SLOC’s Telethon Spectacular

 

logoA Letter From The Directorrose biggerstaff headshot

The Schenectady Light Opera Company (SLOC) was born in 1926 when a group of Van Corlaer and Draper alumni joined together to “present short plays containing songs and comedy acts.” The group, directed by Mrs. Etta Moore, a music teacher in the Schenectady Schools, was known as the Bellevue Young People’s Chorus. The group first presented concerts and short operettas before moving on to Gilbert and Sullivan productions.
 
In 1936 the Bellevue Young People’s Chorus changed its name to Schenectady Light Opera Company.
In the spring of 1942, SLOC faced its first shutdown, closing for the duration of the war, due to the shortage of male members. SLOC reopened in 1946 with H.M.S. Pinafore at Mont Pleasant High School, the Company’s adopted home. To encourage more male members, SLOC’s policy stated “To maintain the balance of the parts, no new sopranos will be admitted unless they bring a male.”
 
Although the theater continued to produce Gilbert and Sullivan in the 1950’s, the productions of Brigadoon, Carousel, Showboat and Oklahoma marked the transition from operetta to truly American musical theater.
 
The 1960’s produced SLOC’s first attempts at modern musical comedy. SLOC continued producing shows at Proctors, Niskayuna High School, “old SLOC”, and several other locations for the next four decades, until the opportunity arose to purchase several buildings from the Albany Catholic Diocese in April 2010. Our Franklin Street theater officially opened in 2011 with “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and provides not only space for our 5-show season, but also houses Northeast Ballet in our Education Building next to the theater.
 
We faced our second shutdown due to COVID, cancelling the final 2 shows of our 93rd season as well as the entirety of season 94. We are so grateful to our donors and patrons who engaged with our virtual content and allowed us to keep producing content when our campus was closed. Thanks to all of you, we were able to stay afloat and will be reopening with the first show of season 95, Ordinary Days, in September.

Performer and Production Team Bios

Rory AlexaRory is excited to be part of this amazing show and to be singing on stage again! Previous credits include The Addams Family (The Puritan/Costume Designer), In the Heights (Ensemble), 1776 (Associate Producer), Curtains (Ensemble), Jesus Christ Superstar (Apostle), Cabaret (Kit Kat Girl) and Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey). When not performing, Rory works as a graphic designer and runs a small business making journals and restoring old books. Rory is also working towards a Masters in Visual Development and writing a fantasy trilogy. A BIG thank you to all of the amazing people involved in the show! Enjoy!

rose biggerstaff headshotRose Biggerstaff is thrilled to be directing at SLOC. This is her second event she has directed at SLOC. Her first being the Black History Month Community Give Back. Prior to working with SLOC Rose has worked both backstage and on stage! Past credits include directing and stage managing with companies such as Northeast Theater Ensemble, BrownBox Productions, NSCP as well as many others. Outside of theatre she enjoys painting, reading and going on hikes. Wishing broken legs to the entire cast and crew who have worked tirelessly for the past month to put this show on stage!

Carpenter KodyAs a SLOC Veteran of more than 13 years, Kody is thrilled to join the Board, Leadership, and Telethon cast and crew in thanking you for your overwhelming support over the past year. As a thespian whose craft started at SLOC’s State St. theater,  he feels immense pride in this fundraising event, as it truly represents the magic of theater community, live performance, and the resilience of our institution.  A million thanks to Rose for her superb vision, Michaela and Michelle for their un-matched dedication, to Rob, his rock, and the entire cast and crew for coming together to make this event a success. And to you, our SLOC family, for keeping the dream of live theater alive, even in the darkest of times. Enjoy the show!

Josh HeadshotJosh is so grateful to be back at SLOC for this very energetic fundraiser! Josh, a Schenectady native, has been performing with SLOC since he graduated from Mohonasen in 2013 with his first show being Guys & Dolls. Josh has been studying dance since he was 18 with his astounding dance teacher and friend, Freddy Ramirez. Josh has been involved with many other theatre/dance companies throughout the Capital Region, including: Not So Common Players, Merritt Dance Center, Troy Civc Theatre, Myers Ballet School, and Capital Repertory Theatre! Some of his recent credits include: The Full Monty (CapRep), The Wild Party (SLOC), Shakespeare in Love (CapRep), In the Heights (SLOC),The Nutcracker (Myers Ballet School) She Loves Me (CapRep) and more! Thank you to the production team and board for this opportunity to share this event with all of you! And with being said, please enjoy the show!

