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UDHS Theater Alumni Reunite for Act II Show

With graduation years spanning over a decade, the all-Cardinal crew will perform at the Act II Playhouse this week.

On Aug. 4 through 6, five graduates from Upper Dublin High School will be reliving their "glory" days by putting on a show at the Act II Playhouse in Ambler. The cast of Broadway on Main spans 13 years of Upper Dublin alumni, from Kaytie O'Hara, who graduated in 1995, to Samantha Riesenberg, a 2008 graduate. Other cast members include Samantha Kuhl ('07), Jermey Toll ('06) and Bob McDonald ('96).  

O'Hara said all the cast members were "heavily involved in the theater program during their time at UDHS and have gone on to pursue careers and college studies in the arts."

"From singers to lighting designers, the entire cast and production team are UDHS grads," said O'Hara. 

Broadway on Main will be a broadway revue, featuring musical numbers from Phantom of the Opera, Oklahoma, Les Miserables, Avenue Q, Anything Goes, Cabaret, How to Succeed ..., Spamalot, Little Shop of Horrors, Carousel, The Fantasticks, Follies, Urinetown and Wicked.

O'Hara, who is performing and producing the show, has been hoping to do something like this for a while.

"Debbie Thompson, the UDHS theater teacher, and I have been close friends since I graduated in '95, and we've talked for a long time about putting a show together," said O'Hara. "But I lived in San Francisco for several years, so we just never really had the opportunity."

When O'Hara moved back to the Philadelphia area, she was disappointed with the lack of community theater. She also thought how great it would be to put on a show with former UDHS members.

"[Debbie Thompson and I] also really wanted to work with Rich Wilhelm (former musical director and chorus teacher at UDHS), and he was available this summer, as was Act II Playhouse, so it just seemed like a great time to put all of the pieces together. Director Susan Broom, a Fort Washington resident, came on board, and that is how it all came to be," said O'Hara.

The show is not a fundraiser. 

"[It's] more of an opportunity to showcase performers with roots in the area, all with the common thread of having been part of the Drama Club at UDHS and working with Debbie Thompson and Rich Wilhelm," said O'Hara. 

However, the show has been quite a task for O'Hara.

"It's definitely been challenging to balance it all," said O'Hara. "I don't think people realize how much goes in to getting a production off the ground. Everything from writing press releases to working on the design of publicity materials and solving ticketing issues." 

But in the end, it's all worth it.

"I think it is always helpful to keep in mind that the goal is to put on a great show for the community, which is what I love to do, so it's worth it in the end," said O'Hara.

To O'Hara, this show reminds her of the days of performing at Upper Dublin when the parents would pitch in to help sew costumes and sell tickets.  

"It is definitely a community effort. There is something really exciting about people coming together and offering their time and talent because they believe in what we are doing and want to be a part of it," said O'Hara. 

Pre-production for Broadway on Main started two months ago, and the cast has been rehearsing for six weeks.

"I think I'm most excited that the cast has an opportunity to share the music we love with the audience. It is a really light, fun show, and I think that is just what people need these days," said O'Hara.

Broadway on Main opens for a preview tonight at 8 p.m. at the Act II Playhouse in Ambler. Tickets for the preview are $10.

The show will run Aug. 4 to 6 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for performances. For students and seniors, tickets are $15.  

Tickets will be available at the door, pending availability, and can be purchased with cash only. Or, you can buy your tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/185728 or via phone at 1-800-838-3006.

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