Steel River Playhouse Opens New Season With Tony- and Pulitzer-Winning Contemporary Musical

The popular Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Next to Normal, is the highly anticipated 2012-13 Season opener for Steel River Playhouse (formerly Tri-County Performing Arts Center, or Tri-PAC).

Running for just 6 performances over 2 weekends (September 14th through 23rd), Next to Normal is a compellingly honest story that is by turns comedic and moving. A contemporary rock musical infused with a powerful story line, Next to Normal centers on the Goodmans– Dan, Diana, Gabe and Natalie – a seemingly “normal” family as real and recognizable as our own. Each is trying to take care of themselves and each other, wrestling to hold onto home, joy, commitment and love in the face of strong and subtle forces. The magic
of Next to Normal is how much you care about the characters and their tenacity as they experience each day.

The New York Times called it a “brave,breathtaking musical,” and a “feel-everything musical.” The Washington Post went so far as to say it “defines the modern American musical.” Unlike traditional musicals comprised of discrete sections of dialogue and song, the thrilling musical numbers of Next of Normal are woven seamlessly into the work and carry the plot forward organically. A live orchestra supports the stellar cast of actor-singers, keeping up Steel River Playhouse’s longstanding commitment to high quality musicianship as an essential part of the musical theater experience.

Next to Normal is directed by Kevin Laibson, a New York-based producer and director who has been instrumental in encouraging and enabling artists and playwrights to take risks and keep theater original and powerful. He’s also a teacher (improvisation), actor and musician.

Laibson says Next to Normal is about “…how hard people work to be together.” What makes the play so powerful, Laibson says, is “how much the audience will care about these characters, and how much their struggles will mean to everyone watching.”

The play will be performed in Steel River Playhouse’s intimate Newberry Loft, which will seat less than 100 people for each performance. Laibson believes that this setting will enhance the audience’s identification with the characters’ will to adapt to their lives and each other.

The cast:
Maddie Aicher (Daughter, Natalie Goodman) – Owen J. Roberts School District
Steven Burke (Son, Gabe Goodman) – Upper Merion School District
Drew Carr (Henry) – Spring-Ford Area School District
Greg Kasander (Father, Dan Goodman) – Gulph Mills, Pennyslvania
Denise Webb (Mother, Diana Goodman) – Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Kevin Ray Johnson (Dr. Madden) – Baltimore, Maryland

Next to Normal will be performed on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM September 14, 15, 21 & 22 and Sundays at 3 PM, September 16 & 23 at Steel River Playhouse, 245 East High Street, Pottstown. It is Directed by Kevin Laibson; Music Directed by Deborah Stimson-Snow. Next to Normal music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

In addition, on Sunday, September 16 following the performance audience members can ask questions of the director and cast during our Talkback. Single ticket prices are Adults $19, Seniors (65+) $17 and Students/Children $15. There are two changes in ticketing policy this season; groups of 10 or more get a higher discount – $3 off per ticket. And tickets bought online – www.steelriver.org – are the same price as tickets purchased at the box office.

Steel River Playhouse holds open house this weekend

This comes to us from the effervescent marketeer and harpist Betsy Chapman!

Steel River Playhouse, formerly Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC), is holding an open house this weekend to showcase their educational offerings. Steel River seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Each year, the Steel River Playhouse produces more than 90 performances and hosts more than 10,000 people as audiences, students, artists, donors and volunteers from throughout the region. They offer performance opportunities through open auditions; theater technical training; acting, voice, and instrumental lessons; classes and workshops for all ages; summer camp programs; and educational outreach including scholarships, artists in the classroom, traveling children’s shows, and other initiatives. Steel River is located at 245 E. High Street in the heart of downtown Pottstown. For further information, visit www.steelriver.org, or call 610-970-1199.

 

Classes & Private Lessons

STUDENT OPEN HOUSE & REGISTRATION

Saturday, Sept 8th & Sunday, Sept 9th (11 am – 3 pm)

FREE Trial lessons, mini classes, refreshments, tours, and giveaways!

ALL ages

See our NEW marquee and take a tour!

Saturday, Sept 8th

Sunday, Sept 9th

Free Trial Lessons

Voice, Guitar & Acting

11am to 3pm

Free Trial Lessons

Voice, Guitar, Acting & Piano  

11am to 3pm

Free Mini-Classes

11:30am – Comedy/Improv (Grade 5 – 7)

12N – Acting (Grade 5 – 7)

12:30pm – Comedy/Improv (Grade 8 – Adult)

1pm – Comedy/Improv (Grade K – 4)

1:30pm – Acting (Grade 8 – Adult)

Free Mini-Classes

11:30am – Acting (Grade K – 4)

12N – Acting (Grade K – 4)

12:30pm – Acting (Grade 5 – 7)

1pm – Comedy/Improv (Grade 8 – Adult)

1:30 – Comedy/Improv (Grade 5 – 7)

Classes – Sept 17th thru Nov 18th

 Character in Song, Comedy/Improv, Acting for the Stage

Performance Troupes (Grades 2 – 4, 5 – 7, 8 – 12)

