“Carrie: The Musical” Final Weekend at Church Hill Theatre

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“Carrie the Musical is getting a bloody good fun production by Chesapeake College’s Peake Players and Church Hill Theatre,” says Maryland Theatre Guide’s Mark Beachy.  It offers supernatural thrills to a classic rock genre score; with blood, fire and her telekinetic powers audiences are gasping as the naïve and innocent Carrie takes on the high school mean girls. Bullied by both her classmates and her fanatically religious mother, Carrie finds some support from her gym teacher and a sympathetic classmate. But in this musical version of Stephen King’s psycho-horror novel, we know Carrie will find her own solution as the torments continue. Prom night will never be the same.

Carrie (Shannon Whitaker) finally gets to go to Prom.

Rob Thompson and William Thomas, both Chesapeake College professors are director and music director, respectively. Shannon Whittaker is an “outstanding” Carrie and Maureen Curtain “gives a strong interpretation” as her mother, according to Pete Heck, writing for the Chestertown Spy.

Carrie’s classmates Sue, Tommy, Chris, and Billy are played by Reilly Claxton, Jacob Wheatley, Olivia Litteral and Brandon Walls. The sympathetic teacher, Miss Gardner, is Samantha Smith. Other featured characters are played by James Kaplanges, Kiya Cohen, Shannon Landers, Catherine Jacobs, Morgan Jung, Sean Priest and Albert Conteh. Students, dancers, telekinetic spirits, police officers and others include Anna Terry, Savannah Bixler, Briana Litteral, Gracie Jordan, Megan Kaley, and Alyson Farnell.

Musical Director William Thomas will conduct from the piano. His musicians are Gary Caffrey, on guitar, Tom Anthony on bass, and Ray Anthony on drums.  The backstage and production team includes a set by Richard Peterson and Carmelo Grasso, with lights by Nic Carter, costumes by Miranda Fister and Jennifer Houghton, Maddie Baynard is acting as stage manager, and Jacob Blades is assistant stage manager.  Shelagh Grasso is producing Carrie with Sylvia Maloney as associate producer.

Carrie’s Mother (Maureen Curtin) warns her daughter (Shannon Whitaker) about the dangers of the outside world

Based on the King novel, Carrie the Musical was adapted by Lawrence D. Cohen, with lyrics by Dean Pitchford and music by Michael Gore.  Steve Atkinson of the Chesa Del Crier posits, “I would suggest you see it more than once.  The first time to sit back, enjoy the show…return a second time to see all the detail.”

Carrie the Musical will run through November 12th with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2 pm

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and $15 for members at Church Hill Theatre.  Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org

“Carrie: The Musical” at Chesapeake College and Church Hill Theatre

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Carrie the Musical, playing at both the Cadby Theater and Church Hill Theatre during the Halloween season, offers supernatural thrills to a classic rock genre score.  Blood, fire and telekinetic powers will have audiences gasping as the naïve and innocent Carrie takes on the high school mean girls. Bullied by both her classmates and her fanatically religious mother, Carrie finds some support from her gym teacher and a sympathetic classmate. But in this musical version of Stephen King’s psycho-horror novel, we know Carrie will find her own solution as the torments continue. Prom night will never be the same.

The kids sitting in class. From L-R, Morgan Jung, Shannon Landers, Brandon Walls, Olivia Litteral, Jacob Wheatley, Shannon Whitaker, Albert Conteh, Reilly Claxton, Catharine Jacobs, Sean Priest, and Briana Litteral.

Rob Thompson, a Chesapeake College professor, directs this joint Chesapeake College-Church Hill Theatre production. Shannon Whittaker will play Carrie; Maureen Curtin will portray her mother, Margaret.  Carrie’s classmates Sue, Tommy, Chris, and Billy are played by Reilly Claxton, Jacob Wheatley, Olivia Litteral and Brandon Walls. The sympathetic teacher, Miss Gardner, is Samantha Smith. Other featured characters are played by James Kaplanges, Kiya Cohen, Shannon Landers, Catherine Jacobs, Morgan Jung, Sean Priest and Albert Conteh. Students, dancers, telekinetic spirits, police officers and others include Anna Terry, Savannah Bixler, Briana Litteral, Gracie Jordan, Megan Kaley, Alyson Farnell and Morgan Jung.

