For the last three of the 33 years that I have lived in Port Washington I attended the Red Stocking Review, and I am sorry I hadn't started attending much earlier. The show can be hilarious and with some very talented performers even if they are amateurs. Some of the most humorous moments this year involved cross-dressing such as in the I Enjoy Being a Girl number with the women in full football gear and the men dressed as cheerleaders, complete with red wigs. The 40 adorable children in three numbers showed poise and budding talent. Especially impressive were the singers in groups such as in the "Beatles Medley" showcasing about 10 songs. The soloists and other chorus members were outstanding as well. The kickline and tap dancers dazzled the audience.
Another bonus is I get to sit next to some wonderfully enthusiastic audience members. This year I sat between two matriarchs of families with a long list of performers. Martha Mirarne's daughter and her husband, Susette and Dave Franklin perform continually and their grown children did in the past. Ann Vietri, at 82 years old, who was in the first show in 1971, is now retired from performing but helps out at the box office or ushers. The Shaub children who performed are her grandchildren and the Sangers are her great-grandchildren. Vietri said that anyone who wants to help out in any way is welcome. "No one is turned away."
Since 1971, $600,000 has been raised by these productions with $40,000 last year alone. Two recipients who spoke at the start of the show said they appreciated the support they received. "You could feel the love," said one. Another reason to attend is it's for a wonderful cause, cancer care, with all the money raised going to patients.
I love to see how the performers obviously enjoy the experience, and I also appreciate their ability in writing the songs and choreography. Back stage right before the show began the cast members and all the other staff formed a large circle for a pep talk by the director Maryellen Barnes. She told them to turn to the person next to them and tell them how great they are. They joined hands and raised them up and cheered. She told them about the wonderful reviews from audience members from the night before. I would just like to add my glowing review as well.
One other reason to go to the Red Stocking Review is to show appreciation for the efforts by the hundreds of volunteers, some who you don't necessarily see. While general chairpersons Velma Jones and Barbara Faticone perform, they also spend countless hours with the committee members for 11 months before the performance. All year the volunteers are thinking about ideas for the 13 ads for Port Washington businesses and other acts as well. The volunteers work on scenery, prepare the journal, write the songs, choreograph the dances, sell tickets, decide on costumes, do publicity and work as stagehands. The tap dancers also keep up their skills by performing for nursing homes, senior citizens and at HarborFest.