Performing is all in the family at Villa Victoria Academy

by Olivia Quinn

Have you ever been to the Villa Victoria Academy Theatre? I’d like to invite you to come soon!  Hello, my name is Olivia Quinn, and I am currently in eighth grade at Villa Victoria Academy. VVA is known for its arts programs and annual spring musical, and I have been lucky enough to be able to participate in this great tradition since fourth grade.  Although we have Pre-K through high school here, only fourth through 12th graders can audition because the play is a huge commitment. Just like with everything else, school and grades come first!

Last year, I had the role of Peter in our production of “Peter Pan.”  I have also been in “The Wizard of Oz” as the munchkin coroner, “The Sound of Music” as Kurt von Trapp, “Oliver” as The Artful Dodger, and am currently in “Annie” as a chorus member. The cast of “Annie” is absolutely amazing!  There is so much talent, dedication, and determination. This year’s play will definitely set the bar for all other shows, because Villa doesn’t produce any old high school level play, and everyone who comes is always entertained. It is especially fun this year because my younger sisters are also in the cast. I get to be a chorus member with Juliet (sixth grade), and Isabella (fourth grade) is taking the spotlight as Annie. Each experience has helped build my confidence, people skills, talent, and overall mindset. Being able to go to practice after school is an amazing way for me to relax, decompress from the day, and just clear my head. My favorite reason for doing the plays is that I get to entertain people and make them happy by playing pretend.  There isn’t a better way.

Having been able to put on the Villa Victoria uniform since first grade, I feel as though Villa is my home away from home. I’ve been taught skills that will carry me through life. Villa has also blessed me with amazing friends that I couldn’t live without. We are a close-knit family that love each other and never cease laughing, even and especially when there are hardships. Although Villa Victoria is in New Jersey, it’s only about 10 minutes away from where I live in Newtown and there is free bus transportation. VVA is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t wish to change anything about my experiences there. Make sure you come over to Villa Victoria to see “Annie” in March, which I promise will make you laugh, smile, and want to sing along to all the songs!  

Olivia Quinn and her family live in Newtown. Tickets are on sale now for “Annie” (March 21st- 23rd) by calling 609-882-1700 ext. 10. Visit www.villavictoria.org for more information.

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McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Emily Mann and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, McCarter Theatre Center is recognized as one of the nation’s premier theater companies. Built as a permanent home for the Princeton University Triangle Club with funds from Thomas N. McCarter, class of 1888, the theater opened its doors on February 21st, 1930 with a special performance of the 40th annual Triangle Show, “The Golden Dog.” One of its stars was Joshua Logan, and a sophomore named James Stewart was in the chorus.

During the 1930′s, McCarter gained popularity as a pre-Broadway showcase, due to its large seating capacity, its 40-foot proscenium stage, and its short distance from New York. Ms. Mann’s tenure as Artistic Director has been notable for its emphasis on the creation and development of new work, marked especially by an on-going program of commissions and the fostering of long term relationships with playwrights both established and emerging.

Renowned for major contributions to the theatrical canon, McCarter premieres include Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (winner of the 2013 Tony Award® for Best Play) and “Miss Witherspoon” (both commissions); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays;” Will Power’s “Fetch Clay, Make Man” (commission); Edward Albee’s “Me, Myself & I” (commission); Emily Mann’s “Having Our Say;” Danai Gurira’s “The Convert;” Beth Henley’s “Ridiculous Fraud” (commission); Regina Taylor’s “Crowns” (commission); Dael Orlandersmith’s “Yellowman” (commission); Athol Fugard’s “Valley Song;” and Stephen Wadsworth’s Marivaux trilogy. McCarter has also produced major new productions of Brian Friel’s “Translations,” directed by Garry Hynes; Nilo Cruz’s “Anna in the Tropics” and Edward Albee’s “All Over,” directed by Emily Mann; and “Electra,” directed by David Leveaux. McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. www.mccarter.org.

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Actors’ NET offers eclectic, electric entertainment

Special to Times Publishing Newspapers, Inc.

Morrisville’s own Actors’ NET of Bucks County continues its 18th season with Tennessee Williams masterwork, “The Night of the Iguana.”  The steamy tale of a fallen clergyman who faces further temptations in a seedy Mexican hotel in the 1940S performs now through February 2nd at The Heritage Center on N. Delmorr Avenue in Morrisville.

“Our eclectic and electric 18th season is thrilling our audiences,” exclaimed Actors’ NET General Manager Joe Doyle. Co-founded in 1996 by Joe and his wife, Cheryl, “The NET” has staged more than a show a month in the borough since their volunteers converted the former municipal garage into a theatre space in 1999.  

Year-round, Actors’ NET attracts performers and audience members from throughout the region, especially Bucks and Mercer Counties. The NET also offers a four-week youth musical theatre program, “The Summer Stars.”