And more!  Financial Aid is Available     

Private Lessons begin September 10th  

Acting, Monologue Coaching, Voice, Piano, Guitar, Flute, and Trumpet

Special Guest Instructor – Ken Kaissar – Private Acting

Wednesdays and Sundays, starting in October

BFA Theatre (Directing), Carnegie Mellon University; MFA Theatre (Playwriting), Columbia University. Ken’s directing work has been seen in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. His work on new plays has been seen at the Culture Project’s Women’s Center Stage Festival and the Philly Fringe Festival. His productions of THE TRUE AUTHOR REVEALED and THE MYSTERIES OF THE MONK OF FALCONARA led to publication of both plays in the BEST PLAYS ANTHOLOGY published by Applause. His play A MODEST SUGGESTION just finished a very successful Off-Broadway run; and CEASEFIRE was an official selection for Fusion Theatre Company’s New Works Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ken teaches playwriting and theatre history at Rider University and Stockton College.

Questions? Email Steve Reazor, Education Director, at steve@steelriver.org or call 610.970.1199.

 

 

One Day Only!

ANN GILLETTE – PRIVATE ON-CAMERA COACHING

Saturday, Oct 6th (10 am – 3 pm by appt)

Specializing in commercial, TV, and film audition and acting techniques

Ann Gillette has created a following as one of the top on-camera acting coaches on the East Coast. She coaches actors on a weekly basis for major television, film and commercial auditions. She is a ‘first call’ of top agents and managers who need their actors to push themselves to a bookable level. Ann has worked in casting and as a producer for the past 16 years, on hundreds of television, film and commercial projects. She began her career with Wickline Casting in Philadelphia in the early ‘90s, where she worked on nationwide talent searches for Spelling Television and NBC Daytime, movies like “The Long Kiss Goodnight” with Geena Davis and Sam Jackson, and “Broadway Brawler” with Bruce Willis, and national commercials for “Best Buy”, “McDonalds” and “Verizon”. After leaving Wickline, she freelanced as a producer and worked on national media pieces for shows like “Hard Copy” and “Access Hollywood”, and produced regional TV shows like “The Fretz Kitchen” and “Scene 8. She has continued her work with many production companies and ad agencies with credits such as commercials for GIANT, Thermador and Lancaster County Tourism.

One-hour private sessions: $75

To register, email Steve Reazor, Education Director, at steve@steelriver.org or call 610.970.1199.

STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE DEBUTS IN POTTSTOWN

Here’s what the Steel River Playhouse – formerly Tri-PAC – has to say about their name change and their continuing mission to educate and to bring together new and established performing artists…

A star reborn?  Not exactly, but Tri-County Performing Arts Center and Village Productions are getting a new name along with the obvious facelift, as anyone can tell by driving by the theater at 245 E. High Street in downtown Pottstown. 

Tri-PAC and Village Productions have become the Steel River Playhouse.  Same address.  Same telephone.  Website: www.steelriverplayhouse.org.  Email format: (First name)@steelriver.org.

The new flowing steel mesh façade, high-tech marquee, and engaging outdoor plaza will be completed in June and the Steel River Playhouse is planning a June 16 community celebration event.

“The name reflects the strength, beauty and vitality of Pottstown and surrounding region,” said Marta Kiesling, executive director of Steel River Playhouse. “Steel made in Pottstown helped build major structures around the world.  Beams iconically stamped ‘Bethlehem Steel’ run through our playhouse.  And, of course, the Schuylkill runs through Pottstown, where we have an annual festival and a National and State Heritage Area that honor its beauty and role in our region.”

Kiesling continued, “The new name and logo mark the passage from our initial years of getting established in Pottstown and the surrounding region.  We moved to Pottstown in 2005 as part of a broad redevelopment effort, and our wonderful theater complex opened in 2008.”

A name and logo are just a beginning.  “Names and logos are just visuals,” says Joshua Lampe, founder and president of StandingStone Media, and the Steel River Playhouse board member leading the re-branding project.  “The real work of brand-building is what the Steel River Playhouse has been working on since before coming to Pottstown – quality performances, creating a place for both emerging local talent and established actors and directors to work together, and education that develops talent, confidence and life skills.”

Kiesling adds, “The new brand and façade reflect the Steel River Playhouse commitment to the community and region.  From the start, regional planners and leaders recognized that a strong performing arts center would contribute to the economic, cultural and social health of Pottstown and the surrounding region.”

Steel River Playhouse, formerly Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC), seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain,through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences.  Each year, the Steel River Playhouse produces more than 90 performances and hosts more than 10,000 people as audiences, students, artists, donors and volunteers from throughout the region. We offer performance opportunities through open auditions; theater technical training; acting, voice, and instrumental lessons; classes and workshops for all ages; summer camp programs; and educational outreach including scholarships, artists in the classroom, traveling children’s shows, and other initiatives. For further information, visit www.steelriverplayhouse.org, or call 610-970-1199.

