Arts & Entertainment

Livingston High School Theater Club Performed Hit Woody Allen Comedy

A scene from the LHS Drama Club performance of "Don't Drink the Water." Credits: Martha Ackermann

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Last week, Livingston High School's Theater Club performed the hit Woody Allen situation comedy, "Don't Drink the Water” to a large audience and a standing ovation. The show was billed as a "cascade of comedy" that would have audiences rolling in the aisles. It featured a farcical look at relationships inside an American embassy, in an unnamed country, behind the Iron Curtain, with tourists accused of spying and youths finding love for the first time.

The plot began when an American Ambassador left the Embassy for business and placed his incompetent son, Axel Magee, in charge. Next, the Embassy was thrust into a crisis when an American tourist, Walter Hollander, and his wife and daughter rushed in for refuge because they were on the run from the police for “allegedly” taking pictures in a restricted area. The communists thought they were spies. In true Allen form, hilarity ensued. Together, they all plotted the family’s escape and Axel and Hollander’s daughter, who arrived at the embassy engaged to someone else, fell in love and got married.

The original play, which was written by Woody Allen, premiered on Broadway in1966, and was Allen’s first professionally produced play. It was directed by Stanley Prager and produced by David Merrick with Charles H. Joffe and Jack Rollins. The cast included Lou Jacobi, Kay Medford, Anita Gillette, Tony Roberts, Donna Mills and Richard Libertini.

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A movie version of Allen’s play was released in 1969 and starred Jackie Gleason. Allen then directed and was the lead in a 1994 TV rendition that featured Michael J. Fox.

The LHS show was directed by Michele Leibowitz and featured: The LHS show was directed by Michele Leibowitz and featured students: Jason Silberman, Walter Hollander; Alana Saltzman, Marrion Hollander; Rachael Richard, Susan Hollander; Josh Young, Axel Magee; Sam Thor, Ambassador Magee; Jordan Cohen, Father Drobney; Jared Kirsch, Kilroy; David Anderson, Krojack; Melana Odegova, Burns; Natalie Khann/Grace Shin, Sultan's Wife/Chef; Ryan Healy, Sultan of Bashir; and Brian Miseo, Kasnar.

LHS’s play also showcased the talents of: Samantha Brown, stage manager; Jordan Wagner, assistant stage manager; Shay Weiser-Schlesinger, production manager; Brian Megaro, sets and all technology, Jaimey Shapey, scenic artist; Josh Ringler and Matt Borker, co-technical managers; Alex Ehrlich, lighting designer; Austin Biss, Assistant Lighting Designer; Evan Anderson, lighting assistant; Dan Laveman, head sound designer; Max Schnapper, Caroline Cohen, and Mikey Thompson, assistant sound designers; Kimia Zehtab, Laney Silverman, Abby Simko, and Martha Ackermann, costumes; and build crew, Christina Cuppari, Ethan Gallant, Grace Bracci, Ilana Goldin, Zach Hirschberger, and Giacomo Gesualdo.

Livingston High School's Theater Club produces two school-wide productions a year—a fall drama and a spring musical. They also produce a variety of other productions throughout the year. The club handles all of the technical aspects of the productions including the design and construction of sets, design of lights and sound, and other backstage chores.

LHS theater productions are almost entirely self-sustaining with the majority of funding coming from ticket sales, advertisements and fundraisers. The public can make donations to help support the program, by clicking here.

For more photos from the show, click here.

To learn more about the LHS Theater Club and the play, click here.

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