole shrugged his shoulders: “Haven’t heard anything. Long week, I guess.”

O’Toole decided to go ahead with plans to perform the screenplay. “I’d given it the old college try, and I figured if someone wants to shut us down and haul me away in handcuffs, fine. It will only generate publicity for the show,” he laughed.

“I think everyone will love The Shop Around the Corner,” said BHS Drama Club co-president Charlie Nash, who plays the shop’s owner, Mr. Matuschek. “It‘s funny and sweet all at the same time.”

“And it’s a classic romance,” chimed in Nash’s co-president, Chloe Brumfield, double-cast with Virginia Olson as Klara. “Everybody knows that Klara and Alfred are meant for each other except Klara and Alfred.”

“We’re hoping that there are many fans of the old movie who are of a certain age,” grinned Alicia Pierozzi, who plays Flora, “which is why we are cutting our ticket price in half for anyone 62 and over.”

Throw in a sleazy villain, a charming set, and a little Christmas music, and you have the perfect holiday show for fans of old movies, fans of heartwarming stories, and fans of old-fashioned entertainment.

 See you around the corner next month!

The Shop Around the Corner will open in the Knight Theatre at Barnstable High School, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis, on Wednesday, December 4 at 3:00 PM. All tickets for that matinee will cost just $5. Tickets for all other shows are $10.

Performances will continue on December 5, 6, and 7 at 7 PM, with an additional matinee on December 7 at 1 PM. Tickets for audience members 62 and over will be $5 for all shows. Reservations are strongly encouraged and may be made by calling the Barnstable High School Drama Club at (508) 771-6246. 

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Come to the 31st Annual Haunted House: Grim Fairy Tales!

October 18, 2013

Join us if you dare! The legendary Barnstable High School Drama Club’s Haunted House opens this weekend! Doors open at 6pm. Tickets are 10 dollars each. Prepare for a scare, remember our motto: “If the kids don’t leave crying, we’re not doing our job!” The Haunted House opens on October 18th. Shows continue on October […]

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New Night, Same Merriment!

July 13, 2013

With many of the double-cast actors making their debut in our second performance of “Journey to Storyland,” the Knight Theatre was full of Opening Night vibes once more! An even bigger crowd than we had Thursday night was just as receptive and appreciative of the humor and creativity of the play and the antics of […]

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“Journey to Storyland” opens to big laughs from a big crowd!

July 12, 2013

Join the fairy tale fun at the Knight Theatre! Last night a large and enthusiastic opening night crowd gave a big “thumbs up” to the Summer Family Playhouse production of writer/director and BHS alum Matt Kohler’s “Journey to Storyland.” They were treated to a night of music, jokes, dancing, and a touch of theatrical satire […]

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“Journey to Storyland” Kicks Off the Summer Season!

June 25, 2013

There’s no better way to continue a tradition than to bring back an important part of it, which is why Matt Kohler, Barnstable High School, Drama Club, and Summer Family Theatre alumnus, will be directing this summer’s production, Journey to Storyland. Kohler, a recent graduate of Keene State College, where he majored in directing, is […]

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Summer Family Playhouse’s 2013 Season!

May 31, 2013

Everyone make sure to audition for our up-coming production of Journey to Storyland! Auditions will be held in the Knight Theatre! Tuesday June 4, 4-6 pm Wednesday June 5, 2:30-4:30 pm Thursday June 6, 6-8 pm Audition forms and packets will be available at the audition! This is always a great way to spend your summer days, […]

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