Cathy: Bravo to ‘Snoopy!’, debut of Andy O’Rourke’s All Abilities Productions

Chronicle Managing Editor Cathy DeDe writes: What I most appreciate about this community is when we are naturally inclusive, just fact of life.

All Abilities founder and ‘Snoopy’ director Andy O’Rourke. Cathy DeDe photos
Take the stage: Age two or 92, Broadway-bound or bound by circumstance, there’s opportunity to be in a show.

Andy O’Rourke — intrepid, dogged, dynamic and ambitious — adds yet another option with his All Abilities Productions theater company.

“Our mission,” says the All Abilities creed, “is to form a community that includes and accepts people from all walks of life regardless of disability, mental or physical; race, religion, sexual orientation, and age.”

Lofty sentiment, fully presented last weekend when Mr. O’Rourke’s ensemble debuted — following two years of preparation! — with three smashing performances of Snoopy! The Musical, at the Wood Theater. Cast and company charmed and amused, and brought tears to the eyes — unless, like this ol’ sappy writer, you were straight-out crying at the most successful moments, and outright bawling by the finale.

Well cast, well acted, well directed by Mr. O’Rourke, with spot-on timing and humor, costumes, production values, excellent musical numbers, exemplary individual and team efforts— Snoopy also happens to have the ideal message for Mr. O’Rourke’s intentions.

The Glens Falls grad, former Adirondack Theatre Festival intern, South Glens Falls Drama Club assistant, student of Theater and Management at Empire State College, Mr. O’Rourke also happens to be wheelchair bound.

Snoopy! cast at bows — Max Belden, Tyler Wexler, Keely Milligan, Peyton Frank, Brook Evans, Connor Cowles, Drew Gagnon, Allison O’Connor, Ben Purick and Alexis Wexler.
Two years ago when he announced his plan for this company, he told me Snoopy was the only show he wanted to do for the debut.

It’s potentially easy to direct, with stand-alone sketches and songs — but that wasn’t why. The show ends with a double wallop: Two of arguably the most inspiring songs to come out of the light theater tradition.

First there is “Don’t Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be,” an impossible tongue twister of a song that requires strict concentration and diction.

Then, there’s “Just One Person,” which builds on the notion: If one person believes in you, “why not two? Or four? Or More” — and then, “maybe even you can believe in you, too.” Messages enacted, and received, with love and gusto.

Congratulations to all involved, who aimed high and excelled.

All Abilities Productions builds on what Ruth Bletz-Clark previously offered in APT — Adirondack Productions Theater — and goes in great directions.

Copyright © 2024 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved

Check Also

Glens Falls again giving parking tickets; hospital friction

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor The City of Glens Falls has hired a new …