Musical Director William Thomas will conduct from the piano. His musician are Gary Caffrey, on guitar, Tom Anthony on bass, and Ray Anthony on drums.  The backstage and production team includes a set by Richard Peterson and Carmelo Grasso, with lights by Nic Carter, costumes by Miranda Fister and Jennifer Houghton, Maddie Baynard is acting as stage manager, and Jacob Blades is assistant stage manager.  Shelagh Grasso is producing Carrie with Sylvia Maloney as associate producer.

Carrie’s shadowy telekinetic spirits threaten to enter the auditorium.

Based on the King novel, Carrie the Musical was adapted by Lawrence D. Cohen, with lyrics by Dean Pitchford and music by Michael Gore. It opened on Broadway in 1988 and enjoyed a successful revival in 2012.  While some critics panned Carrie, it has become a cult favorite, with many unofficial spoofs and campy tributes. It’s not for the squeamish or small children but if you enjoyed CHT’s Rocky Horror Picture Show, you’ll certainly appreciate Carrie.

Carrie the Musical opens on Friday, October 27, 2017, and runs through Sunday, November 12. Because this is a joint production, with performances at two locations, please note the theaters and times carefully.

CHESAPEAKE COLLEGE: Friday, October 27, Saturday, October 28, and Sunday, October 29 at the Cadby Theater.  Shows are at 8 pm on Friday and Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2 pm.

CHURCH HILL THEATRE: Fridays, November 3 & 10, Saturdays, November 4 & 11, and Sundays, November 5 & 12 at Church Hill Theatre, with evening shows at 8 pm and matinees at 2 pm.

At Chesapeake College, tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. Reservations for Cadby Theatre can be made by calling 410-827-5867 or by visiting www.chesapeake.edu/tpac

At Church Hill Theatre, tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and $15 for members.  Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org.

“Doubt, A Parable” Final Weekend at Church Hill Theatre

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“This production of Doubt is a must-see for anyone who enjoys serious, thought-provoking drama.” says local reviewer, Peter Heck.  Doubt, A Parable, the Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning drama by John Patrick Shanley, has one final weekend at Church Hill Theatre.

Sister Aloysius (Kathy Jones) listens as Sister James (Kendall Davis) voices concerns about the students in their school.

Since the play runs without an intermission, the director, Michael Whitehill, offers audiences the unusual opportunity to linger after each performance in order to discuss the production with the cast and crew. These sessions have been lively and well attended so far, with at least half the audience remaining at each performance.  Dramaturges Christopher Wallace and Patrick Fee have assembled a great deal of information that can be viewed at http://doubt.churchhilltheatre.org/ before the performance.

At its core, Doubt asks audiences to ponder the many meanings of truth: factual, moral, situational, cultural and generational. The immediate question is whether a Catholic priest acted inappropriately toward a child in his care, but the drama digs deeper, investigating issues of race and class and asking how far a person may go to achieve justice.

Barbi Bedell plays Mrs. Muller in Church Hill Theatre’s production of Doubt, A Parable.

The story takes place in a Bronx parochial school in the 1960s. John Haas plays Father Brendan Flynn, a progressive parish priest who favors racial integration and more liberal social attitudes. The school’s principal, Sister Aloysius (Kathy Jones) is rigid, conservative and deeply mistrustful of her colleagues, her students and the whole of modern society. A young nun, Sister James (Kendall Davis) is caught in the middle when she observes – or misinterprets – an interaction between Father Flynn and the school’s first African-American student. While the boy’s mother, Mrs. Muller (Barbi Bedell) sees nothing wrong with the alleged contact, Sister Aloysius confronts the priest and escalates the conflict. The audience is left swinging from argument to argument, debating each character’s motivation, searching for the truth, but encountering only more doubt. Heck noted that director Michael Whitehill, “has assembled a strong cast, and they make the most of the challenging script.”

Doubt, A Parable will run through September 24th, 2017 with performances at 8 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students, with special prices 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.

