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Paul VI Catholic High School Happy Days

By • Apr 20th, 2011 • Category: Cappies

Poodle skirts, greasy hair, Elvis Presley and juke-boxes have the power to take us back to a time period that many of us have never experienced– the 1950s. The Paul VI Catholic High School Players harnessed those elements in their performance of Happy Days.

Happy Days is based on a popular television show with the same title, a show that many associate with the “King of Cool,” Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli. In the musical, Richie Cunningham (Daniel Rozmajzl), Warren “Potsie” Webber (Dan Gilbert), Ralph Malph (Connor McAlevy) and Charles “Chachi” Arcola (Alex Siegal), a gang of awkward teenage buddies, accompanied by their idol, “The Fonz” (Jake Miller), try to save Arnold’s, the town’s most populated hang out, from a corporate buy out. Their plan: organizing a dance off and a wrestling match against the intimidating Malachi Brothers, Jumpy and Myron “Count” Malachi.

Several cast members stood out in Paul VI’s production. Sean Pugerude portrayed Richie’s mother, Marion Cunningham, at an almost professional level. Her voice was rich and mature, fitting the character well, and her perfectly timed reactions and expressions added another level of comedy to the show. Pugerude was able to craft a very unique character and acted in a very natural manner on stage.

In Act II, the principal women in the show, Pinky Tuscadero (Alexa Bechara), Joanie Cunningham (Casey Enochs) and Marion Cunningham (Sean Pugerude) came together beautifully for the song “What I Dreamed Last Night (reprise).” Their expressions, especially those of Pugerude, helped characterize each of the women’s passion for their individual dream. Their blend and musicianship was high quality, making the song moving and enjoyable.

The ensemble had high energy, rarely leaving character, with the exception of occasionaly looking into the audience and breaking the fourth wall. When the ensemble sang as a whole they had nice blend, tone, and diction.

The Paul VI Players conveyed the vividness of classic characters believably, and transported the audience to a simpler, more innocent time, where Arnold’s little diner was the center of life in an otherwise dull Wisconsin town. Paul VI’s Happy Days was bright, enthusiastic, and anything but dull.

by Doriana Thornton of Thomas A. Edison High School

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