Answering the age-old question — 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love?'
St. Vincent Summer Theatre is billing its upcoming season as “A Summer of Fun, Farcical and Fabulous Moments” — which basically summarizes the three shows the professional theater company will be staging in its 49th year.
“Fun” aptly refers to the opening production, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” May 25 to June 11, a musical tribute to the female singers of the ‘60s and their pop-music hits, such as “Hey There Lonely Boy,” “You Don't Have to Say You Love Me,” “I Will Follow Him” and the unforgettably upbeat “My Boy Lollipop.”
“Farcical” is a fitting description for the second show, “See How They Run,” June 29 to July 16, a farce by Philip King that takes place in England in the 1940s with a nine-member cast that includes Dan Krell, Dave Holyoak, Christopher Swan and Daina Michelle Griffith.
And “Fabulous” is certainly appropriate for St. Vincent's final theater production of the summer season, “My Way, A Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” Aug. 3 to 20, starring Allan Snyder as an older Sinatra, Eddie Brandt as a younger Sinatra, Anne Tolpegin and Lara Hayhurst.
Greggory Brandt, producing artistic director at St. Vincent who directs each of the shows, says this season offers a good variety for theatergoers.
The first production, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” is a favorite in the “jukebox musical” genre. It was written by Roger Bean, who also created “Route 66” and “The Marvelous Wonderettes.”
The show revolves around Millie, a soon-to-be-married young woman who has some secrets that come across early to the audience, says Sarah Hoch, who portrays the bride-to-be.
“You can tell within the first couple minutes that something's not right with Millie,” she says. For one thing, her groom is nowhere to be found — and their wedding is to take place in a few days.
Millie and her best friends Sally (Brittany Silver), Flo (Abby Hart) and Dee Dee (Greta Kleckner) are celebrating at her bachelorette party, which turns into a free-for-all of shared feelings about their love lives with plenty of solos and tunes in four-part harmony.
Hoch, who lives in New York, comes to the show with some recent experience about brides-to-be, having had her own real-life wedding on April 22. A musical theater graduate from Drake University in Iowa, she is making her debut at St. Vincent. She has performed at various regional theaters across the country in productions of “Sweet Charity,” “Spring Awakening,” “Grease,” “Legally Blonde” and more.
Hart, also new to the St. Vincent stage, trained at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia and has appeared in regional theater, national tours and on other New York stages. She also was cast as Angelina in a national tour of “Angelina Ballerina the Musical.”
Silver, who studied theater at Montclair State University in New jersey, played the role of Sally at the Palace Theatre in South Carolina and performed in a production of “Into the Woods” at St. Vincent two seasons ago.
Kleckner, who was a featured performer in St. Vincent Summer Theatre's production of “Cole,” also appeared in national tours of “Damn Yankees” and “Elf” and other regional productions. She studied musical theater at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre and lives in Manhattan, New York.
She says while she loves the hustle and bustle of New York City, she's enjoying “the opportunity to make fun art in the mountains at St. Vincent Summer Theatre. It's a dream come true.”
Renata Marino is choreographer and Wendy Feaver is music director for “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
Brandt says the summer season will again offer theatergoers its Cabaret after-the-show party. St. Vincent students serve snacks, hot dogs and beverages after the production and also provide entertainment. The cabaret is open after all performances except Thursday preview shows and matinees. Donations of $5 per person are encouraged.
The 28th annual St. Vincent Summer Theatre Gala will be on July 7, with proceeds to benefit the theater. For details, call 724-805-2901.
The 2017 St. Vincent season won't officially end until after its fall production of “Showstoppers: A Broadway Revue” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7. The revue will provide a nostalgic look back at memorable songs of Broadway past and present, featuring more than 20 songs from more than a dozen musicals.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.