Huntington High School drama club members are quite pleased with how last weekend’s production of William Marchant’s The Desk Set unfolded and the audience’s reaction to the show.
Weeks of auditions and rehearsals clearly paid off as the three shows over Friday and Saturday all earned rave reviews. The actors and stagehands themselves felt the production went exceedingly well and they left the high school auditorium late Saturday night walking on air.
The play’s cast included (in order of appearance) Keenan Lyons, Sarah Biernacki, Isabella Cahill, Catherine McCooey, Natalie Ciccone, Abby Semelsberger, Joshua Avidor, Robert Jean-Gilles, Charlotte Simon, Brenden Garcia, Ryan Aguirre, Joshua Youngquist, Rebecca Hoffmann and Katherine Eichenberger.
“Party revelers” included Chloe Buffone, David Canas-Granados, Erica Flaherty, Maggie Imperato, Gabe Moskovitch, Devlin Starr, Chloe Wheeler and Faith Youngquist.
The production’s stage crew featured: Lighting: Christopher Deveau (stage crew manager/lighting), Andy Ulloa (board operator) and Drew Spina; Sound: Olivia Perez, Tati Feliciano (board operator) and Jazmynn Clark; Set build/paint: Andrea Delcid Ayala, Sylvia Belanger, Jazmynn Clark, Collin Garcia, Beth Heffernan, Christina Hornstein, Sofia Lopez, Sophia Matheus, Harrison K. McKenna, Olivia Perez, Samantha Perille, Allison Quinn, Jonathan Ramirez, Jack Semelsberger, Rashiem Sexton, Joe Tropeano and Emma Vaughn.
Longtime Huntington drama club faculty advisor Michael Schwendemann was the play’s director. Maddie Haughwout was the student director and Glenn Deveau was the technical director. Abby Semelsburger handled choreography and Carrie Semelsberger took care of costumes and set dressings. Ellen Fleury created the acclaimed playbill. Zane Whitney Jr. was the show’s technical advisor.
“It was a really terrific show that gave us all the chance to turn back time to a period where human interaction was paramount to technology,” Mr. Lyons said. “I especially loved the comedic aspect, which really brought the characters and their personalities to life. I thought the two levels in the set added an interesting visual that is not standard in many plays. All in all, a wonderful experience and a great, collaborative cast and crew!”
Audiences took delight in attending shows on Friday night and against on Saturday afternoon and evening. There was excitement in the auditorium for all three sessions.
“I could really feel the enjoyment of the audience the entire time,” Ms. Biernacki said. “Their laughter made all our long hours of rehearsal worthwhile. The cast was terrific and we had so much fun dressing in our mid-century costumes. We all had to learn how to use rotary phones. It was a blast!”
The actors really worked hard to put on the best show possible. The stage crew reached new heights with its work, enhancing the entire production from curtain to curtain.
“I could not be happier with how the show went,” Abby Semelsberger said. “We all worked so hard and it all came together and I could not be prouder of my cast and crew. It was such an amazing experience that I am so grateful for and a show I will remember for the rest of my life.”
When the final bows were completed everyone was thoroughly exhausted. The final week of rehearsals was grueling and the three shows tested everyone’s nerves. But all agreed that it was a lot of fun.
“Out of the three years that I have been at the high school, The Desk Set has been my favorite drama production,” Mr. Jean-Gilles said. “I love the story and everything. I feel that the cast and crew were really solid with this one. We all had a fun time putting this show together. The audiences were laughing at all the right spots and the overall vibes were quite positive.”
The high school drama club will stage a musical in the spring, but right now the group’s members are going to savor the fine job they did last weekend.
“I thought the energy the entire cast put into every show was fantastic,” Ms. Cahill said. “All three audiences were so great and really enjoyed it and everyone involved just had so much fun. It was definitely one of my favorite shows.”
The actors and stagehands are pretty tough on themselves. They demand a first rate effort for every show and last weekend that is exactly what they produced.
“Being student director allows me to have an insight on how both Mr. Schwendemann and the cast feels,” Ms. Haughwout said. “As the weeks went by, it was easy to see both sides felt the show was coming along great and I believe that the performances all displayed this very well. Their energy was impeccable and each show was better than the last. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody in the cast and crew and can’t wait for my final show with everyone this spring.”