Auditions for The Hostage at Church Hill Theatre

The Hostage, by Brendan Behan, set in a bawdy boarding house in mid-20th century Dublin is coming to the Church Hill Theatre stage. A refuge where one-time Irish revolutionaries relive past glories and air grievances, the “house” becomes the logical setting for the unfolding of an IRA plot to exchange a callow British conscript – the Hostage – for an IRA youth sentence to be hanged in a Belfast jail. The IRA’s plot and the lives of the denizens in the “house” force everyone to struggle with their value systems, from morality and religion to honor and loyalty as they collide with life, love and hate. Production dates at CHT are November 2 through 18, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8, Sundays at 2.

The Hostage has excellent roles for men and women, bringing to life the traditions of “the common man/woman” in British theater from Shakespeare to Pinter. Behan lays bare the joy, sorrow and undeniable humor that are at the core of life’s deepest values.

Auditions on the Church Hill Theatre main stage will be held on:
– Thursday, July 26 at 6:00 pm
– Saturday, July 28 at 11:00 am
– Tuesday, July 31 at 6:00 pm

Directed by Pat Patterson, those who audition will be asked to participate in “cold” readings from the script. Although The Hostage is not a musical, auditioners may be asked to sing a verse of song of their choosing, such as “Danny Boy” or “When the Saints go Marching In”, without accompaniment. On-stage experience is not essential to be part of The Hostage!

Characters break down as follows (ages refer to the age that the actor can portray):
Pat: (male 50s & up) Gregarious ex-IRA fighter; now the manager of the boarding house
Meg: (female 30s-50s) Runs the house. She & Pat have been “almost married” many years
Monsewer: (male 60s-70s) Dotty owner of the house. Plays the bagpipes! Raised “British” but switched to the IRA “cause”in 1917, Speaks a bit of Gaelic
Teresa: (female 18-early 20s) a country girl, housemaid, cares for the Hostage
Leslie: (male 18-20s) a young, cockney British soldier – the Hostage
Mr. Mulleady: (male 30s-up) a seedy but proper (sometimes) boarder
Miss Gilchrist: (female 30s-up) Mulleady’s “social worker” friend
Coletteand Ropeen: (female, one young and one older) prostitutes
Rio Rita and Princess Grace: (male any age) “male tarts”
An IRA Officer/extremist (any gender; 20s – up)
The Pianist: (any age) accompanies the singing and dancing and sometimes more
Others: Several roles for individuals (any age/gender) to play roles as house residents, IRA fighters, British military etc.

Contact the Church Hill Theatre office at 410-556-6003 or reach out directly to Pat Patterson at 571-215-7973 or cpatter983@aol.com with any questions.

Green Room Gang to Perform at Church Hill Theatre

The sounds of singing and dancing are filling the Church Hill Theatre as talented local youngsters rehearse for their productions of Winnie the Pooh, Kids and Shrek the Musical, Jr. that they will perform on Thursday, July 19 through Saturday, July 21. For the past nineteen years, Green Room Gang campers have honed their acting, singing and dancing skills to produce fully staged musical productions. Winnie the Pooh, Kids is adapted for children from the classic book by A. A. Milne and Disney Film. Shrek the Musical, Jr. is based on the book by William Steig, the 2001 film and the Broadway musical featuring Sutton Foster, which tells the tale about an ogre who finds happiness.

Photo: Members of the cast of Shrek the Musical, Jr. From left to right, they are Eamon Murphy as Farquaad, Abby Reynolds as Fiona, Caleb Ford as Shrek, and Lindsey Jones as Donkey. Photo by Steve Atkinson.