Dembling Matt

Matthew Dembling has been an active member of the SLOC community as a performer, volunteer, member and leader. He is currently serving his second term as President of SLOC and is excited to get back to a “normal” 5-show season this year! Matt would like to thank all those who worked tirelessly and donated this past year to ensure SLOC could re-open its doors come September! 

Jaya Dixon is a senior at Shaker High School. She is 17 years old and has loved to sing for as long as she can remember. In addition to singing, she loves acting and plays several instruments.

carolyn frantz headshotCarolyn Frantz is thrilled to be back at SLOC, and excited to help re-create some beautiful dance moments from SLOC’s history! Some of her favorite SLOC credits include dancing in 42nd Street, Sister Act, Cabaret, and The Producers, as well as choreographing The Wild Party. She has also been spotted on stage at Home Made Theater and Not So Common Players, and has choreographed shows for Greenville High School. When not on stage (or trying to convince people that tap is the best), she works as a Forensic Chemist. Thanks to the cast for their patience and dedication, and to her family and Marc for the constant love and support.

Emily Fuller headshotEmily is incredibly excited to be back on the SLOC stage after a year and a half of patient waiting! Being able to dance and sing from old shows at SLOC has brought back wonderful memories of some of the shows she was in and has seen. Some of her favorite SLOC credits are: Cabaret (Helga/Dance Captain), Curtains (Bambi/Dance Captain), The Wild Party (Ensemble/Dance Captain), and 42nd Street (Anytime Annie). She would like to thank the production team for including her in this amazing Telethon, the cast for their friendship, and her family and Brandon for their ongoing support. Thank you to everyone at SLOC for proving a safe way to finally bring community theatre back to the stage! Enjoy the show!

Caley headshotCaley Lacey is a dancer, performer, and dance instructor from Schenectady, New York. She received her AS in Social Sciences from Schenectady County Community College in 2018 and her BFA in Dance in 2021 from SUNY Fredonia. Since graduating, Caley is working as a dance instructor at The King’s Dancers and Dance Fire Studio and Fitness, while also working at Target. Caley received dance training in musical theatre, contemporary, tap, ballet, pointe, choreography, and jazz from Freddy Ramirez, Lindsay Dashew, Debra Ann Pigliavento, Michele Pigliavento, Paula J. Peters, Anthony Alterio, Sam Kenney, Angelika Summerton, and Angela DiFiore.

Ashley HeadshotAshley Elizabeth Lee began dancing and performing at age 5. She now holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre from Belhaven University. She is thrilled to be a part of Schenectady Light Opera Company’s Telethon Spectacular! Ashley Elizabeth has spent over twenty years performing in ballets, musicals, plays, and in other areas of the arts; she even had the opportunity to travel with the National Theatre for Children, utilizing theatre to educate elementary students about renewable energy! Ashley Elizabeth is a Principal Dancer with Northeast Ballet Company and has enjoyed performing in their Nutcracker at Proctor’s, at the Saratoga Performing Art Center, and more since 2016. Her favorite dancing roles have been any role in which she dances with her husband, and favorite partner, Spencer Lee. Some of Ashley’s other favorites include: Missy in The Marvelous Wonderettes and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof in North Carolina, Elf in Shrek, Eponine in Les Miserables, and Echo in Eleemosynary in Mississippi. She always thanks her parents for their support of her crazy dreams. She would like to give a huge thank you to Spencer, her wonderful husband, with whom she is sharing the stage once again. Hebrews 12:1-3

Spencer Lee HeadshotSpencer Lee is thrilled to be returning to the SLOC stage after this hiatus in theatre. Spencer, a classically trained ballet dancer from the capital district, has been performing and choreographing for over 20 years. After being away from the capital district theatre scene for several years, Spencer has recently appeared in several musicals including And the World Goes Round (NSCP), Wild Party (SLOC), and 42nd Street (SLOC). Outside the area Spencer performed rolls regionally in Legally Blonde (Emmett), Les Miserable (Thénardier), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel), and various other musicals in addition to being in the world premier productions of ballets for both Greensboro Ballet and Ballet Magnificat. Spencer also performs, teaches, and rehearses for Northeast Ballet Company under the direction of his long-time dance teacher, Darlene Myers. Spencer is thrilled to share the stage once again with his wife, Ashley, with whom he has the joy of dancing through life.

