Feb 7, 2014

Upcoming play to benefit Holyoke Catholic performing arts scholarships



(Photos courtesy of Holyoke Catholic Performing Arts Program)

Staff report

SPRINGFIELD – The longtime director, Eva Stockhamer, and musical director Todd Rovelli have “performed” behind the scenes of Holyoke Catholic High School productions for the last 17 years.

But next weekend, the two directors will take a turn in the spotlight as they play leading roles in “Lend Me a Tenor,” Ken Ludwig’s two-act comedy about the mishaps and mayhem that ensue when a world-famous Italian opera star comes to perform in 1930s Cleveland, Ohio.

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, at the Commonwealth Academy, located at One Ames Hill Road in Springfield, with proceeds benefiting the Holyoke Catholic Performing Arts Program scholarship fund.

Rovelli and Stockhamer will share the stage with several Holyoke Catholic alumni, including Darryl Geoffrey and his daughter, Julie Geoffrey; Kevin Lemke; Julia Leverette; Monique Desnoyers; and Patrick Moskal.

“I gotta be honest, it’s scary,” Rovelli told iobserve. “But it’s exciting and this is a good cause that we’re all getting together for. So, I’m looking forward to it. It’s a really enjoyable show.”

Julie Geoffrey, who graduated from Holyoke Catholic in 2010, said she was happy to help out her alma mater’s performing arts students. “It’s a great opportunity to do something for a school that I really love,” she said. “I loved going to Holyoke Catholic and I’m happy to do anything I can to promote them and help them out.”

Holyoke Catholic’s performing arts club provides an opportunity for students to foster lifelong friendships, she said, and helps incoming freshmen get to know some of their classmates over the summer as they rehearse for the fall production. Julie also has a special, personal reason for coming back to perform in “Lend Me a Tenor.”

“It’s great to spend time with my father,” she said, smiling, “who is playing my father in the show.”

Stockhamer said the play, which is most suitable for teens and adults, is “absolutely hysterical.”

“It’s been equated to the closest thing you’ll ever get to being in a Marx Brothers movie,” she said. “It’s all kind of slapstick, very funny, a lot of mishaps and just really good belly laughs.”

She also expressed gratitude to the alumni who are participating in the production. “It really makes us proud that they will come back and help out some future students,” she said.

Tickets for “Lend Me a Tenor” are $20 and can be reserved by calling Karen at 413-737-4942.

Watch for rehearsal scenes from Holyoke Catholic’s “Lend Me a Tenor” on the Feb. 8 edition of “Real to Reel,” which airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on WWLP-22NEWS.