This is the police! We have the place surrounded- except for the back! This is just one of many great lines sure to make you laugh in Western Wayne Drama Club’s production of the 1920s musical comedy Nice Work If You Can Get It featuring the music of Gershwin.
The show will open tonight at 7 p.m. in Western Wayne High School’s newly renovated Veterans Memorial Auditorium located at 1970a Easton Turnpike, Lake Ariel, PA 18436. Performances will also be on Saturday, April 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door at $3 for students, senior citizens, and $5 for adults. Western Wayne students are free with a student ID.
The story centers around a wealthy man-about-town Jimmy Winter, who meets female bootlegger Billie Bendix on the weekend of his wedding. Thinking Jimmy will be out of town, Billie and her gang then hides something in the basement of his Long Island mansion. But when Jimmy, his wife-to-be, and her prohibitionist family show up, Billie and her cohorts pose as servants who cause hijinks galore.
One of Billie’s cohorts is bootlegger Cookie McGee played by senior John Kear. Cookie is by far the most outrageous character in the show. He poses as a butler at Jimmy’s beach house to help him pull off a variety of schemes.
Throughout the show, Cookie pokes fun at a number of characters and sings a variety of amusing songs including “Do, Do, Do” a number he performs with a few other male cast members to help Jimmy make Billie see that he has feelings for her.
“I like playing Cookie because our personalities are very similar,” John, who will attend Marywood University next year to study music education, said. “I like to be loud and over-the-top just like him.”
Another out-spoken character in the show is Jimmy’s mother Millicent played by junior Lindsey Karwacki.
“I love my character’s attitude and her no-hold-bars demeanor,” Lindsey explained.
Unlike her cast mate John, Lindsey explained how Millicent’s personality is a stretch from who she is in real life.
“She’s a lot crasser than I am,” Lindsey said. “Playing her allows me to let loose and be a person I’m not every day. This part is a huge difference from what I played last year when I had the part of a respectable 1950s homemaker in Bye Bye Birdie. I think the audience will enjoy learning about Millicent and all of her unconventional ways in our production.”
Lindsey’s fellow cast mate Ty Alpaugh agrees that the development of many of the characters throughout the musical is something that audiences will enjoy.
“My character Billie Bendix goes through a large character progression,” Ty explained. “At first she’s tough and sure of herself. Billie is sure that love isn’t for her, but by the end she realizes ‘love isn’t for suckers.’”
Ty, who will attend Vassar College next year to study theater and film, has aspirations of being on Broadway.
One aspect of musical performance that Ty has the least experience with is dance, but this year she gained much more of that with her tap number “S’Wonderful” performed with Jimmy fellow castmate junior RJ Clemens.
“Learning a six-minute tap dance was the wildest thing I’ve ever done in a show,” Ty said. “I was able to memorize the moves easily but needed to take a lot more time to work to develop the style and techniques of the routine.”
Ty hopes her dance experience along with all of her other experiences in the performing arts will help her be prepared for her auditions in college.
Nice Work features a few tap numbers the largest tap production number being “Fascinating Rhythm” the closer to the first act. This piece features all thirty cast members. The cast is looking forward to showing off their new dance skills in this show-stopping piece.
“I really practiced the tap dancing,” senior ensemble member Ellen Dwyer said. “I especially worked on the parts where we have to move backwards and on my smiling throughout the performance. I feel like I am a much better dancer than when I started out my freshman year.”
Ellen, who has loved most making many new friends at musical over the years, looks forward to attending Luzerne County Community College in the fall to study graphic arts.
Another cast member who also named “Fascinating Rhythm” as her favorite number in the show is sophomore Rebeccah King. Rebeccah has been in musical since she was in eighth grade.
“I love the “Fascinating Rhythm” dance because all of the cast members have a special section in the number,” she explained. “I like getting to dance in the front of my group because our steps are different than everyone else’s and I’m excited for the audience to see what we have been working on.”
Rebeccah also loves all of the costumes she gets to wear in the show her favorite being the 1920’s style party dress she gets to wear in the wedding scene in Act II.
“I love my dress’ rich blue color and the bows it has on the sides,” she said. “It really helps me feel like I am back in that time instead of now.”
Cast member sophomore Honour Shaffer who plays bootlegger Duke Mahoney also thinks that wearing costumes really helps him get into character.
“The costumes really help me get an idea of who I’m supposed to be in a show,” Honour explained. “For example, last year I played Conrad Birdie and wearing his flashy clothes helped me really get a sense of his over-the-top persona. This year I find that especially wearing Duke’s hat helps me to feel what his personality should be. At first Duke is unsure of himself, but as the story progresses he gains the confidence he needs to write a love song for the girl of his dreams.”
One of two cast members who understand the progression of all of the storylines from the show is freshman Lily Visceglia. Lily and sophomore Andie Solimine both had the responsibility of being swings this year. This meant that they attended all rehearsals and filled in for all parts when cast members were absent. Both girls could step into any role and, by the end of the process, have almost memorized the script in its entirety.
“I loved how being a swing helped me to be more involved in the process of creating our show,” Lily, who dreams of performing on Broadway, said.
Lily named a few parts that she thinks the audience will love this weekend.
“One of my favorite numbers to do is the show opener “Sweet and Lowdown” because you get to be sassy with your dancing and all of the girls in the cast perform in it,” she explained. “The audience will see so many beautiful flapper dresses in the opener and will really get a feel for the 1920s era right from the start of the performance.”
Along with the large musical numbers, Lily thinks the best parts of the show are the comedic moments that both adults and kids will enjoy alike in different ways.
“There is a scene in Act I where Jimmy is talking to his future bride Eileen through the door while she is in the bathtub,” Lily explained. “I think everything about that scene is hysterical from the dialogue to the surprise guests that emerge from the tub.”
She also thinks the audience will enjoy the friendship between Jimmy and Cookie throughout the show.
“They are loveable crooks,” Lily explained. “At one point, Cookie tucks in Jimmy and they say their ‘I love you s’ before bed and it’s just too much. I know it will get a lot of laughs.”
Lily and the rest of the cast hope the audience stay until the end because the last fifteen minutes of the production are full of revelation after revelation about all of the characters who they will surely grow to love throughout the performance.
“There are so many twists and turns in the wedding scene in Act II,” Lily explained. “It’s just one ridiculous thing after the other.”
The Western Wayne Drama Club looks forward to performing for members of the community this weekend. This is the first year Western Wayne has had a yearlong drama club for students in grades 8 through 12. Along with the students in the cast, many other drama club students have been involved in the stage crew creating sets and moving them during the production. The pit orchestra for Nice Work is also composed of mainly Western Wayne band members. All involved in this production cordially invite the public to their performances.