EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 6, 2014

Packing in the performances

Variety Tonight! spotlights a smorgasbord of local talent


Fellow “Forbidden Newburyport” alumni Ann Ormond, president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Newburyport actress Amy LeJeune will join Budzyna for the “Wrecking Ball” performance.

Additionally, Ormond and LeJeune will each sing a solo number, as well as a duet of “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.” Budzyna asked them to do the tune, which is a farewell between witches Elphaba and Glinda.

Because “For Good” is a ballad, both performers wanted to choose more upbeat Broadway numbers for their solos. Ormond is singing “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” from “Show Boat,” while LeJeune will belt out “Not for the Life of Me” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

“I didn’t want a ballad, I wanted something ‘up,’” said Ormond, who picked her song from the collection of music she has amassed over the years.

After watching actress Sutton Foster during the Kennedy Center tribute to Shirley MacLaine on television recently, LeJeune turned to the musical that gave Foster her big break.

“I think it’s fun to have music back on the stage at the Firehouse,” said LeJeune, who often works as a stage manager at the theater.

Both women said during a rehearsal this week with pianist Evelyn Mann that they are nervous, especially about forgetting the words. But Ormond was quick to add that that is a good thing.

“If you’re not nervous, something’s wrong,” she said.

Since there is no run-through or dress rehearsal of the entire show beforehand, LeJeune and Ormond are also looking forward to seeing what else the evening has to offer. Ormond was particularly excited that the show will highlight the talents of the city’s younger performers, including Julia Yameen, Berit Palma, and Budzyna’s children Colin and Maggie.

“There’s so much talent in this city that it’s great to have it showcased,” Ormond said.

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