Even while facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s drama program at Calhoun High School, On Tour Company, is preparing for its 35th annual Shakespeare performance, “The Comedy of Errors.”
On Tour was established in 1973 and taken over by the current director, Sal Salerno in 1985.
“Salerno, alongside the student president, Nolan Donohue, and student assistant directors, Claire Levasseur, Sharyn Schweitzer, Breana Raehse and Max Unlu, have been learning to navigate the rehearsal process while also following social distance protocols, i.e. mask wearing and utilizing larger rehearsal spaces that can accommodate the entire cast, such as the courtyards at Calhoun High School,” explained Principal Nicole Hollings.
This year’s production includes two casts and two groupings of performances.
“in order to give as many students the opportunity to perform as possible, since so much is unknown about what the future holds for theatre,” added Salerno.
Cast A’s performances include Zach Pakula and Max Unlu as Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse, and Stephen Rini and Nolan Donohue as Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus. Cast B includes Isabelle Oliver and Megan Tragesser as Antiphola and Dromio of Syracuse, and Georgia Koutsouras and Caitlyn Raehse as Antiphola and Dromio of Ephesus.
On Tour is a largely student run and operated program that works with adult supervisors, Alex Austein, Lydia Gladstone, Tony Melfa and Mark Tarantino.
“Students in the program put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the production of each show and are given the opportunity to learn the importance of working closely together,” added Salerno.
Prior to the school closings of last year, the On Tour Company had been preparing for its opening of “The Secret Garden,” a musical adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel. Although it was heartbreaking that the production was not allowed a performance last year, Salerno has hopes of remounting the production at a later date.
Tickets for the live streaming performances on Nov. 20, 21, 23, 24, 27 or 28 can be obtained by accessing the following website; https://calhounhs.booktix.com/pal/1/07a81dcee937633a
. Family tickets are for multiple viewers in one home. People outside would have to buy a single ticket or a family ticket for multiple viewers in one household.
Future On Tour Company performances include two entirely new productions; Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” and “Something Rotten!” by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick.