Pawling Shakespeare Club Celebrates 125 Years!
By Susan Stone
125 years in the making and the Pawling Shakespeare Club’s Birthday Bash on December 2nd did not disappoint! With nearly 100 guests in attendance, food was plentiful (thanks to Vinny’s Catering), costumes worn by club members and guests alike were truly awesome, and the entertainment was fun, at times rollicking, and always engaging.
Co-chaired by Carol-Lee Kantor and former club president Marie DeLorenzo, the auditorium in the Lathrop building at Lakeside Park was transformed into a medieval banquet hall. Guests dined on fare with a nod toward Elizabethan favorites and sat enthralled at the entertainment provided by Shakespeare Club members and invited guests. Among those whose appearance was noteworthy was Davis McCallum, artistic director of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, who delivered a Shakespearean soliloquy from the opening chorus of Henry VI; and who regaled all with slides and plans for HVSF’s spectacular new theatre, expected to be completed by 2026 on the Festival’s new multi-acre property just south of its previous location at Boscobel. Mr. McCallum’s resume is extensive and impressive. He is an actor and director with a very long and distinguished list of credits, including acting in or directing scores of major Shakespeare plays. Following the completion of an international search, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Company chose Mr. McCallum as its artistic director, a position he has now held for ten years. The Pawling Shakespeare Club was honored that Mr. McCallum chose to celebrate this milestone with them.
Additional performers of note were Roger Simon, actor, producer, director and the artistic director of the Simon Studio in New York City; and local author, composer and storyteller Marian Grudko. Together, they read two favorite Shakespearean Sonnets, 130 and 138, beautifully.
Musical performances by Shakespeare Club president Bernie Kaplan and friends Annie Ohara and David Onsie were poignant, with a modern soft rock twist on Shakespeare’s penchant for creating characters that ultimately lose at love. Event guests loved the contemporary balladeering of this practiced trio.
The afternoon’s presentation of Shakespearean-themed amusements included a prologue and epilogue from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by Carol-Lee Kantor; a rendition of “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from Cole Porter’s Guys and Dolls performed by Amy Kornfeld and Stephanie Rogers; an amusing look at Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and history plays delivered by this writer; and a frolicking jaunt through Shakespearean phraseology that is now a part of common English idiom by Stephanie Rogers and Ann Testa. Finally, Ms. DeLorenzo and Pawling town historian Bob Reilly took everyone on a tour of Pawling and the Shakespeare Club through the decades with an interesting and informative slideshow.
The Pawling Shakespeare Club is truly a venerable piece of Pawling history. Members invite one and all to join them in celebration in 2048 , when they will commemorate their 150th! Stay tuned!!
Inquiries about joining the Pawling Shakespeare club may be directed to Carol-Lee Kantor at: firstname.lastname@example.org