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The OnStage Newsletter - October, 2008

MPOnStage NewsletterThe October edition talks about winning the Perry Awards for Driving Miss Daisy, the work being done on Brighton Beach Memoirs, audition information for Man of La Mancha, The current production from Shakespeare '70 and more. Feel free to share these stories with your friends through Facebook.


MPOnStage Gives Kelsey Theatre Their Perry Award

presentationDuring intermission at last night's opening of Brighton Beach Memoirs, the board of directors of Maurer Productions OnStage took time out to present a gift to the Kelsey Theatre. On behalf of the board, MPOnStage President John Maurer presented one of the company's Perry Awards to Kitty Getlik, Artistic Director of the Kelsey Theatre.

Last month, NJACT (New Jersey Association of Community Theatres) honored MPOnStage with five Perry Awards for its production of Driving Miss Daisy, the most bestowed on any one theatre company during the September 21 ceremony hosted by NJACT at the Doubletree Hotel in Somerset.

The company's production of Driving Miss Daisy received Perry Awards for Outstanding Sound Design (Dan Maurer), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play (Eve Connolly), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (Lynn Baskin), Outstanding Direction of a Play (Dan Maurer), Outstanding Production of a Play (John Maurer, Diana Gilman Maurer, Dan Maurer). A copy of the Perry Award for Outstanding Production of a Play was given by John Maurer to Kitty Getlik in thanks for all the support she, the Kelsey Theatre staff, and the administration of Mercer County Community College have given MPOnStage and the theatre community over the years.

"Without Kitty, the Kelsey staff, and the college, we couldn't produced the kind of work that has received state-wide acclaim," John Maurer said. "We've always thought of the college and the Kelsey staff as part of our team, and as such, they earned this award just as much as we did," he continued.

The MPOnStage team also took the opportunity to recognize the Kelsey Theatre during the Perry Awards ceremony on September 21. While accepting one of his three Perry Awards in front of 800 community theatre professionals, MPOnStage Vice President Dan Maurer said, "I want to thank the NJACT Perry Award reviewers--not just those who came to see and review Driving Miss Daisy, but all the Perry reviewers who came to see any of the shows at the Kelsey Theatre." Dan Maurer went on to say, "The Kelsey Theatre is a wonderful venue located in West Windsor, NJ, where as many as eight different theatre companies are doing great work. I'm very glad to see that the great work being done at the Kelsey Theatre is getting seen and recognized by reviewers."

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Brighton Beach - A Set Grows in Brooklyn

Brighton Beach SetIt is Thursday night, final dress rehearsal for MPOnStage's production of Brighton Beach Memoirs, directed by Alycia Bauch-Cantor, and the finishing touches are being applied to the set. If you are not familiar with the show, Brighton Beach Memoirs takes place in the home of Jacob and Kate Jerome of Brooklyn. Their house is home to the seven characters in the play and in itself can be considered the eighth character, giving us insight into the people who live there. John M. Maurer, Artistic Director of MPOnStage, is responsible for the set design and has been nominated for a Perry Award several times for his work. “For this production we have the equivalent of an entire house on stage,” says John. “We have two floors complete with bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, dinning room, kitchen, and front and back porches. The set covers over 1200 square feet of stage, yet has to have a warm and intimate feeling.” Set construction began in earnest on Sunday night after the last performance of Moon over Buffalo loaded out. With the help of our volunteer stage crew, the false floor was laid down and all the platforms were raised and painted by 11 pm. The next day a smaller crew set all the walls, doors and furniture, so that by rehearsal that evening everything was in place for the actors. To speed up construction and save money, the set was designed using existing material. Most of the platforms and flats were in inventory or borrowed from other groups. Once all the structural work was done, it was time to give the set a little character. Scenic artist Amy Foris, who was nominated for a Perry Award for her work on Driving Miss Daisy, was called in to do all BBM Setthe detailed paint work. “Amy has worked on a lot of our shows and she always amazes us with what she can do with a brush,” says John Maurer. “For this production she had to paint a stone walkway, wood floors, wallpaper and a wainscoting. She did some excellent work; it really ties everything together.” As the lighting designer Kitty Getlik finishes writing her cues, the last of the props are placed around the set, including some actual period items like an antique crumber and a working 1930’s Singer sewing machine.

Maurer Productions OnStage will present Neil Simonís Brighton Beach Memoirs Friday, October 3rd and 10th at 8 pm; Saturday, October 4th and 11th at 8 pm; and Sunday, October 5th and 12th, at 2 pm in the Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor Campus of Mercer County Community College. To order tickets, go online at www.kelseyatmccc.org, call 609-570-3333, or stop by the Kelsey Theatre Box Office. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

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scriptsTake the new OnStage Theatre Quiz Challenge

Once again we do our best to find things for you to do between performances. Try the October edition of our Theatre Trivia Quiz! You get 10 questions to test your theatre knowledge.

