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English teacher and school play director Joseph Canzoneri announced that the 2014 play will be A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. On October 11, vocal auditions held in the band room influenced Mr. Canzoneri’s choice for the musical. The auditions enabled Mr. Canzoneri to get a clearer idea of the talent in the building, which allowed him to pick the musical accordingly.
This is the first time that Mr. Canzoneri has repeated a show in his time directing at Townsend Harris.
In spring of 2008, THHS presented the same play. Mr. Canzoneri “would joke that [he] would like to do [the play] one more time before [he] retired.” He added that he “never thought it would be this soon but we have the talent for it.”
Mr. Canzoneri commented that he’d “come to discover that it does not work to pick a show without knowing the talent in the building.”
Mr. Canzoneri is excited to do this show again, especially because he considers himself “an English teacher and Shakespearean first and a drama teacher second.”
Being a farce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum definitely fits the bill for English and Shakespeare lovers. Those who enjoy Shakespeare’s farces will most likely enjoy this show as well.
The popularity of the show also swayed Mr. Canzoneri’s decision. “I’ve never had more fun rehearsing a show,” Mr. Canzoneri said.
Junior Jennifer Walsh, who will be serving as assistant stage manager this year, is very excited about the show selection, saying that “the music’s great, the script is funny, and I think we have the right people to pull it off.”
Sophomore Elina Niyazov, while not entirely familiar with the script, is still excited for it, noting that she has heard “it’s a very humorous script which is great because the audience will definitely be kept intrigued throughout the show.”
The first set of vocal auditions have already taken place, and dance auditions will be held within the next few weeks, followed by more vocal and acting auditions.
In the first vocal audition, Mr. Canzoneri asked students to perform any song that they felt best showed off their range, either with piano accompaniment or a cappella. Mr. Canzoneri then asked the students to sing a few scales in order to get a sense of their vocal range.
Freshman Marina Aweeda said that since it was only a preliminary audition, “it took off a lot of the pressure.”
As the audition process continues, Elina commented that things will be getting “a lot harder” because these upcoming auditions have “everything specified to a character.”
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a male-dominant show. The plot is based around a male lead, Pseudolus.
Senior Tawhid Meah expressed that he was shocked that THHS will be doing this show because of that fact.
Tawhid said that he “thought this would pose a problem since we don’t have many guys that tried out.”
While Mr. Canzoneri expressed this as one of the concerns he has with THHS, he seemed confident from the vocal auditions that he has the talent he needs to be able to execute this show.