Amboy High School spring musical to open March 10

AMBOY — Although this winter hasn’t been a typical cold, gray, and snowy Midwest affair, have you found yourself kind of hibernating inside, going out for necessities or maybe to shovel your walk? Spring is just around the corner, we set our clocks one hour ahead this weekend, and that also means that the Amboy high school stage play is geared up and ready to be showcased this Friday, Saturday and a Sunday matinee performance in the auditorium.

Amy Schwamberger is in her fourth season as Director and also serves as the elementary music teacher. She has guided a group of nine actors and eight crew members through daily after school rehearsals for two hours since the beginning of January. This year’s adaptation picked by Schwamberger over the summer using Music Theatre International for the scripts and musical scores is the musical comedy “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” The show has taken on many manifestations since its original 1964 film written by Paul Henning and Stanley Shapiro, and starring Marlon Brando and David Nevin entitled Bedtime Story. You may remember the 1988 comedy film that featured Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenn Headly. In 2019, it was made yet again, this time called The Hustle, with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. 

The plot opens inside a lively casino near the French Riviera, British con-artist Lawrence Jameson, played by Kelton Schwamberger, and is tricking wealthy women out of their money with the help of his trusted bodyguard Andre, played by Cooper Whitney. Muriel Eubanks, played by Emma Dinges, has expressed her devotion to Jameson, and warns him of a highly successful con-artist known as “The Jackal,” who is said to be visiting the area. Jameson meets an American named Freddy, played by Austin Shugars, who he thinks is the Jackal, and makes a deal with him that the first to swindle a woman out of $50,000 gets to stay, while the other leaves town. Singing, dancing, and hilarity follow this two hour tangled journey.  

Schwamberger explained the process of choosing just the right production. 

“First, the cast gets the chance to watch the Broadway production so they can get a feel of the mood and progressions and make the characters their own,” she said. “I feel that the most important aspect is having a show that fits the number of actors that we have and to also incorporate music since we will have our school orchestra in the pit. I sit down with our music director Travis Kemmerer and we incorporate the two act show.” 

There aren’t any drama classes at the high school. Many of these student actors have been performing since the third grade and have a love for the theatre. Memorization of their lines is done on their own, yet, Dinges said that Schwamberger provides a lot as the director. 

“She is really good at giving advice and has a clear vision on how she likes things to be done,” Dinges said. “She is precise in her directing which makes it easier and fun for all of us.” 

This show is also bittersweet for the Schwamberger family. It’s Kelton’s last performance with “mom” and he shared a fun moment. 

“The most special part of working with my mom has been working out the choreography dances at home,” he said. “We actually dance together in the living room sometimes which is such a laugh and will always be a fond memory.”  

Mom shared similar sentiments. 

“Kelton has been in all four of the shows that I’ve directed. Come Sunday afternoon it will be hard on me and I might shed a tear. It’s special,” she added. 

Showtime’s are 7 p.m., both Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon matinee. Tickets are $5 and available at the door. 

“Please come out and support us,” emphasized Schwamberger. “We have a great group of talented kids who have put a lot of work in. They are anxious to show off what we will put out there.”