Cody Logan HeadshotCody Logan is ecstatic to be onstage again with this lovely cast and crew of talented artists! After majoring in musical theatre, he came home to SLOC, and is honored to be your host and M.C. tonight! Since being back you might have seen him onstage in SLOC’s productions of The Wild Party (Phil D’Armano) and 42nd St. (Bert Berry). He was also fortunate enough to assistant direct SLOC’s 2019 youth production of Mary Poppins! He welcomes you back to the theatre with open arms. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Imani Velvet McCalmonMani is a 23 year old dancer, choreographer and performer. You might have seen her in several past SLOC productions such as Hair, Cabaret, and In The Heights. You may also have seen her in several local short films such as Road Trip as Raya (Sweet Dreams studios) or Final Girl as Macy (Sweet Dreams Studios)! Mani is very excited to be working on a stage again and would like to thank her family for their continuous love and support!

Michelle is delighted to be stage managing at SLOC. This is Michelle’s second production with SLOC Musical Theater and she could not be more ecstatic to be working with such a creative and amazing team. Michelle is a rising senior in her undergraduate pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts with a concentration in Stage Management and Producing at Marymount Manhattan College. Throughout Michelle’s college years, she has been involved with many productions and theater companies throughout the Capital Region at venues such as Palace Theater, Proctors Theater, Homemade Theater, and has also stage-managed a theatrical play via Zoom! Michelle is also part of the USITT, a non-profit organization that aims to advance the skills and knowledge of theater, entertainment, and performing arts to professionals involved in design and production. Michelle would like to thank Kody, Rose, and the rest of the amazing team for the opportunity to be back in performing arts after a “pause”. Welcome back everyone and enjoy the show!

Michaela TorresFresh from last month’s Drag Show, Michaela is excited to jump on yet another Stage Manager role for SLOC in it’s first ever Telethon Spectacular! Michaela graduated from UAlbany as a Biology Major with a minor in Business and Theatre, and has been involved with multiple community theatre productions. Past projects both on and off stage include Heathers, In the Heights, Legally Blonde, Rent, The Laramie Project, Tony n Tina’s Wedding, and Dog Sees God. 

Jordan Kennedy- Lights

Scott Brown & Dimitri Vasilakos- Spotlight Operators

Katie Fitzmorris- Sound

Kody Carpenter & Ella Merritt- Stage Crew

Robert Brisson- Thermometer Construction

Choreography Credits- Dancing through the Decades!

“What a Party” from The Wild Party 
January 2019
Directed by: Brian Clemente
Choreography by: Carolyn Frantz
 
“Entr’Acte” and “Married” from Cabaret
May 1992 and September 2017
Directed by: Ted Beardsley (‘92) and Peter Caracappa (‘17)
Choreography by: Gregory Theodore Marsh
 
“Audition” from 42nd Street
May 2019
Directed by: Suzanne H. Rayome
Choreography by: Abby Todd
 
“Greased Lightin’” from Grease
December 1981, May 2005 and November 2018
Directed by: Joseph Fava (‘81), Brett Putnam (‘05) and Christopher Stefani (‘18)
Choreography by: Emily Fuller 
 
“You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray
May 2012
Directed by: Michael Gatzendorfer
Choreography by: Gregory Theodore Marsh
 
“Hair” from Hair
March 2016
Directed by: Michael Gatzendorfer
Choreography by: Brittany Leigh Glenn
 
“Simon Zealots” from Jesus Christ Superstar
October 1994 and January 2018
Directed by: Allan D. Foster (‘94) and Trish Scott-Dembling (‘18)
Choreography by: Trish Scott-Dembling
 
“Footloose” from Footloose
November 2016
Directed by: Christopher Stefani
Choreography by: Trish Scott-Dembling
 
“Omigod You Guys” from Legally Blonde
September 2015
Directed by: Michael Lotano
Choreography by: Gregory Theodore Marsh
 
Other Numbers:
 
“At the Ballet” from A Chorus Line
Track Recording by: Adrienne Sherman
Performed by: Mani McCalmon, Rory DiCristofaro and Emily Fuller
 
“Anything Goes” from Anything Goes
Arrangement and Recording by: Dan Galliher
Choreography by: Cody Logan
Performed by: Cody Logan, Josh DeMarco and Emily Fuller
 
“Pulled” from The Addams Family
Performed by: Emily Fuller
 
“Burn” from Hamilton
Performed by: Jaya Dixon
 
“Magic to Do” from Pippin’ 
Choreography by: Mani McCalmon
Performed by: Mani McCalmon, Ashley Lee, Spencer Lee, Cody Logan, Josh DeMarco, Emily Fuller, and Michelle Schlomovich (Friday) / Caley Lacey (Saturday)

Theater is so important to so many people and community theaters such as SLOC wouldn’t be what they are without their communities. Thank you all so much for coming out tonight and for continuing to be a part of the SLOC family!