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“An Improbable Likelihood of How Cherry Grove Was Born”



First – The Queen – a unique view featuring her marvelous ruffled stole


 By design or coincidence this season in the Grove seems to be one of reminiscing.

Harold Seeley, a treasure in himself, has been nurturing his archives for 30 years with memorabilia that go back to 1948. Sybil Bruncheon recently presided over an evening of the Grove’s major Drag Queens: Bella, Panzi, Philomena, plus Tony Bondi, the Freedner Twins and Sal Piro recalling the past here in Show People, and newbies Ariel, Logan Hardcore and Dallas Dubois were recently interviewed recalling their more recent pasts here.

It is that same reverence for Grove history that inspired Sherri Rase, SallyAnne Piacentino and Lee Sharmat to create “An Improbable Likelihood of How Cherry Grove Was Born”


The show was a fictional account of Cherry Grove just before the Big Hurricane came and washed most of it away circa August 31, 1938. And includes a traveling circus and also a segment at the end that covers 1940-present via highlights and a short number for each decade.



The first scene is in the present, in the Community House dressing room, with 4 Grover’s reminiscing about the old days (not that they could have been there but...)



Dolly (Sally Ann) & Annie (Dale Lally) “Y’know I used to headline in the Grove”


(The Freedners) Bun Mi & Bun Ma “Hey, I’m schvitzing is that A/C on? “



Then we are introduced to the pirate (Linda Dickerman) and Cassandra (Barbara Hirsch). The gypsy can 'see' backwards and forwards (hence the reference, for instance to Breakfast Pizza, a specialty at the pizza place). “One day Robert Moses will try to build a highway down the island and people will try to build huge houses in the Meat Rack…someday there will be a water taxi…”


The plot thickens with the distinction being drawn between East and West, which is, according to some Grove lore, a reality for some west siders who have looked down their noses at people who live on the east side (probably because the west side developed first and is probably more choice property.) Someone says “there is no Ivy" which is the very last walk on the East side and was not there until later development, probably after the hurricane.


Curley, (Eric Coyne) comes out with fishing pole and sings “Oh What a Beautiful Morning..everythings blowin’ my way” …. I need a bigger hook


“, and a bigger pole” quips Aunt Ella (Timothea), a west sider, who tries to shoo him away.  He is an east sider in love with



Laurie (Jackie Presti), a west sider. Curley is Dutch's nephew and has big plans to make big bucks developing the east side. (Dutch is a reference to an old, recently deceased, guy who owned quite a few places, including Dune Point, a guest complex, on the eastside).  Laurie’s west side Aunt Ella wants her to dump Curley and get with Judd (LynnTunderman), a westsider and womanizer wheeler dealer, who is engaged to


Maggie (Martha Pitkin) also a west sider




East and west meet singing the West Side Story Jets vs Sharks song


  Each threatening to throw the other into the bay.


Next scene shows Curley proposing to Laurie, she refuses saying she has a boat to meet and she is the dock mistress, besides they will never get Aunt Ella's approval. Judd enters, backed up by Aunt E's approval and presence, and asks Laurie to the dance. A dance which Curley knows nothing about. Laurie accepts and walks off stage with Judd.

 Curley rips his t-shirt and is on his knees crying "Laurie" when Maggie enters, and tells Curley that Judd has promised me his family jewels that are coming on the next ferry.



Town folk gather for the arrival of the anticipated freight boat and unload miscellaneous stuff, including 2 deer, (who of course overpopulate and eat gardens in the future), lame for the Ball, guns, liquor and plungers and R L’veen’s trunk. (to Music Man’ freight trains is coming)


After it is all unloaded, Maggie looks for Judd and the family jewels. Turns out that Judd has deceived Maggie, there are no 'family jewels' and besides that he lost all his money gambling at the casino off island.  Maggie tells Judd they are finished.


Next scene is in Petersen's bar, apparently the predecessor to the Ice Palace and Wendy is Petersen.

“I’ve got a Lotta Livin’ to Do”


Then Judd sings “There are girls just ripe for some Kissing” song, and it ends with the breakup complete and Maggie and Lorrie waltzing off together to go to the dance with each other.


