Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic now showing at Tri-PAC

Please check out the Tri-PAC‘s press release below regarding their current show, Toys in the Attic, written by Lillian Hellman. (Photos courtesy of Tri-PAC.)

We just observed International Women’s Day on March 8.  On that day, Lillian Hellman’s exquisitely written drama, Toys in the Attic, opened at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center is located at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown.  Many readers perhaps haven’t heard of this award-winner (New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play).  That could be because Toys isn’t performed often (it really challenges actors).  Or maybe it’s because Hellman has been described as “America’s most significant woman playwright of the twentieth century.”  What if, instead, Hellman were described as one of America’s most significant playwrights, period?  Would we be seeing more of her plays more often?

Critics debate whether Hellman should be considered in the same breath as Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams.  Also debated is the position of Toys in the Attic in the Hellman universe.  Many critics consider it her best.  When it was revived by New York’s Pearl Theater in 2007, its director, Austin Pendleton, who knew Hellman, described Toys to The New York Times as his favorite among her plays, comparing it to Chekhov. “It’s the most personal, very mysterious and very charged. And it has some of the most extraordinary language I’ve ever heard onstage,” Pendleton said.

The Little Foxes, considered Hellman’s most popular play, was performed 410 times in its original Broadway run.  Through 1960-1961, Toys in the Attic, originally starring Jason Robards, Maureen Stapleton, Anne Revere and Irene Worth, played 456 times.  Reviews at the time reflected diversity of opinion.  Two legendary reviewers:

“…not the greatest play in the world, it is head and shoulders above the level of the season, and it provides opportunities for some extraordinary acting.”  Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times

Toys in the Attic binds us to it, with a cold, serpentine grace that is born of a clear head, a level eye, and a fierce respect for the unchanging color of the precisely used word.”  Walter Kerr, The New York Herald Tribune

The cast for this production includes Andrea Frassoni (Carrie), Leena Devlin (Anna), John Jerbasi (Julian), Elise D’Alleva (Lily), Deborah Snow (Albertine), Jabbar Wright (Gus), Lee Leagiton (Henry), Philip Seader (Taxi Driver and Delivery Man), Carl Durr (Delivery Man).

Performances at the Tri-PAC run Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, and Sundays 3 PM through March 25th.  Ticket prices range from $13 to $21 depending on showtime and age.  Tickets may be purchased at www.tripac.org, or at the door the night of the show if available.  As always, there are discounts for groups of 10 or more.  Check our website, or call the theater at 610-970-1199 for more information.  PARENTAL GUIDANCE IS SUGGESTED FOR THIS SHOW.

There is plenty of excitement ahead, with “Farragut North”, performances by the Melange Contemporary Dance Company and the Senior Follies, all leading up to our June musical “Hairspray”.  There’s something for everyone at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center!

Village Productions is a dynamic performing arts organization founded in 2001 by a dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, and area residents who dreamed of creating new and highly accessible performing arts opportunities for the community.  Village Productions 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.  You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.

Arts scene in downtown Pottstown this weekend

The arts scene in downtown Pottstown is blossoming, and you’ve got your pick this weekend.

Get your tickets now for Toys in the Attic at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center at 245 High Street. The show opened last night and will run Thursdays through Sundays until March 25th.  Toys in the Attic is an award-winning drama from the brilliant and tempestuous Lillian Hellman.  Written in 1960, it unfolds like it’s today with explorations of greed, envy, economic struggle, deceit and so many skeletons in the closet. This is a chance to see a live performance where the actors say one thing, mean something else, and yet make the difference clear to the audience. Toys in the Attic will play in the Tri-PAC’s black box theater; to add even more intensity, it istaged in-the-round, practically bringing the audience into the living room of this family. For tickets, visit www.tripac.org.  Or call 610.970.1199. Student, Senior discounts available. Groups welcome and there are discounts for 10 or more tickets.  Need help arranging your group visit?  Give them a call!

Local and international pop artist James Enders has got a spring exhibition, Once Upon a Time, at Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine this Saturday at 6 pm. Enjoy free food and drinks, check out the work of this local artist, see and be seen! Juan Carlos is at 235 East High Street, just a few doors away from the TriPAC. Why not check out James’ show before going to see Toys in the Attic?

Also downtown on Saturday night is the opening reception for photographer Karl McWherter‘s exhibit at MOSAIC Community Land Trust‘s gallery at 10 S. Hanover Street. This reception coincides with MOSAIC’s Open Mic from 7-11 pm. Stop by to meet Karl and check out his haunting images, splashed with color, of an abandoned school in Philadelphia. Also, if you’re a writer, poet, musician, singer, juggler or whatever, come perform for friends. I’ll be there to read from my memoir-in-progress. Participants have up to 20 minutes to do their thing. The last event drew 40 people. This is your chance to take center stage!