 

Last performance of FARRAGUT NORTH this afternoon at 3 at Tri-PAC!

There are still some seats left for FARRAGUT NORTH, the political drama now showing at Tri-PAC. Check out a previous Pottstown Post article on the show and get online now to get your ticket! Showtime is at 3 pm!

Tickets for all shows at the Tri-PAC are available online. Please note that seating is now reserved, so go to www.tripac.org to purchase your tickets now or call 610.970.1199.

Village Productions is a dynamic nonprofit performing arts organization that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience. The new Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA is the home of Village Productions. 

Political drama FARRAGUT NORTH comes to Tri-PAC

There’s plenty to do in Pottstown this weekend, but absolutely don’t forget to make room to see the new play opening at Tri-PAC. Farragut North only runs this weekend and next; get your tickets now! Here’s the teaser and details from Tri-PAC…

The political drama Farragut North comes to the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown for two weekends only, April 20-April 29.  Come and watch backroom politics play out during this political season!

It’s January in Des Moines, Iowa, during a tight primary race. Wunderkind Stephen Bellamy is young, aggressive, talented, and tremendously successful as press secretary for Governor Morris in his bid to run for President. Thrown into the scheming backroom politics of more seasoned operatives, Stephen struggles between the lust for power and loyalty to the cause. Named for the Metro Station that is the center of the Washington, D.C. lobbyist district, Farragut North was the major motion picture, THE IDES OF MARCH, starting George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Tri-PAC cast includes Tyler Horn, Steve Reazor, Katherine Leary, Phil Ballantine,  Ken Mumma, Carly Fried, Porter Eidam, and Philip Seader.

 Tickets for all shows at the Tri-PAC are available online. Please note that seating is now reserved, so go to www.tripac.org to purchase your tickets now or call 610.970.1199 to ensure the best seats.  Showtimes are 8:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 3:00 PM on Sunday.   Tickets range from $13 for children 12 and under, $15 for students and seniors (65+), and $17 for adults. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.  When available, tickets will be sold at the door.

Village Productions is a dynamic nonprofit performing arts organization that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience. The new Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA is the home of Village Productions. You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.

Contemporary dance returns to TRI-PAC this weekend!

This news comes from Tri-PAC…

The Mélange Contemporary Dance Company returns to the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown for a weekend of superb music and dance.  On stage for three shows only, April 13th, 14th, and 15th, their performance features new duets, group pieces, and a reprise back by popular demand.

 Giving the show its title of “Past Forward” is the dual theme of change and continuity: The more things change, the more they seem the same.  Not just a dance performance, this is a show about telling stories and exploring relationships, according to Artistic Director Michelle Jones-Wurtz.

The show begins with “Me and Bessie,” a story-dance telling the tale of the lifestyle and hardships of Bessie Smith, a jazz singer during Prohibition.  Her life was a contrast of hardship and success, and by the time she died, she was penniless.  However, her music continued; it has been covered by many musical legends including Nina Simone, Eric Clapton, and Billie Holiday.

The Company then reprises an excerpt from “Survivor”, a piece dedicated to Michelle Jones Wurtz’s mother, a stage 3 breast cancer survivor.  The show includes a variety of pieces, including a work commissioned for the International Dance Festival in Poland in 2011, a movement interpretation of the famous Botticelli painting, “The Birth of Venus”, and even a celebration of the Beatles, a band that changed music forever.  The piece “History Repeating” is a visual study of how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The finale is “Katrina’s Cross”, a look at New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.  This work is choreographed in part to original music by Deborah Stimson- Snow, Artistic Director of the Tri-PAC.

The dancers include Michelle Jones Wurtz, Elrey Belmonti, Dana Blackman, Christa Campbell, Kathleen Kerner, and Jackie Kokolus.  Musical choices range from rock, to blues, to classical and everything in between!  Be prepared for an evening of stories, songs, and inspiring movement as the tales unfold.

Tickets for all shows at the Tri-PAC are available online. Please note that seating is now reserved, so go to www.tripac.org to purchase your tickets now or call 610.970.1199 to ensure the best seats.  Tickets range from $13 for children 12 and under, $15 for students and seniors (65+), and $17 for adults. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.  When available, tickets will be sold at the door.

Village Productions is a dynamic nonprofit performing arts organization that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience. The new Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA is the home of Village Productions. You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.

 

 

FREE faculty music recital this Sunday evening at Tri-PAC

A FACULTY RECITAL AT THE TRI-PAC

If you’re a music lover with eclectic tastes, we know where you should be at 7 PM on Sunday, March 18 – the Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown!  That’s when the teachers who offer private lessons year-round at the Tri-PAC hold their annual Faculty Recital.  It’s a high-quality musical potluck, and admission is FREE (but of course donations are welcome).  Opera, Pop, Classical, Jazz, and instrumentals all are on tap.  Laugh, sigh, clap and be enthralled with the virtuosity!   It’s all in the intimate Newberry Loft setting, so arrive early – there is limited unreserved seating. 

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