An inside look at the local organization that stole the spotlight this summer
by: Daven Roberts
As the rest of the school sat in silence over summer vacation, the auditorium roared with the magic of a musical coming together. In the last weekend of July, East Lyme Regional Theater, ELRT, opened their production of Fiddler On The Roof.
Director, Erin Stanley, has just completed her ninth summer production at East Lyme High School. Since its origin in 2009, ELRT has grown and now attracts audiences from all over New England.
“Our mission as East Lyme Regional Theater is to enrich the lives of the young and the young at heart with skills to succeed in the performing arts. Fiddler was a groundbreaking production for us and I was blown away by the support it got from the community,” Stanley said.
Over the years, Stanley has been able to provide quality entertainment and a welcoming environment for talent of all ages. Fiddler’s cast provided both nine-year-olds and sixty-year-olds with the opportunity to shine equally on stage.
“ELRT benefits the community in many ways. It provides fun family entertainment, a fun experience for the cast members, and it allows people of all ages to do what they love all year round,” Gabe Milluzzo said, who is a vocal performance major at Syracuse University and the actor who played Perchik in Fiddler On The Roof.
This organization produces at least four shows a year and offers a few year-round classes and camps to the younger demographic. These classes teach basic skills and help the youth gain their presence on stage. All programs through ELRT exhibit a welcoming and accepting environment for all those involved.
“This is the nicest group of strangers I have ever met. I loved being backstage waiting to go on, with all ages united as equals, hands joined as performers, with this one show in our hearts for the time being. It was magical,” Liz Hall, an East Lyme resident and a member of the ensemble of Fiddler, said.
ELRT is unique in the fact that all levels of talent and experience share the stage. From college students studying the arts, to young children stepping on stage for the first time, to adults looking for a summer hobby; there is a spot for everyone in ELRT.
“I’ve seen ELRT grow immensely since the beginning. Just watching it get bigger has been awesome. I think Fiddler itself really helped the program grow with adding some really fabulous adults and doing our first classical musical,” Lucas Sousa-Ross, ELHS Drama Club alum, said.
In the future, Stanley hopes to continue growing East Lyme Regional Theater into a program known for both its entertainment and ability to bring the community together. ELRT welcomes any volunteers or performers looking to join the family and give back to the community of East Lyme and surrounding towns.
“We strive for intergenerational connections between all artists while teaching valuable skills that our members can use on and off stage