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Yes, Virginia Opens the Paramount This Week

The performances at the historic Paramount Center for the Arts will be held on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.

There going to be a miracle at the Paramount Center for the Arts this weekend.

No, Peekskill officials haven’t brought in a new firm to operate the theater. That won’t happen for about another month or so.

But that isn’t stopping Scarlett Antonio, of the Antonia Arts Studio in Peekskill, from teaming up with the Rising Stars Performing Arts Company in Yonkers and putting on a performance of Macy’s “Yes, Virginia the Musical” this weekend.

“I thought that after the Paramount was closed to the community, it would be a good opportunity for us to come and have an event,” said Antonio. “It’s a show about hope and faith, so we thought this fit.”

The show is loosely based on the letter Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the New York Sun in 1897, “Is there a Santa Claus,” and is part of campaign that’s been sponsored by Macy’s since 2008. The department store has made the story available to teachers royalty fee.

Antonia’s “Wiz Kidz,” a children’s troupe that she recently formed, will perform alongside the Rising Stars. The troupe is named in honor of  L. Frank Baum, who attended the Peekskill Military Academy and went on to write the Wizard of OZ.

“I originally wanted to run a stage production of the Wizard of Oz at the Paramount, but I couldn’t get the theater time,” Antonia said while explaining the inspiration for her toupe. “So I figured I’d start with the kids. We formed last December and we’ve had about 15 appearances.”

“I can’t wait to attend this…and I’m hoping for full houses at each performance,” Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said in a press release. “I am very grateful that Scarlett was able to pull this together so quickly. She truly is amazing..”

The cast was set in November and the group has been practicing every Saturday and Sunday leading up to the event.

“I’m teaming up with the Rising Stars because there would be no other way to pull this off otherwise,” Antonia said. “It’s such a big show. Rising Stars started working on the show first, but I thought it made sense for us join after I found out about the Paramount closing.”

In addition to the musical, there will also be another show featuring local performers, like Daisy Joplin.

Antonia, who has lived in Peekskill for 11 years, has produced and choreographed about 300 shows stateside and in Europe, including productions of “Cats” and “Annie” at the Paramount.

Showtimes are Saturday, Dec. 22 from  2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased on line at www.risingstarspac.net or one hour prior to the shows at the ticket window of the Paramount theater, located at 1008 Brown Street in Peekskill. Tickets cost  $22 for adults, $12 for  students/seniors $12. Paramount membership card holders pay $18 for adult tickets and $8 for seniors. Groups of 10 adults  pay $150  and  groups of 10 Seniors pay  $100. Call Scarlett Antonia at 914-930-7588 or e-mail Antoniaarts2@gmail.com for more information.

theobserver December 18, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Congratulations to your Christmas show and your dedication to your hometown Paramount Theatre. Here's hoping for a very successful event.
ED HICKEY December 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
HERE! HERE! OUTSTANDING INITIATIVE AND UTILIZING SOME OL'FASHIONED CHRISTMAS MAGIC! Very excited to know this show will be playing at The Paramount; all your hard and expedited work collectively to make this happen, put some cheer in this writer's Christmas season. Wishing all pure enjoyment in performing and hoping good turnouts for every show.

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