This Sunday, March 11 at 4 pm you can hear CANTATICA, a professional chamber ensemble that is the artist in residence at Emmanuel Lutheran church at 150 N. Hanover Street in Pottstown. On March 11th they will be presenting CABARET SONGS: CLASSICAL AND CLASSIC.,  TICKETS are available at the door. They are $12 Adults – $10 Seniors – $8 Students

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For INFORMTATION/RESERVATIONS email info@cantatica.org or  call 484-951-5113

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Tri-PAC makes special offer for student groups to see Toys in the Attic

The Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC) in downtown Pottstown is offering a unique educational opportunity for high school or college groups. If you and your friends, students, and colleagues have an interest in classic drama, read on!

Award-winning, literary and dramatic
Its literary and dramatic quality is unassailable.  Yet, Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic rarely is staged because it is so demanding to perform.  Tri-PAC is doubling down.  To add even more intensity than its intimate black box theater, our Toys will be performed in-the-round, as if we’re right there watching love, greed, envy, economic struggle, deceit, skeletons in the closet and fateful decisions unfold right before our eyes.  This is what drama is supposed to be: slices of real life that grab us and give us food for our own thoughts.  Performances will be preceded by a special “Prologue” discussion with Director Neal Newman.

Toys in the Attic is a penetrating, powerfully honest study of family and what’s important in life, and not.  While it was written in 1960, it deals with depression-era economic and social issues that feel utterly contemporary.  It features characters who might be living next door today.

About the Director
Neal Newman has taught and directed at Fordham University, University of the Arts, Cabrini College and the University of Pennsylvania.  He trained as a director at Carnegie Mellon and the Guthrie Theater is Minneapolis.  In addition to directing off-Broadway, and five seasons of Shakespeare in the Park in Philadelphia, he directed Ragtime and A Christmas Carol for Tri-PAC.

OFFER

Two Thursday night performances (March 8 and March 15) of Lillian Hellman’s award-winning Toys in the Attic including the Director’s Prologue.  Half-price tickets for pre-paid student groups of 10 or more, including at least one teacher or parent.  With the student group discount, for these two Thursday night performances student tickets will be $8 and adult tickets $9.

For tickets, call 610.970.1199 or email boxoffice@villageproductions.org to arrange for assistance from one of our group specialists.  For more information  visit www.tripac.org.

Roy’s Rants reviews Ain’t Misbehavin’

Although I saw Ain’t Misbehavin at TriPAC this past Saturday, and Roy saw it on Sunday, he beat me to it and got his review up today. Roy’s review is here. I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with his overwhelmingly positive review.

Every single cast member has a distinctive and beautiful voice. They are: Denia Gibson, Mia Mbuy, Alexa Morefield, Marc Sherfield (who’s got his Golden Ticket to American Idol!) and Isaih Robinson. The talented and totally swinging musicians included Ben Bullock on piano as Fats Waller, Lewis Ben on drums, Louis Rieger (of High Street Music Company fame) on bass, Aaaron Gould on trombone, and Barb Newberry on reeds.

My favorite numbers were all after intermission: “The Viper’s Drag,” “Mean to Me,” and “Your Feet’s Too Big.” “Black and Blue” was heart-wrenching. Wait… I take that back… “Honeysuckle Rose” in the first act was skillful and soulful. All of it was directed and choreographed by Zuhairah McGill, founder of First World Theatre Ensemble.

This show is one more in what is becoming a long line of Tri-PAC hits. They know what they’re all about at 245 E. High Street. I asked at the ticket window if all the shows had sold out for next weekend and was told that there may have been literally only a couple seats left. Give a call to the box office, just in case (610-970-1199). I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

p.s. Let’s not forget that the Milkman Lunch Company & Cake Shoppe provide intermission treats at Tri-PAC. I had a Cotton Club Cake Pop – it was like a lollipop in size and shape, only it was moist, yellow cake coated in white chocolate icing and drizzled with milk chocolate. Bite-sized perfection!

 

AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ at the TRI-PAC

They’ll be struttin’ in the aisles at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown!  It’s singing and dancing at the Fats Waller musical show AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’.  There are only two weekends to see this musical, which runs from Friday, February 10th through Sunday, February 19th.  Tickets are selling fast, so get your tickets now while there is still time!

