Daniel Kringer's parents, Mickey and Janet, ran the Skaneateles Summer Theatre for about 20 years. He got his start in the group in eighth grade, performing as a crow in "The Wizard of Oz," and continued to participate as cast and crew. So after Daniel's parents stepped away from the group a few years ago, leading to it going on hiatus, he gladly stepped in to bring it back.
"It's always been a big part of my life," he said. "It's cool to have a more central role this time."
Kringer, now 25, will direct Skaneateles Summer Theatre's first show in three years Saturday, a concert version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel," at First Presbyterian Church in the village.
While the show won't be a full theatrical production, Kringer said, its 30 singers won't be standing motionless at sheet music stands, either. There will be some scene work, but audiences will have clear views of the performers, who will be able to focus on projecting the iconic songwriting pair's music while accompanied by an orchestra of 15. The 1945 show follows the romance of carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Matthew Payne) and mill worker Julie Jordan (Madelyn Sprout), and the tragic and inspiring turns it takes, with a soundtrack that includes "If I Loved You," "Soliloquy" and more.
Kringer said the show was set in motion after he and music director Mike Clark organized a Skaneateles alumni concert at the church in December. Wanting a way to stage another show, they looked to the Skaneateles Summer Theatre, which last performed "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at Waterman Elementary School in August 2016. The group still had infrastructure and funds, Kringer said, making it helpful. So they revived it for the show. After first selecting "South Pacific," then realizing the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival will present that in August, he and Clark switched to "Carousel."
"The music is gorgeous, the story is somewhat complex, and it's not done as often as other Rodgers and Hammerstein (musicals)," Kringer said.
But it's too soon to say whether the Skaneateles Summer Theatre is back for good. Kringer, who's been teaching music at East Syracuse-Minoa the last few years, will move to London in August to begin a two-year master's degree program in opera at the Royal Academy of Music. And the group's future also depends on how well its return Saturday is received, Kringer added.
"The stars really aligned for this production," he said. "We had a really great time working on this show."