School Spirits – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Just in time for Halloween, Pantochino Productions in Milford is busy with a double header of shows. First up is “School Spirits,” filled with spooks and ghosts and lots of scary fun. An original musical by Bert Bernardi for book and lyrics, with music by Justin Rugg, and a bevy of red, white and black costumes by Jimmy Johansmeyer, it introduces the students of Mockingbird High School as they happily start their new school year and unhappily learn that their precious place of learning is scheduled for demolition to let another Super Value Plus Drugstore be built.

Luckily the “misfit” students devise a plan to save their beloved school. Led by Crystal (Annabel Wardman) and her magic powers, she mobilizes her trio of ghost friends (Maya Barnes, Nathan Horne and Ali McLaren) to join her pals Shellac (Delia Canarie), Keen (Jamie Lamb), Liverwurst (Christopher Serrano), Ace (Connor Rizzo) and Spooki (Fiona Pasley) and determine a plan of action. Thus is born a Halloween Talent Show, directed by teacher Miss Raven (Hannah Duffy) with the full support of the principal Mr. Crow (Jeremy Ajdukiewicz). The only objector to the fundraiser is Miss Cassowary (Valerie Solli), who has a witch’s hat full of reasons why she wants the school closed.

Bert Bernardi directs this fun and talented show where the good guys win all the jelly beans and peanut butter cups. For tickets ($25), go online to Pantochino Productions, 40 Railroad Avenue, Milford at Shows are Sundays, October 23 and 30 at 2 p.m. Masks are optional.

To keep up the creepy atmosphere, “The Rocky Horror Show” is also on the bill until Sunday, October 30. This classic spook show with book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien features a haunted castle owned by Dr. Frank “N” Furter (Jimmy Johansmeyer) that is visited one dark and stormy night by a young couple Brad (Dan Frye) and Janet (Skye Gillespie). Strange things keep happening in this cult favorite and is a fixture for Halloween. For tickets ($30), go online at Shows are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. until the 30th of October. Masks are optional.

Put the spook back into Halloween where it belongs and visit Pantochino Productions for a hearty dose of witchy magic. Then don your Santa cap for “Christmas Carol-A Panto!” from December 2-18 for a welcome cup of holiday cheer for the whole family to enjoy.