By Annette McLoughlin
Performing arts programs enrich children in so many ways — emotional, social, and intellectual. They build self-esteem and engender great bonds through teamwork, where the focus is not on winning or losing, but on a great shared performance. Rye High School has long offered excellent performing arts programs, including a long-standing tradition in theater. And in the past 10 years, the school has enriched its offerings with The Parsons Street Players (PSP).
Begun by Rye High English teacher Mike Limone, the Players offers members year-round theatrical opportunities. Limone, along with other faculty, including Rye Middle School social worker Peter Green, teacher Leann Janos, and music and chorus teacher Tom Snowden work with students on various projects and productions which, in addition to the fall and a spring shows, include a senior-directed production, “Senior Scenes,” and an end-of-the-year cabaret. Although PSP is active in all productions, tryouts are open to the entire student body.
Mr. Snowden, who currently oversees the Players, is directing the group’s upcoming production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He has a rich background in theater. “I have been very fortunate to work in in various capacities in the field. I always say, ‘The versatile person is the employed person.’ Having a music background allowed me to often stay involved in theater.” He served as Assistant Music Director on the National Tour of “Anything Goes” and was Assistant Music Director for the Off-Broadway show “In Dahomey.” “Fiddler on the Roof” ranks high among Snowden’s favorite productions, and in fact, he has performed the role of Tevye a number of times.
He’s sure the Players’ upcoming production will be an emotional tour de force “Fiddler is a musical that makes you laugh, cry, and think.”
There are close to 90 Rye High students working on the show on- and back-stage, along with talented faculty members Dr. Dan Brown, conductor; Douglas Kostner, vocal director; Cathy Cunningham from Rye School of Dance, choreographer; and John Gwardyak, set designer and technical director.
Snowden says ambitious productions like this wouldn’t be possible without the enormous support of the school administration and parent volunteers. “There are many people who understand the importance of the arts in education and make theater happen at Rye High,” notes Snowden. “I am grateful to every single one of them.”
“Fiddler on the Roof” will be performed March 3 at 7:30 and March 4 at 2 and 7:30 in the RHS Performing Arts Center.
Rye High School students rehearsing for the upcoming production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”