Town and Country PlayersThe Limelight

November 2000

In this issue . . .

  • Next season's shows

  • Board of Directors 2001

  • Message from the President

  • T & C Members in Nutcracker

  • News from the Board

  • TheaterLinx

  • Executive producer announces next seasonís shows
    Executive producer Pat Ellis recently announced the schedule for next season. Voted on by the membership, the shows include a hit by "Americaís funniest playwright," Neil Simon (Lost in Yonkers), as well as one by Sir Alan Ayckbourn, commonly known as "the British Neil Simon." Ayckbournís show, Communicating Doors, has been described as "a cross between Psycho and Back to the Future," and "a madcap romp through time, with equal parts chills and laughs." (

    Here are next seasonís shows, dates, audition dates, and directors.

    Lost in Yonkers
    Auditions: March 10 and 11
    Location: To be announced
    Show dates: April 27 and 28, May 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12
    Director: C. Jameson Bradley

    Auditions: March 17 and 18
    Location: To be announced
    Show dates: June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, and 16
    Director: Keith Soester

    Social Security
    Auditions: May 19 and 20
    Location: Clubroom at the barn
    Show dates: July 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 20, and 21
    Director: Jim Kirkwood

    Mary, Mary
    Auditions: June 23 and 24
    Location: Clubroom at the barn
    Show dates: August 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 24, and 25
    Director: Norm Berger

    Communicating Doors
    Auditions: July 28 and 29
    Location: Clubroom at the barn
    Show dates: September 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 28, and 29
    Director: Mike Russo

    Board of Directors for 2001 Announced
    T & C president Jim Kirkwood announced the groupís new Board of Directors for 2001. The table below lists each office and the member holding that office for the coming year.




    Jim Kirkwood

    Executive VP

    Norm Berger


    David Keller

    Executive Producer

    Pat Ellis


    Jean Laustsen

    Building and Grounds

    Joe Spadafora Jr.

    Childrenís Producer

    Phyllis Ecklemeyer


    Debra Miscio and Sherrill Rittenmeyer


    Scott Connard


    Lynne Anne Donchez and Anne Schmitt


    Patti Antrim


    Mike Russo

    Message from the President
    By Jim Kirkwood

    The 2000 season was both tumultuous and an amazing success. First, all of the productions were outstanding. From the sexy Guys and Dolls to the touching On Golden Pond to the one-acts and childrenís theater, we put on some wonderful shows, and I thank everyone involved in any way with any of those fine productions.

    Second, we completed every building improvement we aimed to complete, and we paid for them all too! Our barn is stronger, more attractive, and more comfortable to work in, thanks to a huge fundraising effort and the work of many, many key members. Great job!

    Third, there was an orderly transition from the previous board to the new one, and I, for one, appreciate it.

    Last, Town & Country is well positioned to continue to be the best community theatre in Bucks County!

    So, what are the issues facing us in 2001? The first is financial. Our operating funds are low, a cause for concern as we plan fiscal operations for the coming year. A major note of praise, however, goes to our treasurer, David Keller, for securing substantial funding from outside sources. Keep it coming, David!

    In light of our current financial state, producers and directors should keep in mind that production budgets must be rigorously adhered to and conservatively administered. There is no room for expenditures other than direct production costs.

    The second issue is a long-term one with no easy solution ó morale. As in any creative organization, we have a "people problem." We donít have enough people involved in the day-to-day operations of the club to make T & C the continuously thriving community theater it deserves to be. As a result, too few end up doing the work of what should be too many.

    Although we have a surplus of fine volunteer actors and directors, we are woefully short on volunteer technical staff, such as stage managers, lighting and sound designers and technicians, costume designers and costume makers, make-up artists, hair stylists, set designers and constructors, and, most especially, people to carry out administrative functions and special projects.

    How can we solve this problem?

    Combination meeting
    I have suggested to the Board, and herewith submit for consideration of the membership, that from April through September, T & C holds a combined Board and general membership meeting. This meeting would take place on the first Friday of every month (show dates excluded) and would consist of a series of meetings that culminate in a social event.

    In my plan, the Board would meet from 7 PM to 8 PM. The general membership would then meet from 8 to 9, after which we would hold what I call a showcase from 9 to 9:30. Actors could perform monologues, dialogues, or ensemble pieces. Aspiring directors could present short one-act plays. Technicians could teach members about lighting strategies or how sounds are chosen for a show.

    Immediately after the showcase, we would hold a social event lasting until 11. Management of this BYOB happy hour would fall to our enormously capable hospitality staff. Members would be encouraged to bring non-members, who would gain entry for a donation of $5 per person.

    I think a combination meeting like this could bring us closer to solving our morale problem. It would also supply additional revenue for the organization. We need to provide a social environment enticing enough to attract new members and thereby increase membership. Continuing to grow the membership is a core goal and, I believe, a key factor in the future of Town & Country.

    Feedback needed
    I would very much like to hear your opinions about this proposal. Please e-mail me at to express your opinion. If you donít have e-mail, feel free to call me Saturday or Sunday mornings between 9 AM and 11 AM at 215-489-6421, or write to me at 161 Trafalgar Road, Doylestown, PA 18901.