Becca Van Aken directs younger performers in Winnie the Pooh, Kids and Kyle Lindenberger directs the middle and high students in Shrek the Musical, Jr. Interns Mark Christie and Iz Clemens ably assist both directors in all aspects of the classes and rehearsals.  Production staff includes Tom Rhodes, Carmen Grasso for set construction, Tina Johnson and Erma Johnson who are creating the costumes, with Nic Carter and Kat Melton working on lighting.  Volunteer interns are Courtney Adams, Sydney Christian, Olivia Giuliano, Jesse Goodman, Lynsey Hildebrand, Christina Lewis, Maya McGrory, Elliott Morotti and Jen Johnson.  Ginger Ellis is stage manager for the Jr. group and Lynsey Hildebrand does the same duty for the Sr. group.  Shelagh Grasso and Sylvia Maloney serve as producers and mentors.  Many parents and other volunteers helped with costumes, sets, and props, making this annual show a real community effort.

Performances will be on the evenings of Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 at 7 pm and on Saturday, July 21 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and  $5 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (410) 556-6003.

Last Chance to See Pippin at Church Hill Theatre

The Church Hill Theatre’s production of Pippin continues the international crowd-pleasing reputation of this fantastic musical.  With music by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Roger O. Hirson, the CHT revival, directed by Sylvia Maloney is not to be missed!  The talented cast, Musical Director Ray Remesch, and Choreographer Cavin Moore present a production that is wowing audiences and has garnered praise from Peter Heck in his recent review.

The Leading Player (Mackenzie Campbell) holds aloft the Crown of Charlemagne whilst Pippin (Mark Wiening, left) and a guard (Max Brennan) look on.

Both Pippin and his father, Charlemagne, are historic figures from the early Middle Ages. In the fictional plot, with the help of a troupe of minstrel players, Pippin embarks on a quest to find life’s purpose. The “outstanding” Mackenzie Campbell portrays the Leading Player, head of the mysterious troupe. Mark Wiening plays Pippin and Bob Chauncey is Charlemagne.  Heck noted Wiening’s “strong voice and solid acting chops” along with Chauncey’s ability to “bring out [his] character’s comic side”.  Becca Van Aken “gives her character a solid reality” playing Pippin’s love interest, Catherine, with Debra Ebersole, “a highlight of the first act” playing his grandmother, Berthe. Bryce Sullivan plays Pippin’s half-brother Lewis, Lori Armstrong is “deliciously wicked” as Pippin’s stepmother Fastrada, with Cullen Williams plays Catherine’s son, Theo.

The “energy of the production gets a definite boost” from the ensemble. Comprised of many young people from the area, they are the performance troupe that take on all other characters; they are Delaney McCreary, Grace McCreary, Maya McGrory, Ellie Merton, Katie Staley, Erin Tomassoni, Quenton Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, John Crook, Elliott Morotti, and Cody Turner.

L-R: Bryce Sullivan, Cody Turner, Delaney McCreary, Erin Tomassoni, Quentin Bergenholtz, Katie Staley, Mackenzie Campbell, Mark Wiening (behind), Maya McGrory, Cullen Williams, John Crook, Ellie Merton, Grace McCreary, Elliott Morotti.

Live music is a key part of CHT musicals. Ray Remesch, who conducts from the piano (and sometimes with a guitar), leads a talented orchestra. Peter Cailloux plays the French horn, Susan Dabney and Jane Godfrey are on violins, Ron Demby shares his talent on reeds, David James and Rich Matties take on trumpet and trombone, respectively, while Jordon Stanley handles percussion, with Quinn Parsley on bass.

The production staff and crew provide additional theater magic. Sam Angelini, Steve Atkinson (also the production photographer), and Jim Johnson share duties as Stage Managers. Brian Draper created the Art Set Design and collaborated with Michael Whitehill on set design and execution. Doug Kaufmann helms lighting whilst Tina Johnson, Erma Johnson, and Liz Clarke create the costumes. Christian Graham serves as Magic Consultant

Pippin runs through June 24th, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 pm on Sundays.  Reservations (strongly advised in advance) can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

Auditions for The Sisters Rosensweig at Church Hill Theatre

Shelagh Grasso is set to direct the humorous and insightful play The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein at Church Hill Theatre and seeks actors to bring this admired play to life. The show, originally directed by Daniel Sullivan was produced at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York City, opened in October 1992; it tells a story about the transformative power of love, of sisterhood, and of life. Performances of the CHT production will be September 7 – 23rd.