The ferry horn blows and the circus has come to town with a show they will put on at Petersen's bar

Buffalo Betsy (Bella) “my hair was straight before I got on the ferry”


Strong Man (Bruce Michael Gelbert) sings “I Can Make You a Man” (from Rocky Horror show)


Chief Gerono-homo & Squaw SacaJudea (Lynn Belensky & Pat Wagnis)

Sing “I’m an Indian Too”

(here’s another look because I couldn’t resist)


“We are Siamese if you please…and if you don’t please” (notice the finger connection...)


and the ever present cue cards



All the circus folks are introduced and Frank (Sherri) challenges the locals to a shooting match. No one takes him up on it and just as he is ready to give up on that idea, Annie calls out from the rear, "Hold on there" and enters the fray. It’s Annie (Dale)! And the cast welcomes him?her?



Then its  “Hello Dolly” time


and the cast joins  in augmented by the bearded lady (Lee)


 Frank, the challenger, tries and misses and the winner Annie is declared.


“Doin’ What Comes Naturally”


There is nothing like a dame


All exit except Frank and Judd who sings “Honey Bun” 

During their song they develop an attraction to each other.

“,…I enjoy being a girl having a guy playing a girl like me”





Everyone comes back into the scene and Judd and Frank get a grip and stop mooning over each other. The cast unites in “There is Nothing like a Dame”



“Money Money Money .. Its a rich man’s world”


The hurricane comes but naturally Hurricane Rose (Lee) survives singing “I’m Still Here”




The next day the circus people entertain themselves at Petersen's playing bingo.


Town folk enter with umbrellas singing Good Morning.


Annie sings “I’m A Woman”...if I can make a dress out of a tube top I can make a man out of you”


Bruce- Michael sings “The Rhythm of Life” and leads the cast in a rousing chorale


Bearded Lady (Lee) sings “I’m Tired…of being admired. they keep coming and coming and always too soon”



They assess the damages to the Grove, Annie is going to fix everything with her power tools (even though there is no electricity yet in the Grove) Maggie and Annie are now completely gaga over each other as are Judd and Frank, hence HomoGrove.






How many are left after intermission – bolt the doors! You should see the show downstairs


Demi Tasse as Lola…”A little brains, a little talent...with the emphasis on the latter” (speaking of which where did the “latter” go?)



The ever inventive Angela Merci sang a Betty Hutton song from Red Hot & Blue

About Hamlet & Ophelia and brought her dog for support


The glam Robin Kradles who can’t find Mr. Right “You Can Count on Me (to lose a man...I crashed the junior prom and met the only married man...or else I meet the guys who want to do my hair…”




The Grove in the ‘40’s

The Andrew Sisters Susan, Ruth & Tim

The 50’s Rock Around the Clock (that’s Dale off the left side)

The 60’s Aquarius Linda, Barbara & Lynne

I Will Survive”  Angela, Bella & Demi in the ‘70’s

(The ‘80’s Bruce Michael, Pat & Lynn – “That’s What Friends Are For”)

Vogue-ing in the ‘90’s Martha, Lee & Wendy



 Lee Sherri Sally show’s creators


A well deserved nod to the talented Dan Daly, musical; Director and Brett Oberman, Choreographer




 This show was originally titled Annie get your Nail gun by the way.



The show ends with some circus people leaving the circus and staying at the Grove, like the Twins, and Dolly (Sallyann) leave for the next show at 2 and 1/2 towns, showing interest in maybe buying some Grove real estate from Aunt Ella, and according to the first scene, Dolly does return to the Grove to headline for years to come.


While the ambitious occasionally forced plot may be the result of too many creators, it is nevertheless well intentioned and good humored. Its fun to see our tried and true performers onstage again. Warning, never let Martha hide behind the scenes again – she is the break out “find”, little Mary Sunshine incarnate no matter what the scene she is always “on”, and it’s nice to Jackie Presti back and doing the jitterbug again with her old partner, scene stealer Dale Lally. The vocal strength of Eric is always a pleasure as it’s the intensity of Bruce-Michael. I don’t know why, since much of the material was familiar, but the RGs just get better and funnier – Linda, Barbara & Lynn ARE flower children, the dead pan Indians were even funnier with each entrance, the twins have reached a new zenith of confidence perhaps as they seem more and more relaxed, (no cards needed), Lee was smashing as my nemesis, Sallyanne and Sherri sexily macho. Wendy has reached new powers onstage and almost rivals the ability of Timothea to crack me up just by being there.

What can I say about my favorite drag queens, Bella, Angela, Demi, Robin – they are my hero(ines) and their energy and sparkle quickens my pulses and  I just want to be them.


Wonderful season’s end effort – as in the play “we’ll take the Grove over America any day”



Below are pictures I just couldn’t fit into the plot but could not deprive you of them

SallyAnn does Dean