    I look forward to hearing from members, patrons, and season ticket holders with ideas about improving Town & Country Players. Who will join me to bring unity and new vitality to our great group?

    T & C members to dance the "Nutcracker"
    Several T & C members are preparing to dance with the sugar plum fairies in an upcoming production of Tchaikovskyís endearing work, The Tale of the Nutcracker. Rosie Hughes (stage manager), Michael Moeller (Herr Drosselmeyer and Mother Ginger), Lynne Anne Donchez costume, hair, and makeup), and Anne Schmitt (technical director), are lending their time and talents to this production of the family classic. Other cast members include Guys and Dolls alumni George Thomson, Jr., and Kim and Dan Weidemoyer.

    The show is being presented by the Horizon Dance Alliance and will be held at Tamanend Middle School on Stuckert Road, Warrington, on November 24 and 25 at 7:30 PM and November 26 at 2 PM. Tickets are $15 and can be ordered by calling 215-957-1323.

    News from the Board
    Hereís a breakdown of the latest news from the T & C Board of Directors.

    Pat Ellis reports that the playreading committee is now forming. Playreading committee members create a list of potential plays for the coming season, read the plays, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of performing each, and present to the Board their recommended slates. The group also provides information to the general membership about each play, often in the form of skits, songs, or readings.

    Pat urges anyone interested in serving on this critical group to contact her as soon as possible. Current committee members include Pat Petit, Ted Nordman, Gerri Flanagan, Jim Palmer, Anne Schmitt, and John and Donna Nicolazzo.

    If you'd like the committee to consider a particular play or musical, please call Pat Ellis at 215-822-0455 or e-mail her at The first meeting is in early December, so get your suggestions in fast!

    Box Office
    Norm Berger seeks volunteers for box-office duty. If interested, please call Norm at 215-822-8372.

    Adult Producer
    Pat Ellis has reported an opportunity for interested parties to participate in workshops at local school drama clubs. If interested, please contact Pat at 215-822-0455.

    If you know of a group that might be interested in taking advantage of the benefit rate for a T & C show, please contact benefits coordinator Jean Laustsen at 215-340-9738 or e-mail her at Benefits are a vital source of revenue for our organization and typically prove financially fruitful for the sponsor as well.

    Building and Grounds
    Joe Spadafora needs volunteers to help shut down the barn following the holiday party. If you can help, please contact Joe at 215-262-5426 or e-mail him at

    Childrenís Producer
    Phyllis Eckelmeyer has announced possible shows for the 2001 Childrenís Theatre productions. She and other coordinators are considering Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Princess and the Pea. Anyone wishing to direct, stage-manage, read plays, sell ads, or participate in any activity for Childrenís Theater is invited to contact Phyllis at 215-794-8913.

    The first show goes up on July 14 and 21. The second show will be performed on October 20 and 27. Show times are 11 AM and 2 PM. Tickets are $5 each for adults and children over 12 months of age.

    Phyllis also reports that for both productions last season, T & C invited children from Christís Home in Warminster to attend dress rehearsals. The coordinators received a pile of thank-you notes from the kids, expressing their gratitude and enjoyment.

    This yearís holiday party will be held on Saturday December 2. Bettelou Constantine is organizing it and will send invitations soon. Everyone will be asked to bring a hot dish or dessert. An at-the-door donation of $5 will help the club offset party costs. Door prizes will be awarded. Bring your family and friends!

    Treasurer Scott Connard is collecting dues for the 2001 fiscal year. Please send dues immediately. Dues are $25 per person.

    Along with your check, please also include your e-mail address, if you donít mind sharing it. The Board would like to distribute The Limelight electronically to save postage costs but it needs e-mail addresses to do it. In addition, having e-mail addresses will help the Board communicate with the membership faster and more efficiently.

    Dues should be sent to Scott Connard at 4800 Mountaintop Road West, New Hope, PA 18938.

    Anne Schmitt is coordinating all T & C mailing lists. Please e-mail address changes to Anne at or mail them to her at 4970 Melissa Court, Doylestown, PA 18901.

    Mike Russo is planning entertainment events for the upcoming holiday party, and he is asking for your help. If you would like to showcase your talent or otherwise participate in this fun activity, please call Mike at 215-230-7306.

    Other news
    The Board recently passed an exemption for a member to excuse her from parking and ushering duties due to an illness. If you have an illness or physical disability that would preclude you from carrying out these membership functions, please contact Jim Kirkwood.

    Producers Needed!
    Executive producer Pat Ellis is looking for two producers for next seasonís shows. The producer manages the showís budget, coordinates rehearsal schedules, and performs other key functions. This important position offers members the opportunity to provide critical support for the actors and crew. In addition, it looks great on a resume! Please call Pat at 215-822-0455 if you would like to be considered.

    TheaterLinx, a slick theater resource with lots of news from the NY theater scene

    www.theatredb.comInternet Theater Database, a searchable archive of past, present, and future theatrical offerings, including shows from Broadway and Londonís West End

    www.rareplays.comPlaywrights on the Web, an international database of playwrights and their websites, offering directors, producers, and publishers a way to discover new plays and fresh talent

    Editorial Board
    Editor: Andy McPhee
    Contributor: Jim Kirkwood

    Last updated 11/14/00