by Maddy Lanning.
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Middle school drama teacher Mrs. Beatrice Naughton practiced her curtain speech for weeks before delivering it on the opening night of Music Man Jr. at Poughkeepsie Middle School, which clocked in at three hours - one hour and 33 minutes longer than the show itself.
“A lot of people think the curtain speech should be a quick little cute thing. I disagree,” Naughton told us as she pushed a third grader out of the way to do her makeup in the green room mirror. “I am the glue that held this production together. My marriage fell apart during this rehearsal and I thought the audience should know how it’ll impact the show.”
Sixth grader Donny Milton, who played Harold Hill, had a different take on Naughton’s speech.
“The speech was three uninterrupted hours. Our show runs one hour and 27 minutes, with an intermission” Milton said as he polished his Harold Hill briefcase. “My dad had plans right after the show to go to his Fantasy Football League weekly dinner and he was pissed he had to miss it. Also, what's an 'auteur?'”
We caught up with Brian Milton, Donny’s father, to see just how pissed he was.
“Oh I was super pissed. I rented out the upper level of Buffalo Wild Wings for me and the guys, and I’m looking at my watch and realizing this lady has been talking for two hours," noted Mr. Milton between calls to Buffalo Wild Wings to rebook the room. “I was honestly so confused. I thought this was the play and Donny would be coming on at the very end."
Naughton has since cut the curtain speech down to a sensible one hour, claiming the PTA was going to pull their funding for the drama department if she did the three hour version again. However, she did see some additional stage time playing Marcellus Washburn for an evening after a mysterious illness hit the original cast member.