Big Rubber Spiders and Teenagers Singing and Dancing, Nerves and Adrenaline

BY DONNA SCHMIDT

Michaella Vilsa is a teen with enormous talent when it comes to singing and dancing, but lying deeper within her little soul is a huge funny bone screaming to get out.

“I love these people, they are so genuine,” Vilsa explained about the cast of “I Want it All,” before she decided to find a rather large rubber spider upstairs at Stage Left in Orangeburg during a rehearsal and throw it onto one of her fellow actors who screamed and laughed at the absurdity. The spider, along with dozens of Styrofoam heads dressed in wigs staring down at the 13 teens, tilted and thrown about on a shelf in the rehearsal studio, made this particular evening on the edge of the absurd.

“I Want it All” was written, conceived, and choreographed by Deborah Ivry and Cal Chiang. If you have been involved in theater in Rockland County these two names; Ivry and Chiang will a familiar sight. Ivry, after having spent more than a decade in New York doing industrials, soaps, jingles, voiceovers and a television series moved with her family to Nyack.

About 15 years ago, Ivry founded the award-winning jazz/pop vocal group called High 5. Ivry is also a private voice and vocal teacher. “Gleeful Productions” arose out of collaboration with her friend and colleague Chiang. The two wish to provide unique musical and educational performance opportunity for a diverse group of talented teens from all over the county. This will be Gleeful Productions first show.

Chiang has directed and choreographed many musical theater productions in Westchester, Bergen and Rockland Counties for 25 years. Years ago, It was at Elmwood Theater in Nyack, where Chiang directed many shows, that he met Ivry.

The show, which is a “Glee” type production, captures adolescence with all the risks, excitement and ever changing relationships. The actors and actresses come from New City, Nyack, Orangeburg, Airmont, Nanuet, Monsey, Spring Valley, Tomkins Cove and Congers.

“‘I Want it All’ is different than all the other productions I have been in. The production seems to connect with each and every one of us. The great songs and lack of a concrete scripted pilot allow us to use ourselves as the characters and connect with the show in a way that can’t be done with a conventional musical,” shared 16-year-old Madison Deming, who also noted she has been singing since she could talk

Another actor, Nadege Isidor who just graduated from Spring Valley High School participated in his school productions of “Fame,” “Play On,” “Good Cop/Bad Cop,” “Hell” and “High Waters: Hurricane Katrina and Footloose.” Isidor is currently at Rockland Community College and would love to have the opportunity to sing, act and dance as a career. “But if that doesn’t work out, my goal is to become a psychiatrist,” he explained.

The songs in this show will sometimes make you smile and often bring a tear to your eye. Emma Swingle, the youngest of the cast, Madison Deming and Carolyn Wright sing a soulful and very believable “Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet” from “A Chorus Line.” The lyrics are very fitting for a group of outgoing, sometimes precocious, young adults trying to find their way in life.

“I Want it All” plays at Hudson House in Nyack on Thursday July 26 at 8 p.m.; Friday July 27 at Nyack Village Theater 94 Main Street at 8 p.m.; Saturday July 28 at Rockland Conservatory of Music 45 S. Main Street Pearl River at 8 p.m. and at Elmwood Playhouse on Sunday, July 29 at 7p.m.