The Port Summer Show was started when a girl named Kathe O’ Connor complained, “There is nothing creative to do in Port in the summer!”
Luckily, she said this to a director named Pam Meadows who started The Port Summer show the next year at the Bandshell, with a production of Anything Goes.
Since 1972, The Port Summer Show has produced a musical annually, last year’s show being Mary Poppins, with other recent shows including Grease and On The Town. Every year, rising seventh graders through rising college freshmen participate in acting onstage, working backstage, or playing an instrument in the pit orchestra for six weeks to put on a show the first weekend of August.
“For over 50 years, Port Summer Show has provided a program where the kids of Port Washington can get together, have a fantastic summer and produce a very high end musical they can feel proud about for the rest of their lives, and the cast, crew, and pit can be extremely proud of the show they put on this year,” said Michael Siskin, current co-president of Port Summer Show.
This summer, The Port Summer Show performed Wonderful Town, a 1953 musical penned by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Leonard Bernstein.
Wonderful Town follows Ruth (Gaia Dash) and Eileen Sherwood (Averie Masia) who move from Columbus, Ohio to New York City expecting to “make it” in acting and writing, respectively. However, life takes an unexpected turn when they move to a basement apartment in Greenwich Village. The girls meet new people, try to succeed in their careers, and possibly find love. Along the way, the sisters learn it’s not as easy as they think to “conquer New York.” Wonderful Town is filled with lots of high energy dance numbers, comedy, and big ballads that the characters sing. The show ran from Aug. 4 through Aug. 6 at the Schreiber High School auditorium.
“The show this year was amazing! I always enjoy being surrounded by peers who are just as dedicated as I am and willing to give up their nights. The directors are so experienced and introduce us to what a professional show feels like!” said cast member Averie Masia.
The rest of the cast included Lucy Babaian, Anna Boriello, Kathryn Djohan, Bella Ertel, Sadie Feingold, Patrick Kimmins, Ryan Levens, Calvin Mar, Aurora Mata, Grayson Meister, Elizabeth Milgrim, Charlie Paredes, Charlotte Parker, Olivia Perez, Carmela Polydorov, Liesha Sewani, Bryson Shaub, Max Siskin, Viktor Straesser, Alexandria Trimble, Jadyn Underberg, Lenny Weber, Chris Williams, Jamie Wong and Benjamin Zawadzki.
“Being in the Port Summer Show is a lot of fun and a great way to make friends,” said Myla Tannenbaum, another cast member.
Wonderful Town was directed by Jason Summers, choreographed by Jesse Pellegrino, musical directed by George Croom, technical directed by Brian Wedeking, conducted by Allison Friedman, with costumes by Tom Beck and Neil Schleifer and stage managed by Nat Parker. Learn more about this tradition in this “wonderful town” at portsummershow.org.