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Weston Student Brings Campy Villainess to Life

Weston High School senior Samantha Rehr will step into Angela Lansbury’s shoes in the role of Mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper in the school’s production “Anyone Can Whistle.” She just hopes the performance is better received than the original.

“We were kind of unsure in the beginning,” Rehr said of drama teacher Damian Long’s decision to bring the Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents musical to Weston High School. The students’ trepidation was not without cause. The play, a somewhat absurd, sarcastic and comical look at sanity and society, closed on Broadway after just nine days.

“Anyone Can Whistle” has since acquired a sort of cult status, with songs from the original cast recording making the rounds of musical theater aficionados. “Eventually it took on a life of its own and I love it,” Rehr said.

Rehr has been a part of Company , the Weston High School drama club, since she was a freshman. After graduation she will participate in the theater program at the University of Michigan. Rehr referred to the school acting troupe as a second family. “I’m headed toward a career in acting that never would have happened without Company,” she said.

Hoover, like most of the roles in the musical, is a campy caricature. As the villainess, she exudes an extreme sense of egomania, a characteristic Rehr does not share. “She not a typically relatable character because she is just so over-the-top,” said Rehr, adding that there is a bit of a humanizing aspect to the character in the third act.

The Weston High School production of “Anyone Can Whistle” will hit the stage for three performances Friday, April 1, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 3, at 3 p.m. For more information on the show, contact Damian Long at damianlong@westonk12-ct.org .

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