The Sisters Rosensweig has excellent roles for men and women, with particular focus on the sisters, pushing against the boundaries of their own lives in order to define themselves.Set in 1991, the richly woven dialogue of the three Jewish-American women not only tackles their personal struggles and triumphs, but also makes real several social and political issues that gave shape to the time. Wasserstein raises questions about the fall of the Soviet Union, Reaganomics, and the plight of the homeless with a deft, human and wit-filled play.

Auditions, on the Church Hill Theatre main stage will be held on:
Monday, June 26 at 6:00 pm
Thursday, June 28 at 6:00 pm
Saturday, June 30 at 10:00 am

Characters break down as follows:

Sara Goode: (female 50-60) An elegant and dignified successful international banker living in London

Tess: (female 17-22) Sara’s daughter. Quite the revolutionary

Pfeni: (female 40-45) A journalist and world traveler

Gorgeous: (female 45-55) A radio “doctor” Overdone and definitely “gorgeous”

Geoffrey: (male 45-50) A theatre director. Attractive, contemporary and bisexual.

Mervyn: (male 60ish) a synthetic furrier and friend of Geoffrey

Nicholas: (male 60ish) Very well groomed, influential and British ( must have formal British accent)

Tom: (male 20-25) Tess’s boyfriend. A rough and ready young revolutionist. Needs a Liverpool accent

Actors are asked to prepare a short monologue that shows your ability to develop a character. There will also be readings done from the script.Contact the Church Hill Theatere at 410-556-6003 or office@churchhilltheatre.org with any questions.

Pippin Opens at Church Hill Theatre

Pippin opens on Friday, June 8, at Church Hill Theatre and will run for nine performances, through Sunday, June 24.  Performances are at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. CHT’s June musicals often sell out early, so reservations are strongly recommended.

Sylvia Maloney directs this melodic and enchanting story of love and the meaning of life set in the time of Charlemagne. Pippin, by Stephen Schwartz with book by Roger O. Hirson, opened on Broadway in 1972.  It has been an international crowd-pleasing favorite ever since. In the Church Hill Theatre revival, Ray Remesch is the Musical Director and Cavin Moore is the Choreographer.

From L-R: Bryce Sullivan, Quentin Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, Mackenzie Campbell, Mark Wiening (behind), John Crook, Cody Turner, Elliot Morotti.

Both Pippin and his father, Charlemagne, are historical figures from the early Middle Ages.  In the fictional plot, with the help of troupe of minstrel players, Pippin embarks on a quest to find life’s purpose. Mackenzie Campbell portrays the Leading Player, head of the mysterious troupe.  Mark Wiening plays Pippin and Bob Chauncey is Charlemagne. Becca Van Aken plays Pippin’s love interest, Catherine with Debra Ebersole is his grandmother, Berthe. Bryce Sullivan plays Pippin’s half-brother Lewis, Lori Armstrong is Pippin’s stepmother Fastrada, and Cullen Williams plays Catherine’s son Theo.

The ensemble are the performance troupe and take on all other characters; they are Delaney McCreary, Grace McCreary, Maya McGrory, Ellie Merton, Katie Staley, Erin Tomassoni, Quenton Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, John Crook, Elliott Morotti, and Cody Turner.

Catherine (Becca Van Aken) and Pippin (Mark Wiening) celebrate their newly discovered love.

Live music is a key part of CHT musicals. Ray Remesch, who conducts from the piano, leads a talented orchestra. Peter Cailloux plays the French horn, Susan Dabney and Jane Godfrey are on violins, Ron Demby shares his talent on reeds, David James and Rich Matties take on trumpet and trombone, respectively, while Jordon Stanley handles percussion, with Quinn Parsley on bass. Songs from Pippin, one of the first Broadway shows to incorporate rock music, were recorded and made famous by Michael Jackson, the Supremes, Dusty Springfield, and Petula Clark.