Starting the first Monday after the Fourth of July (this year, beginning July 7th), children age seven to 12 attend classes for four weeks on weekday mornings, while teens age 13 to 17 attend afternoon classes. Taught the basics in acting, singing and dance by business professionals, both groups at course’s end perform original musicals custom-written for the students. All have solos and get a chance for his or her moment to star. 

The NET holds group auditions several times a year, and also auditions people on an individual basis. Anyone interested in acting with can call or email them to set up an appointment. In addition, The NET always needs volunteers.

Following “The Night of the Iguana,” the season continues February 28th – March 23rd with Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Price-winning comic drama “August: Osage County”; William Shakespeare’s epic drama “Julius Caesar” follows April 25th – May 11th; Ken Ludwig’s hilarious comic farce “Moon Over Buffalo” then runs May 30th – June 15th and wraps up the season July 11th – 27th with “Les Liaisons Dangereuse,” Christopher Hampton’s sensuous and steamy swashbuckling drama about intrigue among French nobility. 

The Actors’ NET performs at The Heritage Center – 635 N. Delmorr Avenue (Route 32), Morrisville – near the Calhoun Street Bridge. Performing year-round, show admission is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors over 61 and $10 for children under 13.

For further information or reservations, call the nonprofit Actors’ NET at 215-295-3694 or email actorsnet@aol.com. The NET is also accessible on-line at www.actorsnetbucks.org.

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Monarch Theatre Troupe

Monarch Theatre Troupe was founded in the summer of 2010 by Jean and Bill Brenner, with the goal of “producing professional quality theatre for those who love to perform and for those who love to watch good theatre.”

That first summer, the group produced the musical, “The Apple Tree” in the Council Rock High School Auditorium. The following April 2011, the new company produced, “Jake’s Women,” a Neil Simon play at the Rolling Hills Elementary School in Holland. Later that year, Monarch Theatre performed the musical, “The Fantasticks,” again at Rolling Hills. 

About 75 different actors and crew members participated in all three shows, thus providing opportunities for many local performers. Jean Brenner, who this past fall directed a play for Town & Country Players in Buckingham, directed all three Monarch shows.

Currently, Monarch Theatre Troupe is on hiatus. One reason is that the spaces available to them for performing have not worked well. The high school is too large for intimate theatre, and the elementary school, while it has a nice proscenium stage, is in a gymnasium with inadequate air conditioning for warm weather.

To continue its mission, Monarch Theatre needs a venue for performances in the areas of Northampton, Wrightstown or Newtown Townships. The troupe will consider any option. If anyone can suggest a facility, Jean Brenner would really appreciate hearing your ideas. E-mail her at Theatremonarch@yahoo.com or call 215-860-7100.

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Monarch Theatre Troupe

Monarch Theatre Troupe was founded in the summer of 2010 by Jean and Bill Brenner, with the goal of “producing professional quality theatre for those who love to perform and for those who love to watch good theatre.”

That first summer, the group produced the musical, “The Apple Tree” in the Council Rock High School Auditorium. The following April 2011, the new company produced, “Jake’s Women,” a Neil Simon play at the Rolling Hills Elementary School in Holland. Later that year, Monarch Theatre performed the musical, “The Fantasticks,” again at Rolling Hills. 

About 75 different actors and crew members participated in all three shows, thus providing opportunities for many local performers. Jean Brenner, who this past fall directed a play for Town & Country Players in Buckingham, directed all three Monarch shows.

Currently, Monarch Theatre Troupe is on hiatus. One reason is that the spaces available to them for performing have not worked well. The high school is too large for intimate theatre, and the elementary school, while it has a nice proscenium stage, is in a gymnasium with inadequate air conditioning for warm weather.

To continue its mission, Monarch Theatre needs a venue for performances in the areas of Northampton, Wrightstown or Newtown Townships. The troupe will consider any option. If anyone can suggest a facility, Jean Brenner would really appreciate hearing your ideas. E-mail her at Theatremonarch@yahoo.com or call 215-860-7100.

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McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Emily Mann and Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, McCarter Theatre Center is recognized as one of the nation’s premier theater companies. Built as a permanent home for the Princeton University Triangle Club with funds from Thomas N. McCarter, class of 1888, the theater opened its doors on February 21st, 1930 with a special performance of the 40th annual Triangle Show, “The Golden Dog.” One of its stars was Joshua Logan, and a sophomore named James Stewart was in the chorus.

During the 1930′s, McCarter gained popularity as a pre-Broadway showcase, due to its large seating capacity, its 40-foot proscenium stage, and its short distance from New York. Ms. Mann’s tenure as Artistic Director has been notable for its emphasis on the creation and development of new work, marked especially by an on-going program of commissions and the fostering of long term relationships with playwrights both established and emerging.

