For the second consecutive weekend, the Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point, New Jersey featured young, star-quality command performances of an iconic piece of work.

This past Friday and Saturday, it was Bye Bye Birdie. Last weekend, it was Chicago, High School Edition.

The attention to detail was exceptional and it was an absolute joy to watch.

From the beginning to the very end, you feel warm and welcome in this wonderful gem of a theater. It’s intimate, yet also has a big-time feel to it.

Before the play began, Jennifer Gatewood, Executive Director of the Gateway Playhouse welcomed everyone to the show and properly set the mood that you were about to witness a star-quality production.

Gatewood also served as the Producer of Bye Bye Birdie.

This is Jennifer Gatewood on stage right before showtime.

Harry Hurley
Harry Hurley
Harry Hurley
Harry Hurley

Pictured above is Christian Hornig-Fineran, who played the lead role of “Albert” in two shows, this past Saturday afternoon and evening.

This is the role that was played by Dick Van Dyke in the iconic 1963 movie, which was based on the stage musical, also starring Janet Leigh as Rosie DeLeon.

Hornig-Fineran was unflappable and flawless and drew an extended, well-deserved round of applause when introduced at the end of the play.

Here is Jack Lilley, (below) who portrayed a very entertaining and animated Mr. MacAfee. He was great in the role of Kim McAfee’s Father.

Harry Hurley
Harry Hurley

The past two weekends of amazing stage presentations were the culmination of more than 100 children from Atlantic and Cape May Counties participating in an intensive six-week camp to prepare for these outstanding performances.

The student actors were taught very well and they delivered their lines brilliantly over the past two weeks.

Here are the dedicated adults and their various positions at The Gateway Playhouse for these two productions:

  • Phil Pallitto - Director for both Chicago and Bye Bye Birdie.
  • Katie Calvi - Vice Chair, Theater Collaborative of South Jersey/Gateway
  • Jennifer Gatewood - Producer of both Chicago and Bye Bye Birdie
  • Karen Creighton - Choreographer
  • Claire Collins - Vocal coach
  • Kevin McCafferty - Technical director.
  • Kathy Ford - Musical director for Bye Bye Birdie.
  • Debbie Rolland - musical director for Chicago.

As a new fan of The Gateway Playhouse, I can’t wait for the upcoming winter and next summer seasons.

SOURCES: Phil Pallitto, Chair, Katie Calvi, Vice Chair, Theater Collaborative of South Jersey/Gateway Playhouse and Jennifer Gatewood, Executive Director of the Gateway Playhouse.

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