Altschiller working on a new musical

Musician and thespian Marina Altschiller has teamed up with screenwriter Justin Scarelli of Hampstead, to put on a show – a musical, in fact; a new one at that.

Scarelli approached Altschiller about collaborating on a musical based on his film "Some Holiday."

"Justin asked me to come on ... to adapt it. He asked if I would write the lyrics and music for the show," Altschiller says. "It has the most beautiful characters that fit into a musical nicely."

The pair started in January, "and it's taken off pretty quickly."

The two initially conducted a review analyzing and identifying characters, the right emotional arch, and dialogue suitable to song. First read came up with "30 moments" ripe for treatment, "a little much," she says laughing.

"From there, we picked kind of the most important songs for each character and each couple, and started there."

Cast callbacks, held last week, were in a word "amazing," and indicated more change, she says.

"We had incredible talent from the Seacoast, but also coming in from Concord (nice to expand that network)," she says. "The callbacks informed so much of what we want to do with the show. We were lucky to have a talent pool that makes us want to revisit and expand ... on the script. It was incredible."

"Some Holiday" will go up at the Players' Ring in November of 2019, and then at the Hat Box in Concord in the summer of 2020.

Taryn Herman looks back on first year

Taryn Herman took over Exeter's MusicalArts LLC (formerly MusicalArts Academy of Music and Dance, still its Facebook page name) just short of a year ago. She recently marked a milestone, the traditional end-of-season recitals, her first at the helm. The inaugural lot included in-house music, aerial dance, and the final, off-premise dance presentation.

"I've done tons of dance recitals, but never as the person doing 'all things.' That was the new aspect: getting all the ducks in a row, getting things to run on time, and seeing that the kids have a good time – a few more responsibilities," she quips. "But I treated it just like a 'another' show; I've done a LOT of shows."

"It does feel like an accomplishment. It was great, so I'm pleased," she adds. "It was a real team effort and the kids had a great time. I was very, very proud to say the least."

Herman has made a few additions since taking over the school ("I'm not sure I'd use the word change.") The center added aerial and tap for adults along with more private music lessons. "We want people to know it's not just for kids. Anyone can take lessons anytime. It's never too late to start."

Another big move is additional performance opportunities for students.

To date, MusicalArts has taken part in TEAM Exeter's Swasey Park festival, and performed in the town's Holiday Parade. It presented in the Town Hall's gallery, at the Word Barn and at Exeter's Christ Church. ("They have a beautiful grand piano, so that's cool.") More info at

"It's slow and steady, but we're trying to find more venues," Herman says. "We're just tying to open up and get out in the community more."

As for any further personal theater gigs, actress, director and choreographer Herman says there may be fewer, but she's still involved. Herman directed Prescott Park Arts Festival's "Miracle on 34th Street" in December 2018, and she's heading to the Weathervane Theater to choreograph two shows this summer. "I still love doing theater, ... and if it works out, I'll definitely be doing that."

Leftist Marching Band everywhere

Just a word about the Leftist Marching Band that seems to appear everywhere, but get little recognition for all it does – and does so free. The LMB performed for three causes, two weeks ago Saturday. Members (30 strong with additions from Boston's BABAM) headed out the door that morning with the Portsmouth PRIDE march, and the Juneteenth celebration on its calendar.

"We initially didn't think we'd be able to do both. ... We'd already signed up to lead the PRIDE parade (at 1 p.m.)," "Twirler" Joanne Piazzi says. "But, Juneteenth moved the time of its event (to 2 p.m.) so we could do both."

While performing the latter, Piazzi was asked if they had one more gig in them.

"We were at the African Burial Ground, when Denise Wheeler flagged me down and asked if there was any chance we could march down to the Music Hall when we were finished," Piazzi says. "It was the 'Fill The Hall' event. ... collecting bags of food to fill the seats in the hall for Gather."

After a few quick words with fellow twirler Pat Spalding, the two decided it was a go and "we just led the band across the street – about a block," she says.

"Why all three? Because they're all worthy causes, and we like to support grassroots organization. - And it's just really fun to go out and play together," she says.

Currently on the LMB calendar: two performances at Edgewood Centre, and on July 7, the "Open Democracy and NH Rebellion March," which starts with two tunes in Kittery and finishes with a few across the bridge in Portsmouth.

'Yes to Love!' a success

Musician and Music Director William Asher's " Yes to Love!," his first one-man concert-cabaret, ran for three nights in June at the Rochester Performing Arts Center (RPAC) – with success.

"We had two shows that were packed and the houses were very responsive. So, RPAC has asked me to come back for Valentine's Day next year," he says. "We're going to put the whole thing on again with the same musicians."

Meanwhile, after just completing a run as music Director and musician for Hackmatack Theatre's "Always … Patsy Cline," it's off to Rochester Opera House's summer theater projects, produced by PerSeverance Productions. First up, Asher will orchestrate "Sea to Shining Sea," and then play live piano for the full run of "Pirates of Penzance."

"Then I don't have a lot. But, I'll be heading to Michigan for two weeks to put up a Christmas show, with Top Hat Production, then come back and do 'Christmas Carol' at Rochester Opera House. Then that will take me to 'Yes to Love.'"

'Bowie and The Moon' update

Update on the upcoming "Bowie And The Moon" show, the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center and 3S Artspace collaboration, on July 11.

They've confirmed that telescopes for moon-viewing and stargazing will be on-site. But, the big addition is the multimedia element by filmmaker Catherine Stewart.

"(She) is creating visuals to be projected on and behind the bands during the show - images that capture the various era's of Bowies career and the many world events that took place over the past 50 years, coordinated with the eras of the music as it's being performed," Grazier says. "Tickets are going fast and the music has been sounding great in rehearsals. Everyone is very excited about the show." (Info at

A warning for theater-goers

BUYER BEWARE: A warning for theater-goers – for the best price, purchase tickets directly from a theater house. There are reports of incredibly inflated ticket prices on some sales sites.

"There's nothing we can do about it. It's legal," Seacoast Repertory Theatre Executive Director Kathleen Cavalaro says. The Rep has had occasion when a patron voiced upset at the discrepancy between house price (its highest $44) and the $164 they paid for tickets off Stubhub. The theater gains nothing from the inflated price. So, buyer beware.

Jeannι McCartin keeps her eyes and ears open for gossip at