Try out our October edition

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Tap Workshops Once Again take Center Stage at the Kelsey

Tap Class led by Jane CoultOnce again Kelsey Theatre is going to offer a beginner tap class workshop, and will offer a beginner-intermediate tap class workshop for the first time.  This new class will begin where the beginner class ended.  Both classes will be led by OnStage board member and choreographer Jane Coult.

The beginning tap class for adults is designed to teach the basic steps and many common intermediate steps, arming the students with a sufficient tap foundation to perform in musical theater. All actors and non-actors are welcome. The class is highly recommended for those who plan to audition for any dance shows in the future, or as a fun way to keep in shape!

Tap class in actionIf you have already taken the beginner class or have some tap experience, the beginner-intermediate class will be better suited to you.   It will start with a review of the beginner steps and build onto those steps and include many new and more challenging steps and combinations.

The beginner workshop will be on Tuesday evenings at 5:50 to 6:50 starting October 7 and will run until December 9.  The beginner-intermediate workshop will be on Wednesday evenings from 5:50 to 6:50 pm and will run until December 10.  The cost for either workshop is $100.

You can print, complete, and mail the registration form or give the theatre a call at 609-570-3566.

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Man of La Mancha Audition Slots are filling up fast

Audition times for Man of La Mancha are going fast so go online and sign up today. Auditions will be held on Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26, 2008 from 10 am to 6 pm. Click here to learn more about the audition process and sign-up for an audition appointment.

Man of La Mancha, one of Broadway's most celebrated musicals, will open at the Kelsey Theatre February 6 and run through February 15, 2009.

All roles are available. Must be 17 or older to audition.

Open Roles:
Captain of the Inquisition
Manservant/Sancho Panza
Miguel De Cervantes/Don Quixote
Governor
Duke
Seven Muleteers
Aldonza
Innkeeper
Maria, the Innkeeperís wife
Fermina, a serving girl
Antonia, Alonsoís niece
Housekeeper, for Alonso
Padre
Dr. Sanson Carrasco/Knight of the Mirrors
Barber
Moorish Girl, dancer
Four attendants to the Knight
Soldiers
Prisoners
Prison Guards
Gypsies (Moors)
Men of the Inquisition

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Steampunk Hits the Stage with The Skin of our Teeth

The set for the Skin of our teethThornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth  was first produced at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, on October 15, 1942.  Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the 5,000 year-long story of the Antrobus Family as they battle crushing glaciers, the Great Flood and even each other. It is the history of mankind, condensed and compacted into a play that is funny, moving and dark, all at the same time.

According to Brian Bara, the shows director, “I was looking for a way to show the past and present colliding.  In the first act of the show there is a wooly mammoth and a mastodon on stage.  In the past this was done with people in costumes, but I thought that it looked too Saturday-morning cartoonish. We were looking for a visual style to bring the show together, and we found it in the Steampunk moment.”

Walter CupitSteampunk originated in the late 1980s and was a term coined by the science fiction author K. W. Jeter. Steampunk  focuses on theoretical or cinematic Victorian-era technology mixed with modern technology, such as steam powered computer or steam driven robots.

One of the people brought in to help bring the play to life was Walter Cupit, who had  traveled with Das Puppunspiel, a puppet theatre out of Mayville, New York. Walter was asked to be puppet master for the show. “Brian decided that large puppets designed to look mechanical would work in the show and was looking for someone to design and build them."   “Brian chose to use a steampunk theme in the set design as well as the puppets and, since we were making puppets for the Walter Cupit working with a puppeteer on the skin of our teethfirst act, why not use some in the rest of the show as well?”   Walter soon got to work with technical director and designer Dale Simon on the puppet designs. According to Cupit, “Everything is gears.  You see the gears. You see what operates this universe of the show and the steampunk--very Victorian, but what if Victorian had computers?  That kind of alternate universe.”   Along with the large mechanical puppets, the show uses other forms of puppetry. “We also use shadow puppets and large single person puppet extensions in the show. It was a challenge to keep the steampunk theme going with just a silhouette but we think it works well.”

This show promises to be an unforgettable night of theater.  Don’t miss it!

The Skin of Our Teeth on the Main Stage at Kendall Hall at the College of New Jersey in Ewing on September 26 and 27 and October 2, 3 and 4 at 8 pm.

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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo & Juliet Auditions Rock at Arts YOUniversity

Our friends at Arts YOUniversity are announcing auditions for a rock musical version of Romeo and Juliet on October 19th from 1-4 pm. They are looking for actors, singers and dancers of all ages. You do not need to be an Arts YOUniversity student to get cast and there are no costs associated with doing the production.

For more info visit the Arts YOUniversity web site.

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