It’s that time of the RFH school year when all good show folk band together as Tower Players get to work on producing the spring musical. This year playing means the players are back on the RFH stage performing in Mama Mia! It’s opening on Friday. And there’s always the past …
Curtain up! It’s that time. Time for RFH Tower Players to gear up for the troupe’s spring musical. And with that wind-up to opening night comes a push for ticket sales and lots of getting the word out — promoting the big show. That’s show biz!
Nowadays, with social media pretty much a staple in getting the message out there, there is no reliance on good ol’ print newspapers to spread the word — and far in advance.
In fact, as of the time tonight that this Retro Pic of the Day went live, the social media word was well out on RFH’s spring musical Mama Mia! It’s out there. All over.
But, back in the day, like in the 60s, for instance, all high schools got a spot in the area newspapers, mostly the Daily Register and Asbury Park Press, with all the show info and a photo for which cast members had to meet and pose, trying to look candid. Oh, then there was the development of film in that dark room. No one knew what the final shot would look like until days later.
But, to say the least, there was some rich promo of RFH shows back in the day. They always had a spotlight, even several, in the newspaper. And they were even reviewed by professional critics, if you can fathom that. More on that later.
Back to this RFH spring musical of 1963. The players did The Pajama Game. This shot showed what was really a pretty typical rehearsal time spent around the ol’ record player. Yes, that would be a turntable, RFHers of the present.
Back in the day, and pretty much through at least the 80s, that was a pretty standard way for the cast to learn the score. Parents of those RFHers would tell you how they heard the score of that one spring musical over and over and over again. Wait, though. In the 80s, there was the 8-track version that skipped as it went to the next track — mid-song!
In this photo, by Register staff, RFH was one of several high school musical casts photographed and advertised for their respective shows. This photo features the leads in the musical: (left to right) Barry Nelson as Hines, Jamie Hughes as Gladys, John Edelmann as Sid and Perry Lyon as Babe.
Recognize those players? The RFH show was set for one weekend only — two days — April 5 and 6. This story was printed on Feb. 11. All area high schools’ musicals were previewed in a full-page spread titled “Broadway in Monmouth” with a subhead of “High Schools Tackle Big-Time Musicals.” Some of the other shows were classic oldies like Bye Bye Birdie, Girl Crazy and Music Man.
Here’s an interesting tidbit: The article elaborated on auditions, casting and show times. It said that 210 students auditioned for the show in a process that lasted a week and a half. For one of the leads alone, 32 auditioned. Fair Haven’s Jamie Hughes landed the role.
Competition back in the day, decades ago, was strong for the RFH spring musicals. And the casts were usually quite large. It also wasn’t just Tower Players in the show. The fall drama was one for which only Tower Players could audition. The musical was for all, school-wide.
Pajama Game was directed by Paul Grammer, who is very familiar to RFH students of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Grammer later became solely vocal musical director of the shows. Instrumental, as in orchestra, was directed by Ken Walter. Remember him? He was the marching band chief in the 70s and 80s. And, in a special cameo as choreographer was none other than Lois McDonald, the woman who became the lady in charge of The Barn Theatre down the street from the high school.
Now, that’s show biz! Your favorite show? Director? And how many auditioned in your era? Now, about that rehearsing by record player … What score did you wear out, show folk or not, on the ol’ turntable?
And that’s a masked wrap! That’s how those traditional moments went after the final curtain call of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Tower Players’ production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on Sunday.
It was the troupe’s first indoor show since COVID-19. Donning transparent, and some opaque, masks, mics and a “go on with the show” attitude, the Tower Players triumphed with its fall production.
By all accounts, a great time back on the stage again was had by all. And after taking that final bow, the cast mingled with the audience and one another to pose, smile and bond some more about their show time together.
Take a look at the photo gallery above for a glimpse into that time after the curtain call. (CLICK on one photo to enlarge and scroll. Enjoy!)
Until the next final curtain call in spring …
Bravo, RFH Tower Players!
**Thanks to RFH PAS parents and students for the pics of those after-show moments!**
After a year of virtual and outdoor productions, the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Tower Players are making a comeback to the indoor stage with their fall production — Legend of Sleepy Hollow, adapted by Vera Morris.
This past weekend saw another opening of another Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Tower Players show. But, for the first time in RFH history, it was a different kind of spring musical experience — the pandemic kind.
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