In this issue . . .
T & C Plays Host at Huge Byers’ Choice Bash
Byers’ Choice, a handcrafted-gift company in Chalfont known for producing the famous Byers’ Carolers, asked T & C to serve as host for a two-day open house for its patrons. The company had mailed 250,000 invitations to patrons from around the country. Although a thousand or so people were expected to attend, a whopping 5,000 people from 41 states showed up.
Club members Mickey Kolman, Scott Connard, Jean Laustsen, Kevin Donaghy, Pat Ellis, Pat Pettit, Rosie Hughes, Lynne Anne Donchez, Jim Palmer, Mike Russo, Sue Abramson, Norm Berger and his wife Patti, Patti Antrim, Jim Kirkwood, Laura Achilles, and Phyllis Eckelmeyer dressed in period costumes and served as hosts for the soiree. Many of the members and patrons were treated to tours of the factory and watched in fascination as the dolls were built. From its coat hanger skeleton to its hand-painted face, the Byers’ Choice collectibles are revered by people around the world.
"I was blown away by the whole event," said Scott Connard, membership chair.
Scott says the company’s owners, Bob and Joyce Byers, have given generously to T & C over the years, helping the club purchase its air conditioners and renovate the barn.
Says Phyllis Eckelmeyer, "It was a pleasure to have an opportunity to thank the Byers’ for their support and to have so much fun at the same time!"
Auditions Coming for Children and Family Theater
Anne Schmitt has announced that auditions for this year’s Children and Family Theater production, "Alice in Wonder," will be held at 7:30 PM on June 25 and 26 at the barn. Anne is looking for six males and six females, ages 10 through 80.
If you’ve never performed in a children’s show before, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. They have great, glorious good fun, and the shows, which typically sell out, are unanimously praised for their spirit and quality.
T & C’s 52nd Year at Memorial Day Parade
A group of T & C volunteers dressed in costumes and joined the 2001 Doylestown Memorial Day Parade, the 52nd time the club has been represented in the annual event. Thank you, one and all, for your participation!
Mo’ Benefits, Mo’ Benefits, Mo’ Benefits
Jean Laustsen, benefits coordinator, says a number of benefits slots remain open for the remaining shows. She encourages all members to contact business or local groups (for-profit or non-profit) to see whether they might want to "book the barn for a benefit."
Any group or individual may book a benefit at a cost of $500 for a nonmusical or $650 for a musical. For instance, a group may decide to "buy" a performance of a comedy for $500. If they sell tickets to their members at T & C’s regular admission price, they would need to sell just 42 tickets to break even.
Many groups have used benefits as a revenue-builder but they have other uses as well. For instance, Jean points out that some groups have booked benefits and given the seats to their employees or clients as a thank-you gift. "It’s a fun night out for your supporters," says Jean, "and makes money for the group too."
Please contact Jean for more information about benefits.
In Memoriam — Pat Appino
We recently lost an enormously talented actor and director, and most of all, a dear friend. Pat Appino died May 22 after a long illness. We asked Pat Ellis to share a few memories of our beloved friend.
"I doubt whether anyone who has been a member of Town and Country Players during the last 25 years hasn’t been touched in some way by Pat. She was devoted to the club and generously gave of her talents on and offstage. She served on the Board of Directors, chaired her ‘pet’ Renovation Committee, directed adult and children’s theater, and on and on.
"She was practical in her approach to projects but also had a wonderful flair for doing something different. For instance, she once directed the one-act play The Insanity of Mary Girard. She did it as a way to get back into the swing of things about 7 years ago, after having been abroad in Switzerland for the previous 5 years. She hadn’t lost a step. I consider myself lucky to have been cast in that wonderful show.
"I also enjoyed a close friendship with her. We enjoyed lunch together with the rest of our Portable Players friends. We went to movies and attended many theater productions around the region.
"Some of us have known for some time that we would have to let her go. We just didn’t know it would hurt so much."
Dear T & C members,
You shoulda been there.
We had our second general meeting of the season recently, and it was not what you’d expect. Oh, sure, there was the usual business items to take care of — the successes of Lost In Yonkers to be praised, the hopes for Baby, and the never ending battle to get parkers in the lot. There was talk about the party at the end of the season, participating at Byers’ Choice, and the glances into the future for things we can do next season to be even better than we are.
But you shoulda been there.
Why? Well, for one thing, we missed you. We missed your face, your voice, your outlook, your input. Abbie Hoffman once said that democracy is a messy process and that you’ve gotta want to get your hands dirty. For years, I saw that as a bad thing but if you remember back to when we we’re kids, some of the best times that we’re had involved messes. Playing football in the mud. Gunk projects at school or camp. Food fights. Water-balloon wars. Things that disrupted the norm of our lives and made us smile. Last night, we laughed in the mess. We laughed every time Scott Connard said "53!" when the talk turned to membership. We laughed at serious things, we laughed at silly things. Mostly, we laughed, rolled around in the mud metaphorically, and reveled in each other’s company. It would’ve been even more fun if we had more cooks to help us make the mud pies.
For another, you missed a smashing night of entertainment. This was the first time we had performers for our end-of-the-night entertainment slot, and we came up big. Pat Ellis and Frank McCrae did a scene called "I’m Herbert" from I Can’t Hear You When The Water’s Running, that had a receptive audience in stitches. Pat and Frank were wonderful and we were all in tears from the humor. Absolutely amazing. Oh, and I read a Thurber short story that was politely received, too.
You shoulda been there.
Well, here’s your chance to make up for it. At June’s general membership meeting, Donna Nicolazzo mounts a one-act play in our entertainment slot, and she needs an audience. Lynne Anne Donchez has sent invites to the membership. I hope you’ll circle the date on your calendar to remind you that T & C is doing something special that night.
And if you feel the need to perform for us in future meetings, just let me know and we’ll pencil you in. It can be anything you wanna do, I don’t care. Mostly I hope to just see you there. For your insight, for your input, for your talent, and to roll around in the mud with you for a little while.
You should be there.
— Mike Russo
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