Jul 25, 2014

Podium Players Present "My Fair Lady"

Community theater group, with more than 50 cast and crew, takes on a challenge.

It was all hustle and bustle on Wednesday night as the Podium Players were doing their last rehearsal for the show “My Fair Lady.”

The musical will be performed at East Hampton High School Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

The community theater group started as a Barbershop Quartet in 1959, in Hebron. Over the last 52 years the community has grown into a cast of more than 30 people for the upcoming show. The Podium Players have wanted to do this show for a long time, but held off because of the huge undertaking in doing “My Fair Lady.” The show requires numerous and elaborate costumes. The set is also larger than most shows and more elaborate.

Despite the labor-intensive nature of the show, they decided it was finally time.

“The set is mammoth,” board president Kim Cordeiro said, "but is worth it because we have been wanting to do it for years.”

Cordeiro has been with the group for years, and like everyone else has held different positions, including director. Cordeiro was especially excited about this production because her former high school and middle school drama teachers are working on the play.

There are also at least a dozen crew and 18 musicians, making this an event that is put together by well over 50 people. The cast and crew range from young children to older men and women, all volunteering to either help or be a part of the play.

“It’s a challenge,” Cordeiro said.

The troupe needs the support of its audience because $10,000 has already gone into the show. The production needs to get a good turnout for The Podium Players to make enough money for their next production.

Cordeiro said she hopes at least 1,500 people will come. That’s how many people attended last year's show. Cordeiro has high hopes, though, as more people have been buying tickets online than ever before.

Lesley Gallagher, the shows director, likes the volunteer aspect of the Podium Players. She does not just take on someone who is the best but “someone who is eager, who wants to be in the show.”

Gallagher, who has been part of the Podium Players for 22 years, directed her first play when the original director got sick.

“They said 'OK, you're director,' and that was it.”

Once a dance choreographer, Gallagher says the transition to director was a good one. This is the eighth show she has directed. She said she loves directing plays.

“It get’s in your blood and it can’t get out,” Gallagher said

Valerie Bozzi, the show’s stage manager, agreed.

“I really liked the process," she said. Seeing it all come together is quite astonishing.”

Bozzi has been with the community theater group 25 years. She has volunteered  to help in many ways, including director, stage manager and costume director.

Two of the actors, husband and wife Kathy and Chuck Martie, got involved with musicals because their daughter also became involved.

“We just thought it would be fun,” Kathy Martie said.

"She used to love the music to this show,” her husband laughed.

Like the Martie’s, Linda Hincks got into the Podium Players because of her kids interest in the group. Her children did a play with the group at summer camp.

Hincks got involved and “from there I just kept doing more and more.”

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