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Fox Lane Senior Directs Musical 'Bedside Manor'

BEDFORD, N.Y.— Every year, one student from Fox Lane High School’s Fox Lane Players is chosen to direct a show. Student hopefuls present a show to drama teacher and club advisor Ed Steele, who chooses the winner.

This Saturday, winning senior Jessica Strongwater will stage "Bedside Manor,” a wacky romp that takes place in a very unconventional hospital that operates on the premise that a joke a day is better than an apple.

In the show, Strongwater said, jokester Dr. Jekyll and his silly co-workers are employed at the eponymous Bedside Manor hospital, and are forced to go up against Miss Eagleye, a social worker who is trying to shut down the dysfunctional institution.

Strongwater calls the play “a comedy for all ages, and a love story."

After being selected by Steele, who runs the school’s musical theater program, which most recently staged a production of "The Wedding Singer” in March, the winning student holds auditions for actors and appoints a stage manager, producer, musical director and technical crew.

In April, after the Players bought the rights, Strongwater chose actors for the roughly 20 roles in the musical, and the cast went directly into rehearsals. About 30 people in all were involved in the show, she said, including props and costumes managers.

The story of “Bedside Manor” also involves a hospital intern who passes out at the sight of blood and is being helped through his affliction by his love interest, another intern.

Added to that are a band of gypsies, FBI agents, a group of crazy hospital volunteers who call themselves “The Band Aides" and a film documentary crew that sings songs such as "Of Human Bandage,"”Blood and Guts” and "Humor Overdose."

Junior Ursula Seymour, who played the role of Holly in "The Wedding Singer," brought the 1992 comedic musical to Strongwater, who went on to choose Seymour as the show's musical director. Strongwater said she immediately loved “Bedside Manor," which has a book by Tim Kelly, music by Gerard Castle and lyrics by Michael Vigilant. “I thought it was so cute, and the music was great,” she said.

Saturday’s showtimes are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the school’s Mary Lou Meese Theater. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the box office at (914) 864-3499.

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