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Mystic River Press, December 2, 2009

Gilligan’s Island musical benefit at the Como on Saturday
By Elizabeth Yerkes       Press Writer

STONINGTON – The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was lost. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost.

The cast of “Christmas on Gilligan’s Island” is too young to have watched a single episode of that favorite TV show of the 1960s, but the student players are no less enthusiastic about being marooned on a desert isle than the actors were in the CBS series. Yes, they are marooned on the stage of the Como after a storm tossed and wrecked the SS Minnow. It sounds dire, but the way Bill Pere and his fellow musicians work it, the script, lyrics and score of this year’s show pump up slapstick choreography, jokes and clever songs into high_cornball humor. And it’s all for a good cause.

Pere’s organization, Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH), uses the power of music to raise awareness and money for hunger relief in the area. Some of the organizations that benefit from ticket sales at LUNCH performances are: Alliance For Living in New London; Bethsaida Community in Norwich; Camp Wightman in North Stonington; Care and Share in East Lyme; Community Resources Commission in New London; Fitch High School Student Programs in Groton; Groton Food Locker; Harvest Home in Westerly, R.I., and Mystic Area Shelter and Hospitality.

Although traditional holiday shows abound in the area, where would you find a show that performs “Spandex Waistband” to the tune of “Teenage Wasteland”? Or “On Layaway” to the tune of “On Broadway”? The music is good, live and fun and performed by students from Old Lyme to Westerly, R.I. and a couple of local adults.

Santa Claus figures into “Christmas on Gilligan’s Island” in a typically madcap (for LUNCH shows) way. And true to the original TV show, the ing»nue Maryann is still fed up with The Professor’s cluelessness about women, in particular, her. But Pere has poked enough fun at current events to make adults chuckle, such as in this exchange when the mil_lionaire, Thurston Howell, chafes the Professor.

Thurston Howell: “Say, Professor, if you’re so brilliant, why didn’t you grab a bucket and start bailing water from our boat when it started to leak?”

The Professor: “Well, Mr. Howell, I calculated that the water was com_ing in faster than I’d be able to get it out with the bucket.”

Mrs. Howell: “Oh, don’t worry Professor – Thurston is just a bit jealous.”

The Professor: “Jealous?”

Mrs. Howell: “Yes – after all, all of his fancy Wall Street friends got a bailout and he didn’t.”

       Bill Pere  

Every year, many volunteers help LUNCH build and break down sets, and prompt young actors and singers during rehearsals. Dozens of sponsors each year buy advertising space in the holiday show program. The costumes are hilarious (and include a human size toucan), and the audience will see flying pigs and gifts of toy fish coming at them, albeit in an unusual way. The LUNCH holiday show provides offers audience members lots of holiday spirit, laughter, and a jolly way to contribute to a good cause.

The show starts at 7p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Stonington Community Center, 28 Cutler St. in Stonington. The live pre_show music begins at 6:15 p.m.

 

Top photo, “Christmas on Gilligan's Island” cast members, from left, Maggie Skinner, Delaney Silvestri, Rose Serra, Mallory Hall_Thomsen, Hannah Ornburn, Emily Loy, Richard Maciag, Phil Huang, Emma Passaretti and Samantha Schaufler rehearse a scene. Photo by Elizabeth Yerkes/The Press

Above, “Ginger” (Samantha Schaufler) reacts to a human-sized toucan (George Sefransky) as he arrives on stage during rehears_al for “Christmas On Gilligan's Island.” The performance will be held at the Stonington COMO. Photo by Susannah Snowden.gton COMO.

 

Originally Published December 2, 2009, The Mystic River Press

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