Winner of the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical, the comic and musical soul of 1930s Harlem lives on in this rollicking, swinging, finger-snapping revue that is still considered one of Broadway’s best! The inimitable Thomas “Fats” Waller rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club, honky tonk dives along Lenox Avenue, rent parties, stride piano players and that jumpin’ new beat, Swing. Although not quite a biography, AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs he made famous in a career that ranged from uptown clubs to downtown Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood and concert stages in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Join our five performers as they present an evening of rowdy, raunchy and humorous songs that encapsulate the various moods of the era and reflect Waller’s view of life as a journey meant for pleasure and play.  Parental guidance is suggested for this show.

Performances run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, and Sundays 3 PM.  Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $13 for children 12 and under.  Tickets may be purchased at www.tripac.org, or at the door the night of the show if available.  As always, there are discounts for groups of 10 or more.  Check our website, or call the theater at 610-970-1199 for more information.

There is plenty of excitement ahead, with “Toys In The Attic”, “Farragut North”, performances by the Melange Contemporary Dance Company and the Senior Follies, all leading up to our June musical “Hairspray”.  There’s something for everyone at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center!

Village Productions is a dynamic performing arts organization founded in 2001 by a dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, and area residents who dreamed of creating new and highly accessible performing arts opportunities for the community.  Village Productions 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.  You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.

Goldilocks and the Down Home Bears at Tri-PAC this weekend only!

Some bears hibernate for the winter, but not the bears at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown!  They’re singin’ and dancin’ in the foot-stomping musical GOLDILOCKS AND THE DOWN HOME BEARS!  There are only three performances of this musical, Saturday January 28th and Sunday January 29th, so get your tickets now while there is still time!

Come down to the holler to meet Goldie (Goldilocks) who is just about to celebrate the birthday that will make her a teenager. And what does she do? She runs away from her home and her strict parents, only to find the country cottage of the most fun lovin’, partyin’ three bears you ever did see.  A down home musical for the entire family (especially for ages 5 – 12), GOLDILOCKS AND THE DOWNHOME BEARS celebrates family and friendships, and the joys and challenges of growing up for both kids AND parents!

The book and music was written by Neal and Karen Newman.  The cast includes Maddie Aicher, Joseph Ciresi, Rachel Julian, Lindsay Lohr, Deedee Mann, Allen Puy, AJ Sermarini, Jordan Shoemaker, Rebecca Shoemaker, Eric Thompson, and Paulina Wozniak.

This production is available for school groups and organizations at the Tri-PAC or off-site from February through May.  It is a great way to bring a fun, educational offering to your school or club.  Contact Education Director Steve Reazor at steve@villageproductions.org for more information on how take advantage of this show.

There will matinee performances on Saturday, January 28th at 11 AM and 3 PM, and again on Sunday, January 29th at 3 PM only.  Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $13 for children 12 and under.  Tickets may be purchased at www.tripac.org, or at the door the night of the show if available.  As always, there are discounts for groups of 10 or more.  Check our website, or call the theater at 610-970-1199 for more information.

There is plenty of excitement ahead, with “Ain’t Misbehavin”, “Toys In The Attic”, “Farragut North”, performances by the Melange Contemporary Dance Company and the Senior Follies, all leading up to our June musical “Hairspray”.  There’s something for everyone at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center!

Village Productions is a dynamic performing arts organization founded in 2001 by a dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, and area residents who dreamed of creating new and highly accessible performing arts opportunities for the community.  Village Productions 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.  You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.

IMPROV and OPEN HOUSE EVENTS KICK OFF 2012 AT TRI-PAC

Looking for a way to kick off the New Year by learning something new, or with an evening full of surprises, fun and creativity?   Join the excitement at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, as the  exciting winter session of classes are unveiled and  the N Crowd provides an evening of fast-paced improvisational theater!

The fun begins with an OPEN HOUSE on Saturday, January 7th from 11 AM until 5 PM.  Then visit one of Pottstown’s eateries and come back to the theater for a performance of the N Crowd at 8 PM!   Can’t make it Saturday?  The Educational OPEN HOUSE will continue on Sunday from 11 AM until 5 PM.

The N Crowd is a professional short form improvisational troupe that has been performing weekly inPhiladelphiasince 2005. Performers include Pottstown’s own BJ Ellis! At each show, the N-Crowd plays a series of games and scenes based on suggestions from the audience. There are no scripts, no props, and nowhere to run! The N Crowd was selected by Fox 29’s Hot List as the Best Comedy Club in Philadelphia in 2008 and finished 2nd place in the same category in 2009. Currently, they perform at the Actors Center in Philadelphia.

The audience is an important part of the show, providing the suggestions and cheering the cast on as they tackle a variety of topics.  Be a part of the fun TODAY, Saturday, January 7th at 8 PM.  Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $13 for children 12 and under.  Parental guidance is suggested for this show.  Tickets may be purchased at www.tripac.org, or at the door the night of the show if available.  As always, there are discounts for groups of 10 or more.