“Doubt, A Parable” Next Up at Church Hill Theatre

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Doubt, A Parable, the prize-winning drama by John Patrick Shanley, opens at Church Hill Theatre on September 8 and will run for three weekends.  Since the play runs without an intermission, the director, Michael Whitehill, offers audiences the unusual opportunity to linger after each performance in order to discuss the production with the cast and crew. And because Doubt ends ambiguously, with more questions than answers, CHT hopes for lively arguments and spirited discussions.

In the Church Hill Theatre production of Doubt, a Parable, Mrs. Muller (Barbara Bedell) fuels Sister Aloysius’s doubts further during a private meeting.

At its core, Doubt asks audiences to ponder the many meanings of truth: factual, moral, situational, cultural and generational. The immediate question is whether a Catholic priest acted inappropriately toward a child in his care, but the drama digs deeper, investigating issues of race and class and asking how far a person may go to achieve justice.  A favorite with the critics, Doubt, A Parable won multiple Tony Awards in 2005, including Best Play. In addition, it received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and numerous other best play awards. Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis and Amy Adams all were nominated for Oscars for their work in the 2008 film adaptation.

The story takes place in a Bronx parochial school in the 1960s. John Haas plays Father Brendan Flynn, a progressive parish priest who favors racial integration and more liberal social attitudes. The school’s principal, Sister Aloysius (Kathy Jones) is rigid, conservative and deeply mistrustful of her colleagues, her students and the whole of modern society. A young nun, Sister James (Kendall Davis) is caught in the middle when she observes – or misinterprets – an interaction between Father Flynn and the school’s first African-American student. While the boy’s mother, Mrs. Muller (Barbi Bedell) sees nothing wrong with the alleged contact, Sister Aloysius confronts the priest and escalates the conflict. The audience is left swinging from argument to argument, debating each character’s motivation, searching for the truth, but encountering only more doubt.

Sister James (Kendall Davis, left) and Sister Aloysius (Kathy Jones, right) weigh the values of faith and trust in a world of uncertainty.

The production team includes Producer Sylvia Maloney, Assistant to the Director Mary Zober, Stage Manager/Photographer Steve Atkinson, Scenarist Brian Draper, Light Designer Doug Kaufmann, Light & Sound crew members Laura Crabtree and Matt Grande, and Dramaturges Christopher Wallace and Patrick Fee.

Doubt, A Parable opens at Church Hill Theatre on September 8, 2017, and runs through September 24, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm.  Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students, with special prices for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, September 8, 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.

Open Auditions for “Carrie the Musical” at Church Hill Theatre and Chesapeake College

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Calling all performers, no experience necessary! Carrie the Musical, a musical based on the unforgettable Stephen King novel with book by Lawrence D. Cohen, music by Michael Gore, and lyrics by Dean Pitchford, will be coming to the Church Hill Theatre and Chesapeake College’s Cadby Theatre stages. This collaborative production will be directed by Dr. Robert Thompson, instructor of theatre at Chesapeake College, and will run October 27th through November 12th, 2017—just in time for Halloween! Performances will play opening weekend at the Cadby Theatre at Chesapeake College, then travel to the CHT stage for the remaining two weekends.

This chilling musical tells the story of outcast Carrie White and the bullying she faces not only with her high school peers, but also from her unstable mother. Catchy and sometimes haunting music and an unsettling story make Carrie the Musical a Halloween treat. When a young woman confronted with social pressures discovers hidden powers fueled by her emotions, her senior prom is bound to be “A Night We’ll Never Forget!”

Open auditions for Carrie the Musical will be held at Church Hill Theatre on Saturday, August 19th at 12:30 p.m. and at Cadby Theatre at Chesapeake College on Wednesday, August 23rd at 6:00 p.m.

Casting needs will include 2 female leads, 4 supporting roles (2F/2M), 2 male feature roles, along with at least 3 male and 3 female parts in the ensemble. Please note that the script does involve mature themes and some language, and parents should consult with the director prior to auditions to discern if their child should audition.

Please come with sixteen bars of a prepared song and sheet music if possible (two copies). Sides from the script will be available for cold readings—no audition monologue required. Technicians for the production are also needed and should attend auditions to submit their interest.

