Town and Country PlayersThe Limelight

June-July 2001

In this issue . . .

  • Byers Bash

  • Children Theater auditions

  • Memorial Day Parade

  • Mo' Benefits, Mo' Benefits, Mo' Benefits

  • In Memoriam: Pat Appino

  • Guest Editorial

  • Spring Cleanup

  • Membership Meetings

  • News Shorts

  • Theater Creatures

  • Annual Award Vote

  • TheaterLinx

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    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!"

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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."



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    Guest editorial

    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

    To respond to this editorial, contact the editor.

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    Spring Cleanup Hailed as a Success

    The barn was dusted off, scrubbed down, and shined. Thank you to all those who helped get the barn ready for the upcoming season and managed to make it fun too! They include Sherrill Rittenmeyer, Joe Spadafora, Debra Miscio, Patti Antrim, Dave Sharper, Rosie Hughes, Val Sharper, Susan Abramson, Gerry Flanagan, Phyllis Eckelmeyer, Dave Keller, Anne Schmitt, and Lynne Anne Donchez. Great job!

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    General Membership Meetings

    Here are the dates for general membership meetings this season. All meetings start at 7:30 PM and are held in the club room at the Barn. The remaining meeting dates are:

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    News Shorts

    Memorabilia Wanted

    Lynne Anne Donchez is looking for photos, programs, or other memorabilia from the last three years’ of T & C shows. If you have such memorabilia and would like to donate or loan them to Lynne Anne, please contact her.

    Member Goes for the Glory (Board)

    Donna Nicolazzo has generously volunteered to take on glory board duties for the entire season. You can see her latest handiwork in the lobby for Baby. Thank you, Donna!

    Packer to Pack ’Em In

    Alan Packer, last seen at T & C in Much Ado About Nothing, is playing the male lead in the adult comedy Bermuda Avenue Triangle at Playcrafters Theater in Skippack, Pennsylvania. The show opens August 9. For more information, call Alan at 215-233-0305.

    Lost in Yonkers Wins at the Gate

    Lost in Yonkers, this season’s opening show, directed by C. Jameson Bradley, netted a profit of $5,689.50. Way to go!

    Social Security Pays Off Big

    Social Security, the current (as of July 15, 2001) show, has been raking in audiences every night. With several sellouts, this show is proving a real winner. Congratulations, everyone!

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    Theater Creatures

    Reprinted from Community Theater, Home of Professional Amateurs, 2001

    Here are three salient types from the world of community theater. Recognize anybody?

    The Wanderer

    The actor or actress with a bad case of impaired spatial relation-ship syndrome. Yes, the usually minor character you block upstage-right to get them out of the way and who somehow still manages to wind up center stage at the denouement. These folks can cause more traffic jams than a six-car pile-up in downtown Manhattan.

    The Voice of Experience

    When an actor or actress begins most sentences with, "In my high school drama class we...", your show has been infested with the Voice of Experience. These "pearls of wisdom" will be blithely dropped into the brief interval between one director’s note and the next. Unfortunately, most state game commissions still ban the hunting of these creatures, despite their overpopulation problems.

    The Fallen Star

    This is a sub-species of the "We did it better at..." listed above. Prone to name-dropping and statements that end with, "Of course, we got paid there," this creature is always on the verge of finding a "new" agent and flitting off to New York or L.A. Most often, the closest this type has ever come to Broadway is balcony seats at the road show of Les Miz. Unfortunately, paying their fare to New York or L.A. is not only prohibitively expensive for a small theater group, this species also has at least a dozen reasons why "now is a bad time."

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    Make Your Vote Count for Annual Award

    Nominations for the Annual Awards were taken at the general membership meeting on April 20. Each year, three awards are presented to members who have shown outstanding dedication to the group the previous season.

    The Service Award is given to the member who has gone the most above and beyond the call. The Rafters Award is given for excellence in technical or backstage work. The Special Award is a once-in-a-lifetime award given for stellar achievement and dedication to the group and its mission. Past Special Award recipients include Pat Appino (1999), Frank McCrea (1987), Michael Moeller (1980), Mickey (1990) and Marion (1984) Kolman, and many others.

    Print the nomination form below to vote for the member you believe should receive each award.

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    Childrens Theater Plays, for children, young audiences and families; theatre producers, directors, drama coaches and teachers will find quality scripts for productions of every size, scope and budget

    English Actors at the Turn of the Century, color renderings of actors, in costume, for specific English plays

    Theatercrafts glossary, billed as "the biggest theatre glossary on the web, now in its fifth year"

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    Andy McPhee