Mac-Haydn’s Showstoppers a Wonderful Annual Show Stopping Event

As the season winds to a close at Chatham’s Mac-Haydn Theatre, it has become something of a tradition that they bring out the best of their summer casts to perform for their appreciative audience one last time before they put away the lights, the grease paint and say adieu for another season. This year’s Showstoppers fell between the final performances of the smash run of Jersey Boys and the upcoming final production of the season, The Marvelous Wonderettes, beginning this coming weekend.

If for no other reason, this year’s Showstoppers once again solidified the wonderful stable of talent that Producing Artistic Director John Saunders has managed to coral to the bucolic theatre in the Columbia County countryside. The production showed off 21 of the season’s finest, including a few surprises along the way.  The troupe was in fine voice for a beautiful Saturday noontime concert.  The music covered a wide-reaching range of the Broadway songbook. As always, there were some wonderful, outstanding pieces presented.  Time and space preclude calling out every performer, but there were some strong performances of note.

Stephanie Prestage. Photo by Ann Kielbasa_

Conor Fallon, a Mac vet currently wrapping up his stint in Jersey Boys, was in fine form with his beautiful Sibella from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Arthur Beutel, also seen in Jersey Boys, presented a stirring rendition of Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera. Anthony Velez and Bella DePaola lightened the mood with an adorable rendition of State Fair’s Isn’t it Kinda Fun. DePaola’s choreography had the pair floating across the stage. Julie Galorenzo turned the mood much more introspective with her sadly heart-wrenching Stars and the Moon from Songs For a New World.

Bella DePaola and Anthony Velez. Photo by Ann Kielbasa_

DePaola joined forces with Ashley DeLane Burger to create Bob Fosse’s stunning choreography for I Gotcha from Fosse, beautifully performed by Burger with Anthony Velez and Eric Shorey. Of course, the big surprise of the show was watching Eric Shorey leave his conductor’s podium and get away from his keyboard to flawlessly perform the number.  Mac-Haydn’s resident Music Director is apparently also a wonderfully trained dancer. Clearly a man of many talents.

Rachel Pantazis, Emily Allen and Andrew Burton Kelley. Photo by Ann Kielbasa_

One of the most outstanding performances of the day was the gorgeous duet Lily’s Eyes from The Secret Garden, shared by John Hannigan and Jacob Atkins. Following that was the afternoon’s other outstanding performance, by Andrew Burton Kelly. His rendition of What Is It About Her from the not-too-often performed or heard, Wild Party was certainly a master class in vocal calisthenics and control.  Rachel Pantazis followed with an equally compelling rendition of Wishing You Were Here Again from Phantom of the Opera. Pantazis and Kelly are a marvelously talented husband-and-wife team.

Andrew Maguire. Photo by Ann Kielbasa_

Season newcomers to Mac, Andrew Maguire performed The Games I Play from Falsetto, and Cydney Gleckner’s gender-bending Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar proved again why they are here this season. Mac regular Gabe Belyeu recreated his role of Javert from Les Mis, to perform a heart-stopping Stars to round out the afternoon. The show ended with the full cast finale of the crowd-pleasing Can’t Help Falling In Love from All Shook Up

Cydney Gleckner. Photo by Ann Kielbasa_

Showstoppers was an enjoyable afternoon that makes one only wonder who and what the Mac-Haydn Theatre will fill the stage with next summer.  Meanwhile, there is still time to enjoy the summer season with the final show, The Marvelous Wonderettes. For ticket information: www.machaydntheatre.org or call the box office: 518-392-9292.

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