Opera House to present evening of Broadway music

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present a special evening of songs from Broadway musicals on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. The program features performances by some of Chautauqua County’s finest talent.

The program will celebrate the music and lyrics of Stephen Schwartz — one of today’s most underrated and underappreciated composers. “You might not even recognize his name,” says Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis. “But you, for sure, know some of his music!”

Some of Schwartz’s best-loved — and as well as little known — songs will be featured in this special revue, including favorites from: Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, The Baker’s Wife, Rags, Children of Eden, Working and The Magic Show, among others. Directed by Chautauqua Lake High School’s Jennifer Davis, this production features solo and ensemble performances by Julie Costantini, Davis, Katie Ryan, Chris Switala, Steve Wendell and Holly Weston, with piano accompaniment by Ben Siracuse.

Costantini is the vocal music teacher and musical director at Maple Grove Jr./Sr. High School. A resident of Jamestown, she received her Bachelors in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and her masters in Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. At the Lucille Ball Little Theatre, in Jamestown, she has played the roles of Maria in Sound of Music, Grace in Annie, and ensemble roles in Chicago, Spamalot, Ring of Fire and Forbidden Broadway. She played Cosette in Les Miserables at Jamestown Community College and was the winner of the second season of Chautauqua’s Got Talent.

Davis is a vocal and general music teacher at Chautauqua Lake Secondary School in Mayville. She directs three vocal ensembles in addition to teaching general music, guitar, songwriting and piano/theory. A native of Rochester, Davis earned a Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia and a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music. Davis has performed regionally in shows at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre.

Ryan is a trained vocalist with more than 16 years of classical, jazz and theatrical performing experience. She received her Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Gwen Coleman-Detwiler. She has received solo and ensemble musical honors and has performed in numerous venues and productions, including recent local productions of Annie, White Christmas, Chicago and Spamalot at the Lucille Ball Little Theater. She teaches general and vocal music at Chautauqua Lake Central School, where she has five choirs under her direction.

Switala is a resident of Jamestown, and financial services professional at Southern Tier Financial. He recently was seen in the title role in Lucille Ball Little Theatre’s 2016 production of Jekyll & Hyde. He was the lead singer in Up With People’s world tour of “The Festival” and a U.S. Tour with American Family Theater. He also appeared in motion picture, commercial print and media work during his residence in NYC.

Wendell lives in Fredonia and teaches at Silver Creek Central School. He directed three musicals for Fredonia High School and has been the acting coach for the past six productions there. He has also performed in half a dozen musicals in Jamestown including Chicago, Spamalot and The Addams Family.

Weston was most recently seen on the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown stage as Emma in Jekyll & Hyde, Gretchen in Boeing Boeing, and Bombalurina in Cats. When she is not on stage performing, Weston is actively involved as a choreographer at Little Theatre and at area high schools. She was a member of the Jr. Guilders from 1992-2002 and she continues to volunteer with the organization as Choreographer. In 2014, Holly joined the Board of Directors of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre. Holly is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.

Siracuse is a local musical theater enthusiast. He has accompanied for several area schools throughout Chautauqua County for theater, choir, and solo work. Mainly working with Fredonia Central Schools, he has accompanied such titles as Fiddler on The Roof, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, and most recently Footloose. He has also accompanied for the Elementary Choir at the C.C.M.T.A. All-County Spring Festival. He currently plays in the local band Exit 59 and is employed by the Village of Fredonia as a Firefighter/Paramedic.

Tickets to this special program are $17 ($15 Opera House Members, $10 Students) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased online at www.fredopera.org anytime. The event is presented with support from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of Opera House events is available at www.fredopera.org.