Carrie the Musical will play weekends from Friday October 27th through Sunday November 12th, 2017. For more information, email the director Rob Thompson at rthompson@chesapeake.edu. For more information on auditions, performances, and membership opportunities, please contact the Church Hill Theatre office at 410-556-6003, via e-mail at office@churchhilltheatre.org, or visit the  Church Hill Theatre Facebook Page.

New Executive Manager at Church Hill Theatre

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The Church Hill Theatre Board of Directors proudly announces that Hester Sachse will become the Executive Manager of Church Hill Theatre, a non-profit arts and education organization, on August 18, 2017.  She will replace Nina Sharp, who will be pursuing other theatrical opportunities in the Baltimore area.

Hester Sachse (center), incoming Executive Manager for Church Hill Theatre, stands with outgoing Executive Manager Nina Sharp (right) and current Administrative Assistant Liz Clarke (left).

Hester Sachse holds a BA in Drama from Washington College, where she concentrated on all aspects of stage production. For her senior thesis, Sachse directed William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  After graduation, she was active as a counselor and Assistant Director of the Playmakers’ Camp at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre. This experience will be particularly valuable in organizing and running CHT’s annual Green Room Gang summer program for children and teens. Sachse also served as a programming assistant for the Prince Theatre Foundation, gaining expertise in program development, running workshops, coordination with other institutions and the day to day management of a non-profit arts organization.

Church Hill Theatre’s final productions of the 2017 season will be the drama Doubt: a Parable, running from September 8 – 24 and Carrie the Musical, a collaborative show with Chesapeake College running from October 27 – November 12.  As always, these productions will require actors, musicians, stage crew and front of the house volunteers. Hester invites CHT members and potential volunteers to stop by the office, located across the street from the theatre, meet her, and learn more about CHT’s ongoing activities.  The office is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please feel free to call the office at 410-556-6003 or visit the website www.churchhilltheatre.org for additional information.

Auditions for “Doubt” at Church Hill Theatre

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Church Hill Theatre will hold auditions for Doubt, a Parable on Saturday, June 24 (1:30 to 3:00 pm), Monday, June 26 (6:00 to 8:30 pm), and Wednesday, June 28 (6:00 to 8:30 pm). Directed by Michael Whitehill, Doubt opens on September 9, 2017 and will run for three weekends.

Doubt, a Parable, written by John Patrick Shanley, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The memorable film version starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep was nominated for several Academy Awards. Set in 1964 at a Church School in the Bronx, the play examines faith and how far one is willing to go in the name of Truth. As director Whitehill notes, it is a life lesson for the pious and a warning against unfounded moral certainty.

The roles and approximate ages in Doubt are:
Father Brendan Flynn—late 30s
Sister Aloysius Beauvier—50s, 60s
Sister James—20s
Mrs. Muller—African American, mid 30s

Doubt, a Parable will challenge actors to look inside themselves for the performances they know they can give, and CHT auditions are a safe place to explore these strong roles. Director Whitehill will ask actors to do cold readings from the script, take some direction and practice movement exercises. As always, CHT invites both experienced and new actors to audition, and also encourages volunteers interested in production and back-stage positions to attend. Whitehill is currently seeking a stage manager, an assistant to the director and a dramaturg.  Contact him by phone at (443) 988-1947 or email at kayak@atlanticbb.net if you any questions about the play or his production.

“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” Opens at Church Hill Theatre

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You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, based on Charles Schulz’s beloved “Peanuts” comic strip with music, lyrics and book by Clark Gesner, opens at Church Hill Theatre on Friday, June 9. This catchy and family-friendly musical directed by Sylvia Maloney will run for three weekends, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.

All the “Peanuts” characters, Charlie Brown (Matt Folker), Frieda (Morgan Armstrong), Marcie (Faith McCarthy), Pig Pen (Jarrett Plante), Lucy (Becca Van Aken), Linus (Elliott Morotti), Woodstock (Katie Sardo) and Sally (Maya McGrory) join in the singing of “Beethoven Day” led by Schroeder (David Ryan).

The CHT cast of outstanding adult actors quickly escorts the audience into the magical world created by Charles Schulz. As the show’s creator Clark Gesner explains, “None of the cast is actually six years old. And they don’t really look like Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoon characters. But this doesn’t seem to make that much difference once we are into the play, because what they are saying to each other is with the openness of that early childhood time, and the obvious fact is that they are all really quite fond of each other.” The musical has charmed audiences since its premier in 1967, perhaps most memorably in the 1999 Broadway revival where Kristin Chenoweth and Roger Bart won Tony Awards for playing Sally and Snoopy.

