The West Hartford area's talented teens take to the stage for "On The Town," this year's West Hartford Summer Arts Festival production, which runs July 31 to Aug. 3.
The festival, often referred to as SAF, began as an opportunity for high school and college students to perform in big productions. Now in its 38th year, SAF has drawn performers ranging in age from 14 to 20 from West Hartford, Simsbury, Farmington, Bristol, Windsor and Bloomfield in its 45-person cast. The orchestra is also high school and college students, more than 30 total.
This year's production, "On The Town," is a musical comedy that follows three sailors on leave in New York City for 24 hours and their tales of finding love in the big city. Memorable numbers include "New York, New York" and "Lucky To Be Me."
Playing one of the lead roles, Gabey, is 18-year-old Hall High School graduate Thomas Doelger, a YoungArts scholar and 2014 winner of the Presidential Arts Scholarship. He is headed to Emerson College in the fall.
All cast members had to participate in initial vocal and dance auditions in May, then candidates for lead roles prepared a reading and song from the show for the artistic staff members if they were called back. Once the cast was chosen, rehearsals began June 23 and ran Monday through Friday for four hours, five nights a week for five weeks at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford.
Performances are at the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford on Thursday through Saturday at at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 at westhartfordsaf.com.