At the Education Open House you can register for Group Classes and Private Lessons for ages 3 through senior citizens. Group classes include acting, comedy improv, scene study, audition techniques, music, voice, storybook character play and age-based performance troupes. Private instruction includes acting, voice, piano, guitar, flute, music therapy, and monologue coaching.  Check the website, www.tripac.org, for full class descriptions and times.

Get ready for a great Winter season with the N Crowd, “Goldilocks”, “Ain’t Misbehavin”, “Toys In The Attic”, “Farragut North”, performances by the Melange Contemporary Dance Company and the Senior Follies, all leading up to a great musical in June.  There’s something for everyone at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center!

Village Productions is a dynamic performing arts organization founded in 2001 by a dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, and area residents who dreamed of creating new and highly accessible performing arts opportunities for the community.  Village Productions 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.  You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.

Still shopping? Unique gifts can be found in downtown Pottstown.

Farmers' Market, High & Charlotte

Procrastinator that I am, I got a huge amount of shopping done on  just a couple of blocks of High Street yesterday afternoon. The Gallery on HighWeitzenkorn’sFine Wine & Good Spirits… and The Farmers’ Market. Yes, the Farmers’ Market vendors have gift certificates so you can give the gift of fresh, local food. Stop in to see Grumpy’s Sandwiches, Freeland Market, J&H Produce, Mosteller’s Seafood, Wegman’s Deli, and Pottstown Florist. You might want to wind up your shopping at Weitzenkorn’s; they were serving wine and cheese and they provide free gift wrapping. They’ve got a beautiful selection, knowledgeable and friendly service, and some items were reduced 40%!

There are many other shopping options throughout town… Company Cakes on Charlotte Street, gift certificates to restaurants like Henry’s, Funky Lil Kitchen, the Brickhouse, and Juan Carlos Fine Mexican. How about a gift certificate from Belle Rouge or Emilie’s or something special for that special someone from Jean’s Lingerie? And don’t forget The Milkman Lunch Company & Cake Shoppe, tickets to the Tri-PAC, or lessons from High Street Music Company and The Ballroom on High!

Don’t forget to check out the websites and give a call to confirm hours today, Christmas Eve!

“A CHRISTMAS STORY” AT THE TRI-PAC

Will Ralphie get his Red Ryder BB gun?  Will Dad get a turkey?  And what’s all this construction?  Come and find out at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center, 245 E. High Street in downtown Pottstown.  A CHRISTMAS STORY opened last night and runs weekends through December 18th.  Buy your tickets now, and you will be able to reserve the best seats!

The Tri-PAC is in the process of getting a facelift – a new concessions area, new façade, and better facilities for all our patrons.  Don’t let the dust fool you though – classes, private lessons, and performances all continue – and there will even be a Winter Workshop for students in the week between Christmas and New Years!

 In the midst of the construction you won’t want to  miss A CHRISTMAS STORY.  This is the classic holiday tale of the mischievous, be-speckled young boy, Ralphie, who dreams of getting a BB gun for Christmas. In the weeks before the big holiday, Ralphie and his friends and family get into all kinds of sticky situations – including a bully with yellow eyes, a tongue stuck to a lamp post, a bar of soap in the mouth, a garish major award, and a Chinese Christmas dinner. Based on the humorist Jean Shepherd’s novel “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”, A CHRISTMAS STORY is the perfect holiday treat for the whole family!

The cast includes Geoffrey Berwind, Andrea Frassoni, Steve Reazor, Michele Bolay, Ben Williams, David Helmer, Carter Niness, Nathan Esser, Josiah Swenson, Sebastian Coates, Alex Tomarelli, William Bell, Xander Dake, Olivia Swenson, Jenna Tomarelli, Hannah Paczkowski and Lauren Esser.

Tickets are available online at www.tripac.org, or will be sold at the door if space is available.  Ticket prices range from $13 to $21, with discounts for students and seniors as well as groups of 10 or more.  Book your tickets online and reserve your seating in advance!  For full information check www.tripac.org, or call the theater at 610-970-1199.  You will also find information on the website about the rest of the upcoming 2011 – 2012 season, which includes musicals, plays, dance and more!

ABOUT VILLAGE PRODUCTIONS

Village Productions (the Tri-County Performing Arts Center) is a dynamic non-profit performing arts organization founded in 2001 to make the arts highly accessible to all in the community. Established and led by dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, business leaders, and area residents, Village Productions 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. More information is available at www.tripac.org

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