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2 Winni Playhouse alums make it big on Broadway

MEREDITH — As the Winnipesaukee Playhouse enters its 11th season, two early Playhouse alums have recently made their Broadway debuts in two of Broadway's biggest hits.

Kaleigh Cronin, who appeared in the Playhouse's children's musical series "Professor N.E. Mull" in the 2004 summer season, is featured in the newly opened revival of "Cabaret." Christine Dwyer, who appeared in the summer 2005 children's musicals "Papa Gander's Twisted Tales," recently took over the coveted role of Elphaba in Broadway's "Wicked."

Playhouse Marketing Director Lesley Pankhurst, says, "When we first opened we were looking for older teens and college-age students to perform in our children's musicals. Being so new to town we found it difficult to recruit cast members." Pankhurst met AutoServ's Donna Hosmer at a function and told her about the plans for the summer. "Donna told me she knew a really talented performer, Kaleigh Cronin, but she was only around fourteen. We weren't looking for teens that young originally but decided to let her audition. We were absolutely blown away by her talent. Even as a kid, she definitely had 'it'."

Cronin was cast as several animals in the musical series, including a singing octopus. Pankhurst says, "Kaleigh was not only talented but had an incredible work ethic. She was as mature, if not more mature, than some of our professional staff that summer. You could tell she really had the talent and drive to make her Broadway dreams come true."

Throughout high school, Kaleigh, who was from Manchester, performed in many mainstage productions at the Palace Theatre. After graduating from high school she attended Carnegie Mellon before moving to NY. She now shares the stage with screen and stage stars including Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams.

Approaching summer 2005, the Playhouse had a little more luck recruiting college-aged performers for the children's musicals. On one day of auditions, a freshman from the Hartt School in Connecticut showed up whose powerful vocals made her an obvious choice. Christine Dwyer was cast in four children's musicals that summer where she played everything from a singing cow in a spoof of Jack and the Beanstalk and a Madonna-like Princess with a pink wig.

According to Pankhurst, "By that summer we had structured an intern program where the performers not only entertained children but also helped out in the scene shop and stage managed our mainstage shows. Christine was so fun and easygoing, taking on all her different responsibilities with humor and hard work."

After graduation, she was cast as Maureen in a national tour of "Rent" and soon after that was made the understudy for Elphaba, the wicked witch in the national tour of "Wicked." After some time she was promoted to being the full-time Elphaba on the road. After completing that contract she was cast as the understudy for Elphaba on Broadway, making her Broadway debut when the leading lady was out around Thanksgiving. Only weeks after starting that contract, she was told she would be taking over as the "official" Elphaba when the actress she was understudying left the production. On Feb. 25 her name was on the marquee as Broadway's Elphaba.

Dwyer says, "I'm not sure when another opportunity like this will come along so right now I'm just enjoying each performance."




Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 09:38

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Cemetery ceremony to honor departed mothers

FRANKLIN — The Franklin Cemetery Association will hold its second annual public Mother's Day event to be held on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11, from noon to 1 p.m., at the Franklin Cemetery, off Thompson Park.

"This type of event is hosted by many cemeteries throughout this country. We named this event "Celebrating Moms" as it is to honor all moms living and past. We hope to share some lightheartedness and smiles into this celebration; we will also be accepting donations for the Greater Franklin Boys and Girls club, said Kris Meinhold, cemetery superintendent.

The program, which will last about one hour, will begin with a meet-and-greet with light refreshments followed by a brief address and prayer by a local clergy. After this all will have a chance at the podium to tell funny anecdotes and touching stories of their moms.

The event will close with a release of pink balloons where folks can write a message.

Their moms on them and we let them loose all at once to float to the Heavens. All moms will receive a carnation as a remembrance of this day.

As this is an outdoor event a rain date will be set for the following Sunday.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 09:11

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Gilford Senior-Senior prom, dinner set

GILFORD — The Gilford Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the GHS Student Council and GHS Interact Club is sponsoring a Senior/Senior Prom dinner and dancing evening for participants of the Senior Moment-um Program on Wednesday, May 14 at 5 p.m. in the Gilford High School Lobby.

A sit down dinner will be followed by a Senior/Senior prom with members of the High School Senior Class at 6 p.m. There is no fee for this program, but space is limited and participants must RSVP’s with the Parks and Recreation Department. Participants are also asked to provide song requests in advance.

To RSVP or for more information, please contact the Gilford Parks and Recreation Department at 527-4722.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 09:07

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Alton Book Chat Presents Author Cindy Davis

ALTON — Alton Book Chat will present special guest Cindy Davis, NH Author & Editor, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13.

Davis is originally from the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. In 1989, she and her family moved to the four season state of New Hampshire, amid the mountains, lakes and year-round views. She's always enjoyed writing—even began her first novel at the age of 9. The book took place in Egypt and was titled "The Pyramid". The experts say "Write what you know" and that's probably why she never finished the story—until then, she'd never been further from home than Rhode Island.

When her second husband, Bob, encouraged her to go back to school, she enrolled in a Journalism & Short Story course. Just prior to graduation, she went to work for a small local magazine, learning the trade from the ground up: typesetting, layouts, formatting, along with her best loves—interviewing and writing. She wrote stories about local history, people and events, and went on to have a monthly column describing local walking tours that have since been compiled into two books.

After six years, Cindy left the company and began free-lancing; publishing 150 plus articles, and four novels over the next three years. She wrote a column for the local newspaper, a tongue-in-cheek piece about living with children in the 90s, soon to be published under the title Are We There Yet?—a title she says she had way before the movie.

In 1999, Cindy began a quarterly fiction magazine called PEEKS & valleys. In 2000, PEEKS' spinoff "Characters~Kids Short Story Outlet" was born. In 2003, she teamed up with fantasy author John Richters, to pen a Young Adult fantasy trilogy titled Desert Magic. She also edits for three publishing houses and has a free-lance critiquing service. She's energetic and upbeat, and prides herself on never having missed a deadline.

In her spare time, Cindy raises exotic finches, gardens, does needlework, reads, and hikes with her pair of miniature dachshunds.

Alton Book Chat, established in 1999, is a library-sponsored book discussion group that meets monthly, at  7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, in the Agnes Thompson Meeting Room (lower level entrance).

Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 08:58

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