Gouverneur High School presents Big Fish: The Musical
by Jessyca Cardinell
The Gouverneur High School auditorium was filled with folks ready to watch a truly wonderful performance of the GHS Musical “Big Fish”.
“So many people contribute their time and talents to making a Broadway-level musical a success,” Director Carol Amberg said.
“The students work very hard learning, practicing and polishing their steps for all of the choreography they perform. They have lines and songs to memorize, not to mention quick costume changes. Each member of the crew is assigned, by the stage manager, to set pieces to move off and on to the stage for each scene change. The lighting people have to set up and execute dozens of light changes throughout the show.
“Our sound technician has to know the show extremely well so he can anticipate every character's entrance and get their microphones on at the right time. The costume crew has had to assemble over 120 costumes and engineer the costume changes throughout the show.
“The scene design class worked to create the scenery and set props. The members of the theatre arts class each did some kind of internship in support of the musical. Our property mistress has assembled and distributed all of the hand props that appear in each scene. Theatre is truly a collaboration of many, many people.”
Auditions were held and once every character was assigned, rehearsals began at the end of December. There was a rehearsal every school day from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. and often Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Learning all of the many pieces and details involved in making a true great musical challenged the students, from the younger fifth graders just starting out, to the more experienced seniors.
Mrs. Amberg said their dedication and the many rehearsals helped them. As well she said, “They truly love this show and that helps too!”
“I am proud of the work ethic of many of the students and proud to see how far the older members of the cast have come since they first started participating in musicals,” Amberg said.
The students’ determination, dedication and pure hard work certainly paid off as they took the stage, ready to give the performance their all. The audience with the help of a little imagination was able to truly enjoy the fantastic show put forth. Each and every student actor made one forget they were watching a show.
“Big Fish: The Musical” tells the heartfelt story of an adult son Will, who is no longer amused by the extravagant tales his father Edward once told him as a boy. Tales and stories including a giant named Karl, a witch who told him of his life's fate, the way in which he met his mother at a circus and the mermaid who taught him about love.
As he is now ready to start his own family with wife Josephine and his soon to be born son, he wants his father to come to reality and the realization that this was all a fantasy world. However, as Edward Bloom falls sick and is getting closer to the end, he starts telling Josephine his tales and she believes them and even comes across some clues that he may be telling the truth. She convinces Will to look further and give his father the benefit of a doubt.
As the stories are unfolded for the audience's delight so too is a truly magical magnificent tale of fathers, sons and the relationships we use to identify our lives.
At Edward Bloom's funeral, Will is greeted by guests, whom all appear to strongly resemble the real life characters of his father's stories. Years later, Will begins to tell those same tales to his own son.
While Big Fish: The Musical at GHS came to a close, so did the 29th and final year that Carol Amberg would have the opportunity to put on such a powerful, successful show.
“I am feeling happy,” Mrs. Amberg said. “I will certainly miss directing the high school musical, as it has been fulfilling work. I will definitely miss my collaboration with choreographer, Judi Bates and music director Kathleen Buell. However, I am ready to turn the responsibilities over to someone else. I am fondly reflective on the thousands of young people I have had the opportunity to work with over the last thirty years or so. I am looking ahead.”
Mrs. Amberg who also is in her last year teaching English for the Gouverneur Central School District. Congratulations to Mrs. Carol Amberg. The staff of the Tribune Press wishes you the best as you enter the next chapter. Wonderful job to all students who participated in this musical and to each and every person who took time out of their schedule to help this musical be the absolute success it was.
The Director of Big Fish: The Musical was Carol Amberg. The music director was Kathleen Buell. Choreographer was Judi Bates.
The cast included the following:
Edward Bloom-Kyle Bulger, Sandra Bloom-Bailey Soper, Will Bloom-Ben Foster, Josephine-Cassidy LaPierre, Young Will/Will's son-Hazen Given, Witch-Katelyn Hughes, Karl, The Giant-Cole Siebels, Amos Calloway-Connor Canell, Jenny Hill-Cali Steorts, Don Price-Evan Shampine, Zacky Price-Jaden Rodriguez
Mermaid-Madyson Bloxham, Alabama Lambs-Corryn Canell & Jaelyn Stevens, Dr. Bennett-Madison James, N.Y. Doctor-Jenneca Cook, Boy and Father-Noble Baker & Dametrius Hally, Mayor-Kaleigh Weber, Dancing Bear-Sara Smith, General Patterson-Noble Baker, Red Fang-Evan Shampine, Sign Girl-Lisa Marie Baez.
The Towns folk, wedding guests, circus folk, westerners were portrayed by the following: Noble Baker, Madyson Bloxham, Corryn Canell, Jenneca Cook, Kayla Hocking, Madison James, Hope Leader, Madison McIntosh, Dakota Trejo, Kaleigh Weber, Sara Smith, Jaelyn Stevens and Joon Waritthaporn.
The witches were played by the following students: Corryn Canell, Corinne LaPierre, Hope Leader, Madison James, and Jaelyn Stevens.
The USO Dancers were as follows: Corryn Canell, Corinne LaPierre, Hope Leader, Madison McIntosh, Jaelyn Stevensand Dakota Trejo.
The production assistant was Emily McGregor.
The stage manager was Celia Carbone, assistant stage manager was Jaymie Gotham, property mistresses were Catie Yablonski, Katlyn Coutermarsh, Maureen Griffith, William Leader, Carlee Oakes, Ebin Salsman, Evan Shampine, Katrina Wells.
Sound technician was Daniel Whitton.
On Lights were Alex Clancy and Kolby Wells.
Costumes: costumer was Lisa McCloud and student costumer was Ashley Toppin. Also Emily Geer, Felicia Tallon, Madison Walker. Special Commendation for costumes was given to Donna Stankiewicz.
The orchestra was conducted by Kathleen Buell. Violins: Lauren Correa and Carol Kissam. Viola: Margaret Hay. Cello: Ellen Darabaner. Reed 1: Scott Fulton. Reed 2: Anne Csete. Reed 3: Jenelle Yeoman. Trumpet: Paul Buell. French Horn: Erica Kissam: Keyboardists: Debbie Nikkari and Beth Johnson. Guitar: Fred Scozzafava. Bass: Victor Correa. Drums: John Dixon. Percussion: Donna Peck.
The set design and construction were handled by Robert Decker and The Scenery Design Class, including Ahmed Ladan, Lucas Carr, Jacob Davis, Austin Fayette, Michael Hoffman, Patrick Lindy, Jeraven Matice, Michael Mitchell, Kaylee Ordway, Megan Pittman, Joon Waritthaporn, Jacob Shippee, and Colten Simione.
Hairdressers were Gloria Browe and Emile Jesmer. Also Nicki Jo Travis-Colburn and her cosmetology students from Southwest Tech (BOCES), including: Sydney Brown, Kaylah Callicut, Madison Casey, Jadelynn Hitchcock, Mariahlee Otto, Michaela Shippee, and Caitlyn Wells.
Make-Up was done by Bridgette LaPierre, Heather Soper, Emily Geer and Madison Walker.
The box office was handled by Stacy Canell, Norma Clancy, Denise Given, Beth Siebels and Jamie Weber.
Ushers were members of GHS National Honor Society: Lauren Frank, Hannah Fuller, Sydney Gale, Brittany Richardson, Ashley Stowell, and Myia Tyler.
Photographer was Gidget Wainwright. Graphic artist was Dakota Trejo. Yearbook photos were taken by Stacy Canell.
Gouverneur High School presents Big Fish: The Musical