The production staff and crew provide additional theater magic. Sam Angelini, Steve Atkinson (also the production photographer), and Jim Johnson share duties as Stage Managers. Brian Draper created the Art Set Design and collaborated with Michael Whitehill on set design and execution. Doug Kaufmann helms lighting whilst Tina Johnson, Erma Johnson, and Liz Clarke create the costumes. Christian Graham serves as Magic Consultant

Reservations (strongly advised well in advance) can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

“Pippin” Coming to Church Hill Theatre

With a magical story and glorious music, audiences are entranced as Pippin searches for the meaning of life. This multiple Tony Award winner, set in the Age of Chivalry, has been winning hearts since its Broadway debut in 1973. The Church Hill Theatre revival, directed by Sylvia Maloney, will run for nine performances from June 8-24. CHT’s summer musicals are always the highlight of the theatrical season and Pippin will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Ms. Maloney is proud to announce her cast for Pippin. Mackenzie Campbell will portray the Leading Player, the head of a mysterious performance troupe that recounts Prince Pippin’s quest.  Mark Wiening, who has starred in many CHT musicals, will play Pippin.  Bob Chauncy takes the role of Charlemagne, Pippin’s father; Becca Van Aken plays Pippin’s love interest, Catherine; and Debra Ebersole will be his grandmother, Berthe. These three experienced actors will be familiar to CHT regulars. Relative newcomers will portray other family members: Bryce Sullivan will play Pippin’s half-brother Lewis, Lori Armstrong will play his stepmother Fastrada, and Cullen Williams will play Catherine’s son Theo.

Pippin Casting: The Leading Player (Mackenzie Campbell) gloats as Charlemagne (Bob Chauncey) studies his two sons, Louis (Bryce Sullivan) and Pippin (Mark Wiening) as possible heirs to the throne.

The ensemble, portraying the performance troupe and other characters, consists of Delaney McCreary, Grace McCreary, Maya McGrory, Ellie Merton, Katie Staley, Erin Tomassoni, Quenton Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, John Crook, Elliott Morotti, and James Turner.  Ray Remesch is the Musical Director and Cavin Moore is the Choreographer.

Pippin’s music and lyrics were written by Stephen Schwartz, with a book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fossse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed to the libretto. Pippin’s enduring popularity is a result of its superb combination of carefree abandon, serious reflection, ruthless candor, and a tender love story.

Pippin opens on Friday, June 8, and will run through Sunday, June 24, with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for member, and $10 for students. Reservations (strongly advised well in advance) can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

CHT’s Green Room Gang Theatre Camp Opens Registration

Registration for Church Hill Theatre’s 20th consecutive year of the Green Room Gang youth theatre program is officially open! The GRG Program has provided opportunities for young people of the Eastern Shore to experience true live theatre, from auditions to curtain call, for two decades. CHT offers a standing ovation to our entire community for supporting arts education for our children throughout the years. Bravo!

Begun in 1999, this exciting summer program of theatre games and training culminates in two fully staged musicals adapted for young performers. The Green Room Gang Senior Program, for young people entering grades 6 through 12, begins on Monday, June 18th, 2018 and runs Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students will take a magical journey through the world of a play by means of dance, music, improvisation, theatre games, acting, staging and artistic interpretation to conceive a role from start to finish – this year’s show is Shrek the Musical, Jr. Kyle Lindenberger, who served as a Green Room Gang intern for two years and is a graduate of Washington College planning to attend graduate school for education this fall, will be instructing the Senior camp. Full tuition for the five-week GRG Sr. program is $550.00, with a 10% discount for CHT Members.

The participants and instructors of Church Hill Theatre’s 2017 Green Room Gang. Photo by SG Atkinson

Green Room Gang Junior participants, students entering grades 1 through 5, will do theatre games, learn basic acting skills, and explore singing and dancing while they create a musical especially written for young performers — this year’s play is Winnie the Pooh, Kids! GRG Jr. begins on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, and runs Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to Noon. Becca Van Aken returns for her 13th year as GRG Junior instructor. Full tuition for the four-week GRG Jr. program is $330.00, with a 10% discount for CHT Members. Scholarships are available for both Sr. and Jr. camps. Previous GRG Intern Iz Clemens will be assisting both instructors as 2018 Interns.

