CLINTONVILLE – Students are hard at work preparing for this year’s musical, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”.
This 2005 jukebox musical employs its book by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters mainly to bridge the Sedaka chart-busters that are the central attraction of “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.”
“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” takes place over a Labor Day weekend getaway at a budget Catskills resort. Vacationing Lois Warner, an aspiring singer, has accompanied her recently jilted friend Marge Gelman for some cheering up on what was to have been Marge’s honeymoon at “Esther’s Paradise.” Encouraging Marge to get over her lost jerk of a fiance Lois pushes Marge into a relationship with the Resort’s headlining singer, Del Delmanaco. Delmanaco, known as a lady-killer and a great songwriter, takes Lois and Marge on as backup singers for his act when Lois informs Delmanaco that Marge’s dad is a “big music manager.” So the game is on as Lois tries to fluff Marge’s ego back up by serving her up with the attractive and poular headliner and Del Delmanaco plays up to Marge to make use of her music manager dad. We meet Del’s shy nerdy cousin Gabe Green, who serves as the resort’s gopher. Gabe falls for Marge but she now unfortunately has eyes only for Del Delmanaco. Contrasting with the young couples are Esther Simowitz, the widowed sassy resort owner, and Harvey Feldmanm, the resort’s veteran stand-up comic and social director. Esther and Harvey brings a sadder-but-wiser maturity to the production.
Excitement comes to “Esther’s Paradise” when Esther announces that a big talent agent is coming to hear their soon-to-be-famous songwriter-singer Del Delmanaco in hopes of promoting him on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Esther has concerns about repairs that are badly needed at the resort, Harvey and Gabe can’t seem to approach the women they love, Del is on a course to make himself famous, Lois is regretting that she set her best friend up for the wrong reasons and Marge has fallen for the womanizing headliner. Add to that the squabbling resort staff (Aloha Morning, the hula instructor; Wyla Esstee, the scrabble leader; and Jayne F Kaye, the Bingo Caller), unfortunate incidents in the resort dining hall under the care of Chef Ida Nukem and treatments by resort “no-bedside-manner” staff nurse Doris Shepley and one is in for a fun musical ride through the tunes of Neil Sedaka.
Songs in the production are “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” “Oh, Carol,” “The Diary,” “Lonely Nights,” “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Calendar Girl,” “Next Door to an Angel,” “Where the Boys Are,” “Solitaire,” “Stupid Cupid,” “”The King of Clowns,” “Betty Grable,” “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” “You Never Done It Like That,” “My Friend,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Little Devil,” and “Laughter In the Rain.”
Cast members include Alicia Moon, Riana Mefferd, Mattison Beyersdorf, Brandon Ramirez, Kieran Murphy, Emilee Aschenbrenner, Ashley Wilson, Laura Hoffman, Victoria Kraemer, Shannon Palmer, Ashley Booth, Nathan Jerabek, Andy Piper, Marshall Faulks, Nikki Hjort, Brittany Novak, Ana Huber, Taylor Carpenter, Danielle Aschenbrenner.
The musical is being directed by Dennis and Kimberly Brei. Dan Schmidt is the producer and will work with the pit band and technical elements. Tyler Klegin will assist with sound and lighting. Peggy Johnson will work with students for set and prop design, while Kathryn Murphy is assisting with costumes.
“It’s all fun 80’s music with a little romance,” said Dennis Brei. “We have 19 kids acting and even though we got a late start, it’s coming together well. We want to keep the tradition of the high school musical alive. It’s tough because there are so many more things for kids to do today versus 30 years ago. We’re having fun, and we look forward to presenting it to the community.”
Performances will take place in the Clintonville High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11; 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.