The Community College of Rhode Island’s Performing Arts Department has announced that it will present its 11th annual three-day production of Hello Broadway at the Knight Campus’ Bobby Hackett Theater beginning Friday, June 21st.
Directed by CCRI music professor Dr. Audrey Kaiser, this year’s ensemble cast performs The All Night Strut!, a Great Depression-themed production of swing music from the 1930s and ‘40s.
Tickets are priced at $17 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and CCRI faculty and staff, and can be reserved by phone at 401-825-1135 or purchased at the box office the night of the event.
The All Night Strut! musical revue details American history through the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war boom with eclectic jazz, blues and big band classics from legendary songwriters Erskine Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Glenn Miller. Songs include “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” and “Tuxedo Junction.”
“For such a difficult time in our history, the music is exhilarating,” Kaiser said. “There’s no real script or dialogue. The story is told through the lyrics.”
This year’s cast features a mix of current students and Hello Broadway alum, including Michelle Legault, Nathan Melo, Jessica Still, Cara Higgins, Jessi Migliozzi, Nick Barratt, Tony Rodrigues, Jason Tramonti, Naomi Tyler, and Laura Castellone. The production staff includes Jen Hammond, stage manager; Tom Ricciotti, sound design; and Haley Ahlborg, lighting design, along with a pit orchestra featuring Kaiser as the conductor and pianist, Joe Grilli on bass, Ken DiBiasio on drums and Fernando Marzan on the saxophone.
“Our performers are doing wonderful work,” Kaiser said. “They are learning how to accomplish an entire project in a short time frame. That’s the way a professional company operates. There’s no time to wait until you get it. You have to work at it, and our focus is amazing because of it. We surround them with everything they need and they are working with professionals that have been in the field. The experience is beneficial for everyone involved.”
Opening night includes performances at 2 and 8 p.m. and is the culmination of an intense, five-week audition and rehearsal process for cast and orchestra members in preparation for the event. Showtime is 8 p.m. on June 22nd following by a 2 p.m. matinee June 23rd.
Dr. Kaiser launched CCRI’s summer musical theatre project more than a decade ago and has directed each annual rendition, including four years of performing at the Newport County Campus before relocating to the Bobby Hackett Theater in 2013. Kaiser toured the United States for more than 30 years composing, arranging and recording alongside Carol Lyon as Two of Hearts, a two-woman cabaret act performing Broadway show tunes and American classics. Lyon also assists Kaiser as a vocal coach each year during CCRI’s production of Hello Broadway.
Hello Broadway is funded through corporate and individual donations in addition to student-generated sponsors. For more information, visit https://www.ccri.edu/hellobroadway.
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest community college, enrolls nearly 20,000 students and an additional 8,500 individuals in workforce development programs and adult education courses annually. CCRI also provides transportation education and certification to 14,000 Rhode Islanders each year. Classes and programs are offered at CCRI’s full-service campuses in Warwick, Lincoln, Providence and Newport, online and in partnership with the Westerly Education Center. For more information, visit www.ccri.edu.