By Bostik Johnson
The Second Street Players opened their children’s dessert theater season with a retelling of Vera Morris’ Puss in Boots with performances on Friday, February 15, through Sunday, February 17 at the Riverfront Theatre in downtown Milford.
Puss in Boots follows a boy named Tom who inherits a rambunctious cat. The cat is no ordinary cat though and promises that if Tom gets him a pair of boots, Puss will return the favor with fortunes beyond Tom’s wildest dreams. Once the cat has his stylish footwear on, he becomes Puss in Boots and embarks on an amazing adventure that crosses the path of a king and queen, an evil ogre, a lovely princess, and several more comical characters.
This event marked Timothy Free’s first directorial debut for the Second Street Players production. He has directed plays in college and semiprofessional theaters before and also performed with the Second Street Players in last year’s production of the “Wizard of Oz” and as production manager in last fall’s musical “Willy Wonka.”
Free said his cast was a collaboration of veterans and newcomers of the stage. The play featured Adara Ryan as Puss, Seth Wilcox as Tom, Katya Hall as Jeannette, Sara Howard as Countess, Rachel Brzezicki as Rosiland, Alex Dornenburg as Dog, Jayson Felker as the Great Orge, Sarah Haydu as Princess Pam, John Levine as the King, Maureen Levine as the Queen, Allie Buchanan as the cook and Susan Newark as a peasant woman.
“They did such a fantastic job, they brought the audience in and they held the audience the whole show, it was such a great performance,” Free said.
Adara Ryan, 18, of Milford, played the lead role of Puss in the play. She has only performed one other time with the Second Street Players as she played a small role in “Miracle on 34th street” in 2007. Ryan was very excited to hear that she got her first lead ever in a play.
“When I heard I got cast in the show I was off the walls, it’s my first lead role ever and I get to play a talking cat,” Ryan shouted. “How cool is that!”
Seth Wilcox, 12, of Milford, played Tom in the play. This was Wilcox’s first time as a lead in a play. He recently performed with the Second Street Players in the adaptation of the classic “Jungle Book” last year. Wilcox said he did not care what part he got in the play as long as he got to a chance to be on the stage.
“I just was so happy to hear that I got a part, I love being on the stage,” Wilcox said. “I love hearing the applause of the crowd, it really raises my spirits and it’s just so fun.”
Overall the 2013 children’s dessert theatre season opened with a huge hit. Audience members had a tough time finding seats and the play received numerous standing ovations. Director Free said that Friday’s showing was the single highest grossing opening night children’s dessert theater event the Second Street Players havs ever produced.
Melissa Wilcox, of Milford and Seth’s mother, said she has been to most of the dessert theater events that Second Street players have put on, but by far, this was the best one she had ever seen.
“The director expected a lot, even though the cast ages were all diverse,” Wilcox said. “And it showed in their performance, it was so well put together, and they did an absolutely fantastic job, I’m so proud of each and every one of them.”
The next dessert theatre event will be “A Walk in the Woods” by Debbie Metzler and will open on May 17. Auditions will be held March 3 and March 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Riverfront Theatre, 2 S. Walnut St. in downtown Milford. For more information about auditions, future shows, and history of events, visit secondstreetplayers.com