I have not titled this a preview of You Can't Stop the Beat because I have already posted . I had the privilege of attending a Saturday rehearsal by the Nine Mile Players at the Oxford Grange and I am now very much looking forward to seeing the show when it opens on June 15.
The Nine Mile Players have been made possible by grants from the Connecticut Commission for the Arts and the Connecticut Community Foundation. They are a part of the Oxford Cultural Arts Commission. Why are they called the "Nine Mile Players?" Well back in the day, Oxford became a town after the community members got tired of walking nine miles to Derby for meetings and church services every week. The "not tired" players advertised in some newspapers and and have assembled a multi-aged cast that has been rehearsing since April 28 for their .
The performances will be presented at the Great Hills United Methodist Church meeting hall because it is right on the Seymour/Oxford line. There will be 108 seats at each show and plenty of parking at the church. Presented cabaret style, patrons are allowed to bring along food and drink, but no alcoholic beverages. Concessions will be offered and children are welcome to attend.
The cast is made up of lots of enthusiastic teens, many of whom are from Oxford, but some of whom come from surrounding valley town. There are also several adorable children and some theatre veterans, including my friend . Ashleigh Smith is the ever-vigilant producer and Jason A. Coombs is the super-nice director. Gabe Armentano is the gifted and very young music director who can play the piano like nobody's business and the vocal director is Sarah Beirne The smart choreography is by the petite Chelsea Pinero. Suzanne Palys worked on the costumes in addition to providing the graphic design needs, and her daughter Maggie appears in the show. In fact, some other members of the cast auditioned with family members and have greatly enjoyed working together on the production.
The show will feature four all-cast numbers at the beginning and ending of each of the two acts. The numbers are from Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mary Poppins, Hair and Hairspray (the "You Can't Stop the Beat" from the title of the show.) Recent high school graduate and lovely ingenue Sammy Bowers solos on the super-fun "Omigod You Guys" from Legally Blonde and the Millie number. I learned that my friend Rosemary has been tap dancing for twenty years and she has definitely been cast against type as "Miss Hannigan" in the Annie number. Joel Oramas is a young man getting his Masters degree in theater and is a joy to watch as he dances. Appearing in her first show is Shari Braccia and she beautifully sings "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm" from How to Succeed in Business...
Although this was the first time the cast had practiced their numbers with the band, I was impressed. The small ensemble will include a guitar, bass, drummer and the musical director on piano. Ms. Smith explained that each of the performers get a chance to shine in the vignettes. As noted in my preview: "So, bring some snacks, a bunch of friends and be prepared to tap and sing along because you know, You Can't Stop The Beat!" Be careful what you wish for because I was already singing along at this rehearsal. If you enjoy hearing the best songs in your favorite musicals, this show is sure to delight.
Tickets are very affordable at
Students and Seniors: $12
Children 10 and Under: $10
The Nine Mile Players' e-mail is email@example.com
Many thanks to the director, producer and the wonderful cast for letting me crash the rehearsal. I really enjoyed meeting everyone. Break a leg!