By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,691 )
“I’m so nervous and excited,” said Gwynedd Esty-Kendall late this afternoon at Congress Square Park. “It’s been five years since I’ve performed on the stage.”. That was when she starred in, wrote and directed a one woman show in New York City sponsored by a non-profit “We Got Issues.” (It’s a group to empower women!) The unpretentious and likeable Gwynedd studied theater in college in Canada where she was in a number of Greek tragedies. She sang solos in MY SHOT and AARON BURR, SR. this evening. Her singing, training and experience shone brightly on the stage at Congress Square Park. She now lives and works in Portland.
For two hours tonight, a packed Congress Square Park was transformed into a hip hop heaven as about forty (40) area singers engaged a mesmerized public in a sing-along showcasing music from the record-setting Broadway hit – Hamilton – The Musical. Leaders in the sing-along signed up in advance on-line and frankly the talent was astounding!
“This play addresses so many relevant social issues. Issues like immigration, racial divide our current economic system economic and partisan political thought. People argue so well here,” said Miles Knight who was hoping to be able to join the singers on stage at the last-minute because he hadn’t signed up previously on-line. This is a commentary on our current politics and was some of what drew a large crowd of energetic and talented young adults to the Park that is adjacent to the luxurious Westin Hotel in downtown Portland.
Julia Durgee said she learned a lot about American history through memorizing all the music in Hamilton. “Hamilton did a lot of good things, but he was a shitty dude,” she said. Durgee sang on stage as well in the finale.
Musical Theater Studio is a pop-up producer of local shows according to Celeste Green, its executive director. Recently they produced Heathers and Cradle Will Rock locally. “Currently we have nothing planned again for here, but we will.”
Admission is free to events at Congress Square Park.
For more about Cast Aside Productions, please call 207 – 838-8871 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the second year of programming at Congress Square Park hosted by the Friends of Congress Square Park. Formerly it was a largely neglected space that the city of Portland has offered to sell to the Westin Hotel for their own development. However, the voters of Portland won-out and it was retained for the public’s use.