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Backstage December 2006

BACKSTAGE - Chatham Community Players Newsletter

Christmas is Coming

Amahl Poster Image…and so is a special holiday event. Chatham Opera and Chatham Community Players will co-produce “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos, General Director of Chatham Opera, and directed by Robert Pridham (“Master Class,” "Proof," "How I Learned To Drive," "Side Man," and several other shows). On Broadway Kitsopoulos was music director and conductor for Baz Luhrmann’s production of “La Bohème,” Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” and “Les Misèrables,” among others. “Amahl…” opens December 15. Production dates are December 15, 16, 22, & 23 at 7 and again at 8:30 p.m., and December 17 (Sunday) and 23 (Saturday) at 3 and again at 4:30 p.m. The opera will be presented with a full 21-piece orchestra. Thanks to its wonderfully uplifting story, as well as its beautiful music, this production was written with children and families in mind, making it a superb introduction into the world of opera and a wonderful way to enjoy the magic of the holiday season.

The cast of “Amahl…” is Paul Wright and Shannon Reilly as Amahl; Kathryn Long, Mother; William Dembaugh, Kaspar; Gregory Wright, Balthazar; Nathan Baer, Melchior; Sean Wilkens, Page; and in the Ensemble, Amanda Taylor, Rickie Friedberg, Susan DeStefano, Stacey Simon, Ariadne Danae, Frank Knox, Karl Jacobsen, Alex McCarty, and Harry Finkle. “Amahl…” was first performed in New York at NBC studios, where it was broadcast on television. The opera is now a popular family Christmas classic. “Amahl…” is full of humor, wonder, and drama, and the music is tuneful and charming. To purchase tickets, ($20 adult, $15 students), call Chatham Community Players Box Office at 973-635-7363, or buy online with Ticketleap or call Chatham Opera at 973-635-9824 or Visit the Chatham Opera website.

Auditions for March Production

James Dean PhotographThe next show in our season is “Come back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” by Ed Graczyk. The show runs March 2 to 17, 2007. The action takes place in the small Texas town of McCarthy in 1975. Inside of a five-and-dime store, a reunion is planned for the members of a local 1950s James Dean fan club. An odd assortment of women arrive revealing hidden secrets, as the play flashes back, showing the women as young James Dean fans, and then jumps forward to present day to reveal the ravages of time and lost innocence.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, December 2, at 3 p.m., and Monday, December 4, 7 p.m., at The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Street, Chatham. Director Bob Cline (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Into the Woods,” “Pippin”) asks that actors come prepared to read from the script. The cast consists of eight females, late teens-60s, and one male, late teens-early 20s. All characters are southern and speak with southern accents (west Texas).

Juanita: Needs to at least read older than the other girls. Probably 40’s to 60’s. Presumably tenured store manager. Clearly helped raise and mold the good attributes of these girls. Simple. Conservative. Busy. God Fearing. Mona: Late 30’s – Early 40’s. The advertised mother of the late James Dean’s son and past local celebrity. Capable of being high strung and restless, yet unable to leave the shelters of her home town. Set in her ways to such an extent that her reality belongs sourly to her. Clutches desperately on to the past Mona (then) Late teens – Early 20’s. A carefree southern girl clearly already obsessed with Jimmy Dean. Like any school girl, she wants to do the right thing, she wants to be liked, and still believe in dreams. Sissy: Late 30’s – Early 40’s. Script describes her as “a large breasted bleach blond.” Looking for someone who at least knows how to set a room on fire when she enters it. Charismatic, pushes the boundaries, Protects herself by being extroverted. Sissy (then): Late teens- early 20’s. Mona’s friend. Not much different from above accept less secrets to hull around. Could roller-skate. Joe: Late Teens- Early 20’s - Should look or carry himself like a young James Dean. Fit. Good looking. Hard life. Social victim, but gets out of town to survive. Joanne: Late 30’s – Early 40’s. A classy city gal, now. Careful, elegant and back in town to at least shock, and hopefully find acceptance or understanding. Stella Mae: Late 30’s – Early 40’s. Could be the oldest member of the “disciples of Jimmy Dean” . Loud, Boisterous, and often obnoxious. A small town girl that married into money when she wasn’t ready. Cutting and Funny. Edna Louise: Late 30’s – Early 40’s. Could be the youngest of the “disciples”. Plain. Simple. Sincere. Pregnant beautician. Has often sat on the bench in an effort to let others shine. This makes her happy.

The Chatham Community Players has an open casting policy. All roles are open; none are pre-cast. For any questions or concerns, please call Kristin Barber at 732-308-4284 or email

Fantasy Theater Presents a Classic Fairy Tale

Fantasy Theater is producing the beloved story of “Beauty and the Beast” for January 6 and 7, and 13 & 14, with shows at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. all four days. Director Steve Ruskin has a great cast of young adults, and Producer Kathy Ruskin will incorporate the services of our Interns (high school students earning credits): Matt Kessler, Mikey Suczewski, Andy Soccodato, and Julia Sickler, plus Jennifer Smith (“…Carol”), Jason Cox (Stanley in “Brighton Beach Memoirs”), Jane Davenport, who’s been in many fantasy productions, and local Girl Scout troops (earning their Drama Badge). The role of Beauty will be played by Clare Ragish, and the Beast/Prince by Mikey Suczewski; others in the cast are Cox, Sickler, Smith, Matt Ball, Nick Benevenia, Nicole Bodin, Megan Campbell, Mike Fowler, Sarah Lavinia, K. C. McGinley, Emma Peterson, and Missy Thrasher-Lyon. The production staff includes Andrea Sickler and Beverly Wand, and stage manager is Andy Soccodato.

Holiday Party Planned!

Holiday Party GraphicCome in your holiday colors and a big smile to our annual holiday party at The Playhouse on Sunday, December 17, 6 p.m. Bring a terrific hors d’oeuvre to share and BYOB. Mixers will be provided. It’s always a lively affair! We’ve all been working hard this season, so it’s time to relax and have some fun! If you can, stay and help our Hospitality committee clean up!!!

Volunteers Paint Faux Wood Floor

Under the guidance of Andrea Sickler from DunDean Studios in Chatham, a group of volunteers spent a few evening creating a faux wood floor for our production of “A View from the Bridge.” Here are a few pictures of the process:
ImageFaux Finishing ImageImageFaux Finishing ParticipantsFaux Finishing - the end result

Here and There…

Frank and Erika Briamonte have announced the birth of their son, Jackson Nicholas, 6 lbs., 14 oz., 21 inches, with dark brown hair, on October 24, 2006… Susan (Keill) and Franklin McClelland have announced the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth Harper on October 9 2006…our Past President, Vincent Smith, has a new book arriving in the book stores and usual online sources. “Feng Shui: A Practical Guide for Architects and Designers” is also available through the publisher. Since we are all designers of our own spaces, there is something for everyone in the book… welcome two new volunteers, Betsey Barton and Carol Ball, who worked on “View from the Bridge,” Several performances received standing ovations, so thanks to Producer Joelle Bochner; PC Mara Lundstrom, and Stage Manager, Jennifer Dzama, and all who acted, dressed, painted, built, and lit the show…popular director/actress Susie Speidel will direct our “City of Angels” May 4-19, with Joe Elefante as Musical Director… CCP received thanks for Kathy Ruskin’s costuming help from Union Terrace Park, Allentown PA, who presented “Romeo and Juliet” as their first ever production…