NEYT presents annual Melodrama Festival

BRATTLEBORO — New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St., will present its annual Melodrama Festival on Friday, July 20, at 6 p.m., and Saturday, July 21, at 2 and 6 p.m.

NEYT's favorite summer program for 13 years running is the Melodrama Festival. Villains, heroes, robbers, and victims abound in these hilarious tales, written and directed by former NEYT students and performed by current students ages 9-15. Two different plays are performed back-to-back three times over two days to houses packed with audiences that hiss and boo and cheer the actors' every move.

This year's festival opens with The Last Night of Vaudeville, written and directed by Amy Majer and Casey Greenleaf, and features the Junior company, composed of young actors ages 9-11.

When a hardworking group of vaudeville performers learn that their theater is replacing their acts with motion pictures, they do what any down-and-out troupe in the same situation would do: concoct a magic trick to make visiting silent film star Charlie Chaplin disappear on stage. This entertaining farce is a rollicking look at a bygone art form and a poignant message about dealing with change.

The festival continues with the Senior company's performance of Deadwood Dick, or The Game of Gold!, written and directed by Hayden Bunker and Raphi Shamas.

Performers ages 12-15 play heroic cowboys, trusty sidekicks, and dastardly villains who have come out of the desert and into the saloon to quench their thirst for mayhem. This over-the-top, riotous Wild Western melodrama will have audiences hooting and hollering at every turn.

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