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Sounds for a Spooky Season

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 8:35 am

NEW YORK CITY — James Donegan has been working the center stage for most of his life.

And recently his work has expanded from the stage to a CD.

Jennifer Winegardener wrote a musical revue called “Halloween Hullabaloo” and asked Donegan, the former Seguin resident, to take part in the recording of the songs.

“He and I met in a class and he was just so talented I had to have him on the CD,” she said. “‘Halloween Hullabaloo’ is a musical revue about Halloween and it features songs and scenes that I wrote. The off-Broadway show premiered in 2010 and I wanted to release a CD of all of the songs.”

The play is full of comedic sketches for a more mature audience, Winegardener said.

“Halloween is so much a holiday for kids and although this is not dirty, it looks at Halloween from an adult’s point of view,” she said.

“There is a song that I wrote called ‘Scary Monster,’ who is scared to come out from under the bed because the world is so scary. There is a pumpkin who sings a song because she is angry that nobody cares about pumpkins, and all they do is cut them up, leave them on the porch and rot.”

Donegan said the show brings a different level of entertainment value.

“It is very funny, fun Halloween-themed music written in musical theater cabaret style,” he said. “It is very fun, very clever, kind of ridiculous. Every song is a little different. It is not one musical, it is a series of stories almost like sketch comedy with songs.”

Donegan said he took part in recording seven of the 13 songs and is featured in about two or three.

“I sing one short, but sweet love song but then I end up eating her eyes. It is very weird, but in a fun way,” he said. “There is a song that three of us sing called ‘I don’t understand.’ The first woman is the witch from ‘Hansel and Gretel’ singing about how misunderstood she is. The second woman is the wicked witch from the ‘Wizard of OZ’ singing nobody understands me and I don’t understand what’s so wrong that I did, then I come out as the evil queen of ‘Snow White.’ It is very silly fun.”

Winegardener said the idea for the show developed after noticing a trend.

“My husband and I sit on our porch sometimes, in costume and no kids come trick or treating anymore,” she said. “So, we started to think, what can we do on Halloween? I originally developed this show using other people’s songs and did it as a benefit for charities. As it moved further and further along, I kept writing my own songs and replacing them, then writing a scene until eventually it was all my stuff.”

Once the play was completely her own, Winegardener wanted to put it out there for the world to see.

“It is finally finished, it has been a work in progress for a long time,” she said. “It’s like a cast album with all original music. The show is going to be performed in New York City this fall. It is also being done in Colorado, Los Angeles, and Pennsylvania. I am hoping it will be ‘THE’ Halloween show.”

Donegan is a 1991 graduate of Seguin High School. He studied at Trinity University in San Antonio before moving to Atlanta for college, but he can still trace back his on-stage debuts to his hometown.

“Like so many people — my family is members with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church — I started singing in church solos and in youth choir, doing shows in school and community theater,” he said. “In college, I was on the board of the Juan Seguin Arts Center. I was very involved.”

The “Halloween Hullabaloo” album became available for purchase on iTunes for $9.99 or through cdbaby.com  — $9.99 for MP3 or $12.99 for an actual CD.

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