February 19, 2014 —
Well, I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on it just yet. The snowfall has been epic this winter and at times, it’s been difficult to get out. As usual, the assortment of events scheduled around the Upper Delaware valley has been inviting, but without an actual sleigh, hard to get to. Each week I fill in my calendar with plans, but hesitate to get attached, since very often cancellations cascade in a domino effect, leaving me stranded on the mountain, eyeing the growing pile of laundry with disdain. Shoveling alleviates the boredom, sprinkled with short walks with the wonder dog, while I snap photos of the increasing footage of white stuff accumulating with astonishing pace. Recently Little Orphan Annie has been on my mind for a few reasons, and as I play the soundtrack of her life in my head, I hear that plaintive cry, “When I think of a day that’s gray and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin and say…” Oh, what’s the use?
Actually, the red-headed tyke is haunting me. As the staff at The River Reporter rehearses for the 2014 Sullivan County Celebrity Dinner, I’ve been inundated with emails, phone calls and Facebook taunts regarding the various teams participating in the sixth annual fundraiser benefitting the Boys and Girls Clubs (www.bgorange.org ). This year’s theme is “Broadway,” and the website for the event explains that the dinner “is heading back to the Villa Roma Resort this March, hosted by the legendary Greg Goldstein, to raise funds for the Town of Walkill Boys and Girls Club sites here in Sullivan County.” The River Reporter, along with more than 20 other costumed teams, will be serving a four-course meal and entertaining the crowd with musical salutes to some of the greatest shows ever to hit the Great White Way, including “The Wiz,” “Hairspray,” “The Sound of Music,” “Hair,” “Wicked,” “Grease” and (yes, you guessed it) “Annie.”
While we practice our routine and sew our outfits, I get out and about (when possible), running into other cast members, busily preparing their own. While it’s all in good fun, the competition amps up as the event draws near, and the jabs are hurled as the gauntlet is thrown down to see which team will come out on top, garnering the most attention, and more importantly, the most tips for their efforts. Recently, I saw state Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther at an event in Monticello, and as she sidled up to me, I saw it coming. “We’re gonna mop up the floor with you guys,” she said with a wink, while District Attorney Jim Farrell and Sheriff Michael Schiff nodded in agreement. Catskill Regional Medical Center’s Dr. Gerry Galarneau concurred. “We’re performing from ‘A Chorus Line,’” he whispered, “and I know how to dance, so watch your back!” Kinder words from Debra Gabriel (Team “Cabaret”) expressed the true sentiment that all of the participants feel. “As adults we forget the art of play,” she said. “As children, it gave us so much enjoyment. This event reminds us to take a moment out of our busy lives to LOL, let ourselves go wild and have fun while helping the children that inspire us.”
A silent auction, an incredible cocktail reception, a sumptuous dinner and a fantastic show await those lucky enough to secure the few remaining tickets for what has become the “best show in town,” slated for Friday, March 7 at the Villa. Musical numbers from “The Addams Family,” “Dreamgirls,” “Mary Poppins” and “Spamalot” are also on the bill, but we at The River Reporter are determined to get “best in show” with our interpretation of “Annie,” so make your reservations for one of our tables now, by calling 845/342-8833. And yes, Dharma the Wonder Dog will be there, playing “Sandy.”
Meanwhile, weather permitting, I’ll be hitting the Cabin Fever Party (www.thecooperageproject.org ) in Honesdale, PA this Friday, and on Saturday, artist Helena Clare Pittman’s opening reception (www.artsalliancesite.org ) in Narrowsburg, NY. On Sunday in Narrowsburg, The Delaware Highlands Conservancy will be at the Tusten Theatre with Bill Streeter, of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, with the Little Sparrow band performing before Streeter’s presentation featuring live birds of prey. Will snow, ice and assorted inclement conditions prevent me from attending these events? Fingers crossed, the sun will come out tomorrow. After all, it’s only a day away.