Westfield Theater Group set to perform ‘Time in Westfield’ for the Westfield 350

Marion Dunk (left) composed the music for “Time in Westfield” while Kathy Palmer (right) wrote and directed the play. (Photo by Peter Currier)

WESTFIELD- The Westfield Theater Group will soon perform an original musical in honor of Westfield’s 350th birthday at the Westfield Woman’s Club starting on May 10th.

The play, called “Time in Westfield,” explores the history of Westfield through a comedic and musical lens. It was written by Kathy Palmer while the music was written by Marion Dunk. The show itself will premiere on Friday, May 10th at 7:30pm and will have further showings on May 11th at 7:30pm, May 16th at 7:30pm, and May 18th at 2:00pm. General admission for the show is $15. Students, senior citizens, and military members can get in for $12.

“It is a lighthearted entertaining comedy that should appeal to all ages,” said playwright Kathy Palmer, “It should appeal to people who like plays, people who like musicals, people who like fun stories, people who like history, people who like to see old Westfield pictures.”

The full cast of “Time in Westfield” practice a song from the beginning of the musical a week before dress rehearsal. (Photo by Peter Currier)

Palmer noted that the backdrops that will be shown during the production are all authentic pictures of Westfield and Westfield’s history. She said that much of the research that was done to find the images and the history of the city was done by Ann Tunavicus. She had done a lot of her research at the Westfield Athenaeum. Palmer had begun working on the play a year ago when she first started researching Westfield’s history. The story and music for the play are all original works by Palmer and Dunk respectively.

Palmer said there is an overarching story throughout the musical. The plot centers around a group of people who use time travel to explore moments of the City of Westfield’s 350-year history starting in 1669. She added that there will be cameo appearances of city figures during each showing of the musical.

There are 40 different cast members and seven pit band members with varying roles in the play. Of the 40 people, Palmer estimates that about a third of them have never appeared in a theatre production before. Palmer and Dunk noted that despite some of the cast being new to theatre, they are all excited to be on stage for opening night next week. The expected run time for the full production is approximately two hours including intermission.

Palmer said that there are two scenes in particular that she is excited for the audiences to see. Without spoiling too much, one scene involves a speech by a Judge named Michael Sullivan (no known relation to current Mayor Brian Sullivan) who lived in the early 20th century. The other scene is a tribute to the military veterans of Westfield. Most of the events depicted in the play are relatively unknown to the average person, but that each scene and event is based on reality.

The costumes for the play were designed by Gwen Newton Denton, the choreagraphy was managed by Tianna Darlin, and the Stage Manager for “Time in Westfield” is Shaina Hibert. The musical is being produced by Shelley Haber.

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