Church Hill Theatre Announces Audition Dates for Pippin

Share

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.

Church Hill Theatre Announces Workshop in Basic Acting Skills for Kids

Share

It’s still too cold to play outside, the Christmas toys have lost their appeal, and active kids are itching to do something creative, constructive—and fun.  Building on its celebrated Green Room Gang summer theatre camps, Church Hill Theatre is offering students a chance to B.A.S.K in the glow of the footlights in a series of Saturday workshops. Basic Acting Skills for Kids has expanded this year, and allows 1st through 8th graders to use games and exercises to learn about character development and scene preparation. Taught by experienced Green Room Gang instructors Becca Van Aken and Liz Clarke, the group will meet from 9 am – noon on Saturdays February 24, March 3, 10, 17, and 24. The students’ exploration of poetry, storytelling, and movement will conclude with a performance for family and friends at the end of the final class.  The cost for the five sessions is $100 which includes a BASK t-shirt. Contact Church Hill Theater to register or ask questions about the program at 410-556-6003 or by email at office@churchhilltheatre.org.

Biloxi Blues Closing Weekend at Church Hill Theatre

Share

Chase away the winter doldrums for one more weekend with the heat and hilarity of Biloxi Blues, one of Neil Simon’s funniest comedies.  Reviewer Peter Heck calls it, “a boot camp hoot!”  Based on Simon’s own memories of boot camp in Mississippi during World War II, the play finds humor in the coming of age experiences of young draftees way outside their comfort zones. Michael Whitehill deftly directs the fast paced verbal exchanges and physical humor that make Biloxi Blues so much fun. His cast has obviously enjoyed the chance to inhabit Simon’s memorable characters.  Heck notes that the opening night performance was, “up to the high standards local audiences have come to expect.”

These soldiers do curse and engage in activities not included in letters home to their mothers. Older teens might learn some useful lessons about the transition to adulthood but this show is not recommended for elementary and middle school students.

James Hennesey (Jeff Rank) explains the joys of Army chow time to the newest recruits. From the left they are Timothy Daly as Joseph Wykowski, Troy Strootman as Eugene Jerome, and Robert Spray as Arnold Epstein. Photo by Steve Atkinson.

John Haas is “well cast” as Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey, and “convincing as the hard-nosed drillmaster” according to Heck.  Troy Strootman as Eugene Morris Jerome, “effectively strikes the balance between the character’s youthful naivete and his innate intelligence and insight into his fellow recruits.” Robbie Spray portrays Arnold Epstein, a draftee who is Toomey’s mentally tough nemesis.  The other soldiers in the barracks are Anthony Daly as Roy Selridge, Timothy Daly as Joseph Wykowski, Morgan Jung as Don Carney, and Jeff Rank as James Hennesey.  Since soldiers spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about women, Biloxi Blues gives us a couple of archetypes. Kendell Irene Davis plays Daisy Hannigan, with, “a very warm performance, given an extra dimension by Davis’s dancing.”  Christine Kinlock plays Rowena, a woman with no last name but quite a past.  The cast is rounded out with Scarlett Chappell, playing a guest at a USO dance.

Michael Whitehill has assembled an experienced and creative production team for Biloxi Blues.  Sylvia Maloney pulls together the before-the-show-opens details as Producer and Steve Atkinson wrangles the behind-the-scenes details as Stage Manager. Working with Designer Brian Draper, Whitehill designed and constructed the set. Douglas Kaufmann put together the lighting plot. Laura Crabtree, Katie Sardo, Wendy Sardo and Janice Selby complete the back stage team.

Biloxi Blues continues at Church Hill Theatre through February 4, 2018 and runs with weekend performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays.  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

Biloxi Blues Opens at Church Hill Theatre on January 19

Share

Nothing chases away the winter doldrums like the heat and hilarity of Biloxi Blues, one of Neil Simon’s funniest comedies.  Based on Simon’s own memories of boot camp in Mississippi during World War II, the play finds humor in the coming of age experiences of young draftees way outside their comfort zones. As members of the Greatest Generation rapidly leave us, it’s good to remember that our fathers and grandfathers probably were once just as rowdy, randy and rambunctious as the guys Simon served with. Michael Whitehill, who directed last season’s most serious drama (Doubt), shows he’s equally adept with the fast paced verbal exchanges and physical humor that make Biloxi Blues so much fun. His cast has obviously enjoyed the chance to inhabit Simon’s memorable characters.

Clockwise from top right: James Rank, Troy Strootman, Morgan Jung, Anthony Daly, Timothy Daly, Robert Spray. Photo by Steve Atkinson.

While our forebears of course never cursed, these soldiers do! They also engage in activities not included in letters home to their mothers. Older teens might learn some useful lessons about the transition to adulthood but this show is not recommended for elementary and middle school students.

