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Theater Review: The Awkward High School Times We Treasure, Being Staged By Town Players



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For the first time in thirty years, The Town Players of Newtown have produced a musical. It is the perfect show for the space and talent as well as all those audience members who recall some cringe-worthy high school moments along with some special relationships.

Brian DeToma is directing Is There Life After High School?, by Jeffrey Kindley and Craig Carnelia, to charming perfection.

This funny and sweet little piece will remind all with high school in their rearview of the awkward episodes they wish they could take back as well as the times they treasure: the winning game, the first kiss, and the friendships that may or may not have endured.

Simple songs are accompanied by a single piano set on the stage and played by Noelle Veillette, who also serves as music director.

The players appear in the program by their own names. Each plays several parts as the characters experiences are recalled and relived. All of the actors are good and manage the vocal requirements well. Their stories define them as high school outcasts (and who isn’t in high school?), making the disparity of their vocal skills completely appropriate and entertaining.

In simple costumes, the eight performers — Joshua Adelson, Mike Armstrong, Simone Matuvenice, Stephanie Rosenberg, Steven Schmidt, Amy Strachan, Zach Theis, and Emily Volpentesta — sing, dance, and reminisce.

Life after high school is different for each. Playing the Homecoming Queen, Simone Matuvenice stubbornly clings to her moment of glory as she finds married life with her King less than the romantic adventure she anticipated.

On the other hand, Amy Strachan and Mike Armstrong, both superb singers, are happy they did not know each other in high school; it was so embarrassing!

Representing a lovely sisterhood, Stephanie Rosenberg, Emily Volpentesta, Amy Strachan, and Simone Matuvenice poignantly sing of a romantic evening when nothing happened.

Zach Theis is just terrific in his several roles. He has an engaging presence and a terrific voice.

Joshua Adelson is energetic and enthusiastic — a really fun actor to watch.

Recounting the things he learned in high school, Steven Schmidt is charmingly convincing.

Is There Life After High School? is a stroll down memory lane with all its challenges and successes. These actors do a great job of recreating the scenarios we all remember. Three more weekends of performances are planned at The Little Theatre. Go, relive these high school experiences, and see if it doesn’t make you just a little nostalgic.

Performances continue weekends until October 19, including Sunday matinees on October 6 and 13, at The Little Theatre, 18 Orchard Hill Road. Visit newtownplayers.org or call 203-270-9144 for addition information or reservations.

For the first time in the company’s history, Town Players of Newtown is presenting a musical. Cast in what our theater reviewer says is “the perfect show for the space and talent” are, clockwise from upper left, Joshua Adelson, Steven Schmidt, Zachary Theis, Mike Armstrong, Stefanie Rosenberg, Simone Matusevice, Amy Strachan and Emily Vopintesta. —Nicole Nagarwalla photo
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