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By the numbers

TRR photo by Jonathan Fox Judith Katz, who curated an Outsiders Studio Collective event last weekend, shares her “baggage” at the Flour Power Bakery in Livingston Manor, NY.

March 31, 2011

Eleven. The frigid number of degrees on the thermometer as I left the house and headed to Monticello, NY to catch “Kiss Me Kate” at the high school on Friday. The book, written by husband-and-wife team Samuel and Bella Spewack, adds sparkle to the (IMHO) incredibly clever score, penned by the incomparable Cole Porter, who created 15 original songs for this homage to Shakespeare.

I scanned the program and counted 83 names contributing to this swell production, making note of how hard these students and faculty members work to put on a show. Far too many to name individually, all of whom attacked the play with talent and panache, I would be hard pressed to single out any individual—and yet...

Brittany Knapp, Daniel Braunstein, Nickie Nittoli, Connor McCausland, Nicole Ryan, Jaime Alejandro, Dustin Thomas, Noel Komatz, Robby Garay and Bruce Bunce teriffically carried the show, aided and abetted by scores of wonderful dancers and musicians, all of whom thoroughly entertained the full house. And then there were two. Lily McCausland and Brian Jersey, as the comical gangsters out to collect a debt, simply (there’s no other way to express it) stole the show. I wasn’t alone in my appreciation of their performances as the audience roared at the curtain call, showing their appreciation for the efforts these two put forth.

One of the best known numbers from the show, “Brush up Your Shakespeare” was written to be a show-stopper, and this pair more than did it justice. Replete with more than a dozen references to the Bard’s great plays, McCausland and Jersey wowed the audience and were rewarded with foot-stomping howls of approval as the curtain came down. My hat is off to all involved with the show which, although two-and-a-half hours long, was great, great fun.

It only took one tiny airborne pebble to gouge my windshield as I made my way to the Flour Power Bakery ( in Livingston Manor, NY the very next day. I gasped in horror as the hairline crack grew to 10 inches before I pulled into the lot. Thirteen writers were on hand to share their stories, all of which were slated to be five minutes in length. Given one word, “baggage,” these talented scribes wove imaginative tales based on the keyword, enthralling the packed house in the bakery’s beautiful art gallery/performance space upstairs.

The Outsiders Studio Collective (dot com) presented a truly original afternoon of distinctive stories, which had me laughing and crying, reminiscing and sighing, as the wildly diverse group of writers shared their well crafted monologues.