Renowned for major contributions to the theatrical canon, McCarter premieres include Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (winner of the 2013 Tony Award® for Best Play) and “Miss Witherspoon” (both commissions); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays;” Will Power’s “Fetch Clay, Make Man” (commission); Edward Albee’s “Me, Myself & I” (commission); Emily Mann’s “Having Our Say;” Danai Gurira’s “The Convert;” Beth Henley’s “Ridiculous Fraud” (commission); Regina Taylor’s “Crowns” (commission); Dael Orlandersmith’s “Yellowman” (commission); Athol Fugard’s “Valley Song;” and Stephen Wadsworth’s Marivaux trilogy. McCarter has also produced major new productions of Brian Friel’s “Translations,” directed by Garry Hynes; Nilo Cruz’s “Anna in the Tropics” and Edward Albee’s “All Over,” directed by Emily Mann; and “Electra,” directed by David Leveaux. McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. www.mccarter.org.

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Actors’ NET offers eclectic, electric entertainment

Special to Times Publishing Newspapers, Inc.

Morrisville’s own Actors’ NET of Bucks County continues its 18th season with Tennessee Williams masterwork, “The Night of the Iguana.”  The steamy tale of a fallen clergyman who faces further temptations in a seedy Mexican hotel in the 1940S performs now through February 2nd at The Heritage Center on N. Delmorr Avenue in Morrisville.

“Our eclectic and electric 18th season is thrilling our audiences,” exclaimed Actors’ NET General Manager Joe Doyle. Co-founded in 1996 by Joe and his wife, Cheryl, “The NET” has staged more than a show a month in the borough since their volunteers converted the former municipal garage into a theatre space in 1999.  

Year-round, Actors’ NET attracts performers and audience members from throughout the region, especially Bucks and Mercer Counties. The NET also offers a four-week youth musical theatre program, “The Summer Stars.”

Starting the first Monday after the Fourth of July (this year, beginning July 7th), children age seven to 12 attend classes for four weeks on weekday mornings, while teens age 13 to 17 attend afternoon classes. Taught the basics in acting, singing and dance by business professionals, both groups at course’s end perform original musicals custom-written for the students. All have solos and get a chance for his or her moment to star. 

The NET holds group auditions several times a year, and also auditions people on an individual basis. Anyone interested in acting with can call or email them to set up an appointment. In addition, The NET always needs volunteers.

Following “The Night of the Iguana,” the season continues February 28th – March 23rd with Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Price-winning comic drama “August: Osage County”; William Shakespeare’s epic drama “Julius Caesar” follows April 25th – May 11th; Ken Ludwig’s hilarious comic farce “Moon Over Buffalo” then runs May 30th – June 15th and wraps up the season July 11th – 27th with “Les Liaisons Dangereuse,” Christopher Hampton’s sensuous and steamy swashbuckling drama about intrigue among French nobility. 

The Actors’ NET performs at The Heritage Center – 635 N. Delmorr Avenue (Route 32), Morrisville – near the Calhoun Street Bridge. Performing year-round, show admission is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors over 61 and $10 for children under 13.

For further information or reservations, call the nonprofit Actors’ NET at 215-295-3694 or email actorsnet@aol.com. The NET is also accessible on-line at www.actorsnetbucks.org

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Student’s plays selected for staged reading

 

New Hope-Solebury senior, Cady Heath, and freshman, Maggie Dougherty, have had their plays selected by the “McCarter Theatre 2013 Youth Ink! Festivals of Plays, Playwrights and Playwriting.” 

Cady’s play, “Albuquerque,” and Maggie’s play “Play Your Way Out,”were selected among NH-S entries for further development and professional staged reading.

Each year, Youth Ink! works with three to five selected secondary schools with the goal of empowering students to be young playwrights.  Theater teacher Melanie Pittner was able to apply to the program through funding provided by the New Hope-Solebury Education Fund. 

In a five-week period, professional playwrights from McCarter visited with Ms. Pittner’s students, critiquing and fine-tuning their plays. Cady’s and Maggie’s plays will be featured during the festival at McCarter Theater on Wednesday, May 22nd, from 9:00am to 2:30pm.  The festival is open to students, educators, administrators, and funders.  For more information, email palekson@mccarter.org or call 609-258-8288.

PHOTO CAP: Maggie Dougherty (left) and Cady Heath

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‘The Pajama Game’ at Poquessing Middle School

Poquessing Middle School will perform “The Pajama Game” from February 20th through the 23rd at the school, located at 300 Heights Lane in Feasterville.

Show times are Wednesday through Friday, February 20th, 21st, and 22nd at 7:00pm, and Saturday, February 23rd at 1:00pm. Reserved seats are $8, general admission is $6.

For tickets e-mail DBOYLE18@VERIZON.NET or call 267-784-7880. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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