Over the course of the show, Charlie’s young friends help him discover what it really means to be a “good man.” Along the way, Snoopy battles with the Red Baron, Lucy runs her psychiatrist booth and teaches alternative facts, Linus has a love-hate relationship with his blanket, Sally finds school exceptionally frustrating, and Schroeder seeks solace in his music. Charlie Brown just keeps stumbling along, with failures ranging from the kite-eating tree to the Little League Baseball Championship. By the end, all of us can agree that being a good person may mean trying your best and making the most of things.

Lucy (Becca Van Aken) coaches Charlie Brown (Matt Folker) center, surrounded by the cheering entire baseball team Sally (Maya McGrory), Marcie (Faith McCarthy), Pig Pen (Jarrett Plante), Frieda (Morgan Armstrong), Linus (Elliott Morotti), Schroeder (David Ryan) and Woodstock (Katie Sardo).

Church Hill Theatre’s production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown is directed by Sylvia S. Maloney, with music direction by Ellen Barry Grunden and choreography by Cavin Moore. Maloney has cast Matt Folker as Charlie Brown, Becca Van Aken as Lucy, Elliott Morotti as Linus, Maya McGrory as Sally, David Ryan as Schroeder and Julie Lawrence as Snoopy. Other “Peanuts” characters are played by Samantha Smith, Faith McCarthy, Amy Gilliland, Morgan Armstrong, Jarrett Plante, and Katie Sardo.  Devin Kirchner is the production stage manager with Jim Johnson as assistant stage manager.  Michael Whitehill is in charge of set design/construction, Brian Draper is the set artist and Doug Kaufmann, with assistants Molly Heal and Laura Crabtree, is the lighting designer.  Tina Johnson and Erma Johnson are in charge of costumes for the musical.

The production opens on Friday, June 9 and runs through June 25. Discounts are available for CHT Members and groups of 10 or more. Reservations are strongly advised and can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or online at churchhilltheatre.org.

Church Hill Theatre Announces Cast for “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”

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Director Sylvia Maloney proudly brings Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strip to the Church Hill Theatre stage as this year’s summer musical performance. You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised), with music, lyrics and book by Clark Gesner, will open on June 9th and run for three weekends.

Schroeder (David Ryan) conducts the “Peanuts” Glee Club, 1st row L-R, Sally (Maya McGrory), Snoopy (Julie Lawrence) and Lucy (Becca Van Aken); 2nd row, L-R, Charlie Brown (Matt Folker) and Linus (Elliott Morotti) as they sing Home on the Range.

Charlie Brown is light-hearted, tender and energetic. As in the comic strip, we share Charlie’s frustrations and pleasures as he interacts with his big, wide and wonderful world. But in this musical stage version, the characters quickly move off the page and into our hearts. The whole gang is here: bossy Lucy, who is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder; the frustrated and frustratingly naive Sally, who is still teasing blanket-toting Linus; the playful but sometime manic dog Snoopy; and the loveable blockhead himself, Charlie Brown.

Church Hill Theatre’s production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised) is directed by Sylvia S. Maloney, with music direction by Ellen Barry Grunden and choreography by Cavin Moore. Maloney has assembled an able cast: Matt Folker as Charlie Brown, Becca Van Aken as Lucy, Elliott Morotti as Linus, Maya McGrory as Sally, David Ryan as Schroeder and Julie Lawrence as Snoopy.  Other “Peanuts” characters are played by Samantha Smith, Faith McCarthy, Amy Gilliland, Morgan Armstrong, Jarrett Plante, and Katie Sardo.  Devin Kirchner is the production stage manager, Michael Whitehill is in charge of set design/construction, Brian Draper is the set artist, and Doug Kaufmann is the lighting designer.  Tina Johnson and Erma Johnson are in charge of costumes and Jim Johnson is part of the technical staff.

The show opens on Friday, June 9, and runs through June 25, with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 pm and Sunday shows at 2 pm.  Reservations can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or online at churchhilltheatre.org.