Final performances for GRG are Thursday and Friday, July 19 and 20 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m.

For more information, call the Church Hill Theatre business office at 410-556-6003, or email us at office@churchhilltheatre.org. The enrollment period runs from April 3rd through June 1st; be sure to fill out your child’s registration forms with haste – GRG is first come, first served and fills up quickly! See you in the theatre!

On Golden Pond Closes April 22 at Church Hill Theatre

On Golden Pond, is a “a production any theater-lover will want to see”, says Peter Heck in his review.  The classic play from Ernest Thompson, brings a glow to the Church Hill Theatre this spring. Bonnie Hill directs this “warm, nostalgic play” that is an exploration of marriage, mortality, and cross-generational relationships.  The play, written by Ernest Thompson, was a critical success on the New York stage and a blockbuster hit in the film adaptation.  Hill has assembled a fine cast of area residents, including both newcomers and experienced actors with credits at CHT and other theaters.

Ethel (Nita Wieczoreck) and Norman (Brian McGunigle) Thayer stand on their porch at Golden Pond trying to spy the first loons of the season.

On Golden Pond is as simple—and complex—as life itself. Norman Thayer, a sharp-witted and tart-tongued professor, along with his intelligent and nurturing wife Ethel, return to their summer home in Maine for the 48th year.  Brian McGunigle takes on the role of Norman, making him “sympathetic” and also bringing out his “biting wit”.  Nita Wieczoreck is “warm and outgoing in the role of Ethel, a good choice for the role” according to Heck.  The couple are soon joined by their daughter, her boyfriend, and his son.  These roles are taken on by Heather Oland as Chelsea Thayer Wayne, Jeff Daly as Bill Ray, and John Crook as Billy Ray, Jr.  Charlie, the local postman and a family friend, is played by Paul Briggs.  Oland’s performance stands out, and although the role is not as central as that of her parents, Heck states that it is a, “strong performance [that] makes the emotional connections [amongst the family] clear”.  John Crook in the role of Billy Ray, a veteran of CHT’s Green Room Gang summer theater camp “captures the young boy’s varying moods…in a solid performance”.

In his review, Peter Heck made particular note of the “appealing” set designed by Earl Lewin, with construction undertaken by Carmen Grasso and Tom Rhodes.  Lighting and sound are designed and operated by Doug Kaufmann and Patrick Fee respectively.  Meg Lenher and Cynthia Fields assembled the props, while Nita Wiezcoreck takes on double duty procuring costumes as well as acting.  Assisting the director is Kathy Jones, Liz Clarke produces, and Steve Atkinson is the stage manager.

On Golden Pond continues at Church Hill Theatre through April 22, with weekend performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members, and $10 for students.  Special pricing is available for groups of ten or more. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

On Golden Pond Opens at Church Hill Theatre

On Golden Pond, the classic play from Ernest Thompson, brings some warmth to the Church Hill Theatre this spring, opening on April 6, and running for three weekends.  Director Bonnie Hill was drawn to this play because of the perceptive and profound explorations of marriage, mortality, and cross-generational relationships.  The play, written by Ernest Thompson, was a critical success on the New York stage and a blockbuster hit in the film adaptation.  Hill has assembled a fine cast of area residents, including both newcomers and experienced actors with credits at CHT and other theaters. Hill herself, a proud graduate of Washington College’s drama department, is a veteran Church Hill Theatre director who most recently directed Wait Until Dark at CHT and A Delicate Balance and Sylvia at the Garfield.

Norman Thayer (Brian McGunigle) and his wife Ethel (Nita Wieczoreck) share a tender moment in the Church Hill Theatre production of On Golden Pond.

