SOCIAL NOTES & NEWS FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN THE 570
When we caught up with Michael Bradshaw Flynn for an Up Close & Personal interview to talk about Scranton’s first Shakespeare Festival two weeks ago, he promised “it’s not your grandma’s Shakespeare.” Methinks he kept his word!
We were delighted to begin this week’s flight in the Electric City on Saturday night with hundreds of our neighbors who gathered on the lawn at Nay Aug Park for REV Theatre Company’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. As promised, this fabulous show offered a modern interpretation on a classic tale. With punk-haired fairies entering stage right via a Chrysler Sebring Convertible, clever use of water guns and wading pools, scooters and yes, even a motorcycle, these thespians traded stuffy traditional garb for sequins and striped over-the-knees, and might we add that their rendition of Mr. Sandman lulled us into a slumber right in our lawn chairs.
What a wonderful gift this was to the community. Congratulations not only to Flynn, co-founder, executive producer, and cast member of the show, but also to the entire cast, crew and dedicated volunteers who persevered to see their dream come true. Local cast members included Camille Reinecke, Michele Conaboy, Quinn Hemphill and Marie Casey Philbin. In addition, local volunteers and board members who helped bring the Scranton Shakespeare Festival to life, with the guidance of Rosey Hay and Rudy Caporaso included Drs. Tim and Gretchen Welby, Laureen Cadden, Michele Conaboy, Susan Conaboy, Rebecca Garcia Ponz, Maureen Hart, Pat Rosetti, Katie Flynn and Marty Flynn.
From tales of silly and star-crossed lovers to tales of more than a few dirty little secrets, we landed in the Banshee later in the evening and got quite an earfull at the Scranton StorySlam. It was standing room only as 10 local storytellers took to the stage in the name of friendly competition for $50 and the honor of taking home the Slammy. The theme was “dirty laundry” and it was so much fun to hear each storyteller’s interpretation of the theme. Local actor Conor McGuigan served as emcee of the event, and he was every bit as entertaining as the storytellers. With help from Tina Imel, a local artist, who welcomed each competitor to the stage, McGuigan pulled names from a fishbowl at random. Competitors included Maureen McGuigan, Jim Warner, Ted Michalowski, Andrea McGuigan, Dave DiRienzo, Mandy Boyle, Nancy Cummings and Jeff Fowler. As an added twist, two random names were drawn from people in the audience who signed up for a chance to air their dirty laundry with the best of them. A shout out to “the randoms,” Gabrielle Shefski and Kait Burrier. They all must have nerves of steel.
Judges Brian Fulton, Dr. Laurie McMillan, Cathy Shefski, Katie Wisnosky and Alicia Nordstrom had their work cut out for them. So much dirty laundry; so little time to crown a queen (or king). OK – we gave it away – queen! While all were really entertaining, Andrea McGuigan’s story won top honors for the night.
The crowd was a who’s who of the city. In our travels, we spotted so many familiar faces including a few from the electric and diamond city crew: photographer Tom Bonomo and girlfriend Renee Moore; Bookmarks’ columnist Amye Archer and husband, Timmy; and Current Events Editor Alicia Grega. Marketing Coordinator for Times Shamrock Amy Sleboda was cheering on the contestants, and Lifestyles staff writer for the Times-Tribune Patrice Wilding was also in attendance, as was her mom, Mary Wilding, and a trio of Egans — Sharon, Sean and Jenny.
And of course, we couldn’t help but notice a couple of former ec and dc cover models, Larry Hopkins (remember our leprechaun dipping his toes in a beer for St. Patrick’s Day?) and Jessica Pugliese (who posed with our Mr. Peanut in front of the Luzerne County Historical Society just in time for the opening of the Mr. Peanut exhibit there).
Jack and Rosemary McGuigan were also there to support their children on stage, and we saw Megan Davidowich, Carmine Gatto, Britt Giblin, Stephanie Kutza, Daniel Brennan, Rachael Arasim, Mike Gavern, Michael Coolbaugh, Jeanine Luby, Gavin McHugh, Jerr Tobin, Linn McDonald, Rich Howells, Alysia Scazafabo, Markie Dennebaum, Conor O’Brien, Theresa O’Connor, Heather Stewart, Heather Davis, Brian Fanelli, Bill Tersteeg, Tim McDermott and Jessica Ferrise, just to name a few.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the McNichols Family, Zoe and her parents, Ed and Pamela, who started Scranton StorySlam.