Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scouts continuing 88-year tradition with Gang Show

The cast of the 1932 minstrel show. Rodman Kneen Sr. of Shelton, who is still active in Scouting, is in the second to last back row on far left, wearing a sweater and tie. / Contributed photo  

DERBY - The more than 100 members of Cub Pack 3, Boy Scout Troop 3 and Venture Crew 33 will present their 88th Annual Scout Gang Show at 7:30 p.m. May 11-12, at the Derby United Methodist Church. 
The church is across from the Derby Green at the corner of Fifth and Elizabeth Streets. Part old time minstrel, vaudeville, and variety show, the longest-running show of its kind has been performed by the Derby scouts since 1922 (shows weren’t performed for 2 years during World War II). Although the Derby show is the only one performed in the United States, Scout Gang Shows are performed by Scout groups throughout the United Kingdom and former British colonies. 
Award winning stage and screen performer Brian Dennehy and local Center Stage director Gary Scarpa are among the scouting alumni who performed in the show as youths under the direction of the late Scouting pioneer Edmund D. Strang.
Highlights of this year’s “What a Wonderful World” themed show include “Baby” by Tiger Cub Nicholas Palumbo, “Over There” by Cub Mike Szewczyk and “Grandma’s Feathered Bed” by Chorus Director Scout Matthew Moran. 
The director and interlocutor for the show is Troop 3 Scoutmaster Randy Ritter and piano accompaniment is provided by Jeremey Lombard. Lighting and sound is under the direction of Assistant Scoutmaster John Spinetti.
The “Endmen” or joke tellers for the show include Neeraj Madivala, Steven Tracz, Andrew Devine, Billy Kowarik, Brian Welch, Alex Oppel, Tyler Stankye and Charles Stankye IV. The Stankye brothers are third-generation endmen performing in the show. “Stooges” for the show are David Ahearn, Mike Neuendorf, Mike Tracz, John Murray and Patrick Matuska. 
The Stooges are under the direction of Mr. Rodman Kneen, Sr. who has been involved with the show for 80 years, having first performed as a Cub in the 1932 show. 
Special guests include Sarah Widomski, Sara Poppa, Troop 3 Committeeman and former Mayor of Derby, Marc Garofalo, Derby Second Congregational Church pastor, the Rev. Larry Crasilli and his wife, Doreen. Tickets are available for $7 from Pack 3, Troop 3 and Crew 33 scouts, or by calling 732-0343. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Proceeds from the show assist scouts in attending Housatonic Cub Scout Day Camp at Warsaw Park and Boy Scout Summer Camp at the Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation in Goshen.

The above information was contributed by Troop 3 Scoutmaster Randy Ritter.

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