On Golden Pond is as simple—and complex—as life itself. Norman Thayer, a sharp-witted and tart-tongued professor, along with his intelligent and nurturing wife Ethel, return to their summer home in Maine for the 48th year.  The couple is deftly portrayed by Brian McGunigle and Nita Wieczoreck; McGunigle is an experienced actor on the shore, and makes his CHT debut with this role, Wiezcoreck is familiar to Church Hill audiences with roles in musicals, comedies, and dramas.  Ethel and Norman are soon joined by their daughter, her boyfriend, and his son.  These roles are taken on by Heather Oland as Chelsea Thayer Wayne, Jeff Daly as Bill Ray, and John Crook as Billy Ray, Jr.  Charlie, the local postman and a family friend, is played by Paul Briggs.  Oland, Daly, and Briggs have had roles in numerous shows at Church Hill Theatre and bring great skill to their roles.  John Crook is a young actor who has participated in multiple years of CHT’s Green Room Gang summer camp, and also in a production of local playwright Earl Lewin’s recent staging of a new play.

Hill has assembled a skilled production team to undertake bringing Golden Pond to Church Hill.   Set design is by Earl Lewin, with construction undertaken by Carmen Grasso and Tom Rhodes.  Lighting and sound are designed and operated by Doug Kaufmann and Patrick Fee repectively.  Meg Lenher and Cynthia Fields have done a fine job finding many props, while Nita Wiezcoreck takes on double duty procuring costumes as well as acting.  Assisting the director is Kathy Jones, Liz Clarke produces, and Steve Atkinson is the stage manager.

On Golden Pond opens at Church Hill Theatre on April 6 and runs through April 22, with weekend performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for members, and $10 for students.  Special pricing is available for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, April 6, to those who reserve by phone. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

Church Hill Theatre Announces Audition Dates for Pippin

Auditions for Pippin, the Tony Award-winning musical, will be held at Church Hill Theatre on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm and Monday and Wednesday, March 5 & 7, 2018 at 6:30 pm. Sylvia Maloney will direct this production with Ray Remesch as music director and choreography by Cavin Moore.

This remarkable musical, which is a fictional account of the life of Pippin, son of King Charlemagne, opened on Broadway in October, 1972 with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson.  It was recently revived on Broadway in 2013.

This allegory requires 24 actors to bring it to life. The principal and supporting roles are as follows:
Leading Player: (male or female, age 20’s through 40’s) acts as narrator, leader of the players’ troupe, strong singer, dancer and actor.
Pippin: (male 20’s to 30”s tenor/baritone) strong singer and actor, son of Charlemagne, longing for a purpose in life, naïve and discontent.
Charlemagne (Charles): (male 40’s to 60’s, baritone) King of Holy Roman Empire, warrior, strong, prideful ruler.
Lewis: (male, 20’s to 30’s, baritone) stepbrother to Pippin, proud, egotistical, great physique.
Fastrada: (female, 40’s to late 50’s, soprano) Pippin’s conniving stepmother, mother of Lewis, sexy, smart and deceitful.
Berthe: (female, age 50’s to 70’s, alto) Pippin’s saucy grandmother; brassy, wise, energetic and comedic.
Catherine: (female, age 20’s to 30’s, mezzo soprano) Widow, mother of Theo, lovely, romantic, graceful, Pippin’s love interest.
Theo: (male, age 10 to 15, tenor) young son of Catherine, playful, innocent.
Ensemble: (8 male, 8 female, all ages, all voice ranges) must be able to sing, dance and play a variety of roles throughout the play.

For the vocal audition, please prepare 45 second to 1 minute long excerpts of two (2) contrasting songs to be sung a cappella to demonstrate the range of your voice and the variety of your singing style. Auditioners should be prepared to read from the script and to learn a brief dance routine.  Technicians are also needed and are encouraged to attend auditions.

Pippin performance dates run from Friday, June 8th through Sunday, June 24th, 2018. For more information, call Sylvia Maloney at 410-778-3783 or email ssmaloney@verizon.net.