Thursday, August 25, 2011

Find a Community Theater in Your Area!

Community Theater from Wikipedia: Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community. It may refer to theatre that is made entirely by a community with no outside help, or to a collaboration between community members and professional theatre artists, or to performance made entirely by professionals that is addressed to a particular community.

Community theatres range in size from small groups led by single individuals that perform in borrowed spaces to large permanent companies with well-equipped facilities of their own.

My daughter's family has gotten involved in a wonderful community theater in their hometown of Moorefield, WV. The actual town is only 1.6 square miles and has a population of 4820 people. It is roughly 2 hours west of Washington, DC. But what a powerhouse of talent! Led by Keith Miller, Susan Garrett, Thad Garrett, and/or Betty Stickley, the productions they put on at McCoy's Grand Theater ( are superb! Check out the Marquee tab to see some pictures of previous performances.

Our first experience seeing a production at McCoys was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in 2008. It was also the first production our daughter, son-in-law and grandaughter were in. Fabulous - and none of the three had any theater experience before. And how the family has grown into their various roles. They have been involved in Beauty and the Beast, Harvey (our son-in-law Derek Barr reprised Jimmy Stewart's role), The Sound of Music (Kirsten played Sister Berta & floored us when she was the first one on stage and came out singing a solo in Latin). Our granddaughter Allison was one of the Von Trappe children and was fabulous. Other highlights were How to Succeed in Business, Death & Taxes, Tom Sawyer (Allison played Amy Lawrence), and most recently Seussical the Musical. And I'm sure once Elliott is old enough, he will be joining this wonderful group.

Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea, the theater certainly does not revolve around my daughter's family. There are so many talented people that put these productions together. Lauren Gresham is multi-talented - she has played a girl, a boy, has a fabulous voice, and when I saw a rehearsal for Seussical, not only knew her lines, but the lines of the characters she interacted with. And I believe she is 11! Heather Thorne sang the lead in Sound of Music and others and is fabulous. There are so many talented people in this troope - my husband always says the actors of Hollywood have nothing over these people in talent - and I am sure that is true in community theaters throughout the country.

I urge you to search out and support your own local community theater. Your attendance is invaluable - ticket sales help pay for licensing & musical fees. Plus there is the expense of costumes, electricity, in some cases renting a hall, and the list goes on. There is also a need for people to help with props, constructing sets, making/altering costumes, and more. And who knows, the acting bug may hit you like it has for Kirsten, Derek and Allison Barr in Moorefield, WV. In any case, you will have a great night of entertainment!

FYI, McCoy's next production is 'An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe' the end of October. If you are in the region, I urge you to check it out!