John Haas, often a “good guy” in CHT plays, takes on the role of Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey, the drill instructor who finds sadistic pleasure in breaking young men to mold them into his kind of soldier. Troy Strootman plays Eugene Morris Jerome, a bookish youth based loosely on Simon himself. Robbie Spray, last seen at CHT as the murderous Leonard Vole in Witness for the Prosecution, portrays Arnold Epstein, a draftee who is Toomey’s mentally tough nemesis.  The other soldiers in the barracks are Anthony Daly as Roy Selridge, Timothy Daly as Joseph Wykowski, Morgan Jung as Don Carney, and Jeff Rank as James Hennesey.  Since soldiers spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about women, Biloxi Blues gives us a couple of archetypes. Kendell Irene Davis plays Daisy Hannigan, the sweet young woman every soldier dreams of coming home to and Christine Kinlock plays Rowena, a woman with no last name but quite a past.  Interestingly, both actresses played opposite types in the recent production of Witness for the Prosecution.  The cast is rounded out with Scarlett Chappell, playing a Junior Hostess at a USO dance.

Eugene Jerome (Troy Strootman) enjoys a high-spirited dance with the beautiful Daisy Hannigan (Kendell Irene Davis). Photo by Steve Atkinson.

Michael Whitehill has assembled an experienced and creative production team for Biloxi Blues.  Sylvia Maloney pulls together the before-the-show-opens details as Producer and Steve Atkinson wrangles the behind-the-scenes details as Stage Manager. Working with Designer Brian Draper, Whitehill designed and constructed the set. Once again, Douglas Kaufmann, the master of the light booth, put together the lighting plot. Laura Crabtree, Katie Sardo, Wendy Sardo, and Janice Selby complete the back stage team.

Biloxi Blues will open at Church Hill Theatre on January 19, 2018, and run through February 4, with weekend performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays.  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, January 19, 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.

Auditions for “On Golden Pond” at Church Hill Theatre

Share

Church Hill Theatre announces auditions for the April production of On Golden Pond. The play is written by Ernest Thompson who won an Academy Award for the screenplay, starring Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. Directed by Bonnie Hill, this classic dramedy is an invitation to experience “a slice of life” with Ethel and Norman Thayer.

Having spent the past 48 summers on Golden Pond in Maine, the Thayers return to their idyllic home. Their tranquility is interrupted by a visit from their divorced daughter and her new fiancé, along with his teenage son.

Auditions at the Church Hill Theatre will be held on Tuesday, January 2 and Thursday, January 4 at 6 pm and on Saturday, January, 6 at 10 am. Production dates are April 6 through April 22, 2018.

On Golden Pond requires 4 men and 2 women, and the characters break down as follows:

Norman Thayer (age Late 60s-80) A cantankerous retired college professor, who is not politically correct. Sharp-tongued, with a dry sense of humor.

Ethel Thayer (age 60-75) Norman’s wife. Loving and cheerful.

Charlie Martin (age 40-50) Mailman, and Chelsea’s former summer boyfriend. Maine accent. Easy-going and laughs a lot.

Chelsea Thayer (age 35-45) Daughter of Ethel and Norman. Tart-tongued and dry humor like her father. High strung.

Bill Ray (age 40-50) Chelsea’s fiancé. Serious, but with a sense of humor.

Billy Ray (age 12-15) Bill Ray’s son. Intelligent, smart-mouthed, somewhat guarded.

Familiarity with the play is beneficial, and actors should be prepared to do cold readings from the script. For additional information, call CHT at (410) 556 -6003 or Bonnie Hill at (410) 348-5181 or email: bonniehill@wildblue.net.

Cast Chosen for Church Hill Theatre Production of Biloxi Blues

Share

Director Michael Whitehill has announced the cast for Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues, the lead off production in Church Hill Theatre’s 2018 season. The Tony Award winning play is set at boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi during World War II. Loosely autobiographical, the comedy pits the cruel and caustic Sgt. Toomey against the draftees, especially the sensitive Arnold Epstein. His friend Eugene Morris Jerome channels Simon’s own memories of military service as a fledgling author. This classic coming-of-age tale includes danger, sex, love, prejudice, bravery and some pretty salty army talk.

Fresh recruits on their bunks in Church Hill Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues. Clockwise from the top left: Robbie Spray, Jeff Rank, Troy Strootman, Morgan Jung, Timothy Daly, Anthony Daly.

Arnold Epstein will be played by Robbie Spray and Eugene Morris Jerome by Troy Strootman. Other draftees are Anthony Daly as Roy Selridge, Timothy Daly as Joseph Wykowski, Morgan Jung as Don Carney, and Jeff Rank as James Hennesey. John Haas takes the role of their nemesis, Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey. Kendall Irene Davis is the sweet Daisy Hannigan and Christine Kinlock is the not-so-sweet Rowena. Scarlett Chappell completes the cast, playing a USO dancer.

Whitehill, one of Church Hill Theatre’s most experienced directors, most recently directed the thought-provoking Doubt: A Parable.  His production team for Biloxi Blues includes Sylvia Maloney, Laura Crabtree, Steve Atkinson, Katie Sardo, Douglas Kaufmann and Brian Draper.

Biloxi Blues will open at Church Hill Theatre on January 19, 2018, and run through February 4, 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, with special prices for groups of ten or more. CHT offers 2 for the price of 1 tickets on opening night, Friday, January 19, 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

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

Share

“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

Share

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

Share

“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.