Adults and Teens Take the Spotlight in The Beverly Hillbillies

'The Berverly Hillbillies' archive view

This summer, many adults and teens are taking the stage at DreamWrights’ production of The Beverly Hillbillies. There a few parts for younger actors, but primarily the show calls for an older cast. DreamWrights Guest Director, Kirk Wisler, is excited about this nuance, “It’s cool because Mom and Dad are really getting some time in the spotlight.”

A handful of these participants are new to DreamWrights. This might be the first time audiences will meet them. Kirk laughs, “The cast is doing such a good job getting into character, that I think they will be remembered as their character more than their actual identities. Hopefully this show will be talked about and looked back on for many years.”

'The Berverly Hillbillies' archive view

Humor is a large part of what makes this production appealing. Kirk explains, “I was attracted to this show because of the comedy aspect to it. It’s so much fun to block a show and add in your personal comedic taste. This show is very familiar to audiences, which builds the anticipation to see it!” Kirk is aware of the challenge the familiarity presents to him as a director. “Audience members have an idea in their head of each character and how the story should go. So it’s my job to make sure we live up to their expectations, while at the same time giving them something that they haven’t seen before.”

Kirk, the cast, and the crew are having a lot of fun staging the show and they hope audiences are equally entertained. It is Kirk’s hope that participants and audience members alike can forget about all the seriousness and negativity in the world today and instead, can enjoy themselves for a couple of hours. “Maybe that can carry over into the rest of their week or summer,” wishes Kirk.

'The Berverly Hillbillies' archive view

Director Kirk Wisler started at DreamWrights when he was in 4th grade acting, stage managing, and later coordinating stage combat scenes. He directed his first production, The Mouse that Roared, last summer and had such a good time that he is returning this summer to direct The Beverly Hillbillies.

The Beverly Hillbillies opens Friday, August 12 at 6:30pm and runs August 13, 19, 20 at 6:30pm and August 13, 14, 20, 21 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

Building Imagination in a Diverse World

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For the past several years, Susan Craver has encouraged her granddaughters to participate in DreamWrights summer camps. Grandmother to 9 year old Ruby and 7 year old Dahlia, Susan knew her girls were creative and imaginative and she wanted to give them an outlet.

She tells a story about a day recently when she heard from her daughter about the girls. “My daughter said that Dahlia was upstairs producing a rock opera with singing parts for all the ponies. She was acting out the whole play singing every part. Meanwhile, Ruby was downstairs with all of her Fisher Price toys set out like they were in a play.” Susan recognizes, “They have wonder and pretend in them. They are great pretenders.”

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Ruby at Sculpture Camp

According to Susan, Ruby chose to do the sculpture class this summer. “She wanted to do something more artistic and hands-on rather than a production this year.” Susan says Ruby is more of a hands-on person where Dahlia is more active. “In the circus camp, she was all over the place.” She says with a chuckle. “That’s the great thing about theater because there’s always a slot for whatever your talent is.”

Susan has enjoyed bringing her granddaughters to productions at DreamWrights and they have loved everything they have come to see. “I see the benefits both from attending the productions as well as getting children to participate.” Both she and the girls have come to appreciate the group effort that it takes to stage a show. “There is a big element of cooperation that’s way beyond just standing up and doing your part.”

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Dahlia at Under the Big Top camp

Throughout the years that her granddaughters have been active at DreamWrights, Susan has seen a change in the mix of children who are participating. “Because we are diverse in the city – and I’m glad DreamWrights is in the city – I’m all for having as many different kids participating as possible. I think theater offers a diversity in and of itself that is just great for kids.” Indeed, DreamWrights welcomes kids of all backgrounds and ethnicities as we continue to “Build Characters for Life.”

Burn This

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A Public Service Announcement from Bob T. Builder.

It’s fire pit time in the York area and what is your best source for wood? Why DreamWrights, of course! We are making room for the renovations and are clearing out a lot of our shorter lumber. Just imagine yourself sitting around the backyard fire and reaching for a piece of 1×4 that may have been in Seussical, Ann of Green Gables or perhaps the legendary Annie. Ah! The memories! Reminds me of that old country song. “Throw Another Memory on the Fire”.
And with winter coming up you should be stocking kindling for the wood stove.

Did you know that you can do more with wood than just burn it?! People have been known to make blocks and toys from theater shop scraps.

So bring a big box and visit the basement Scene Shop. You will find several bins roughly in the middle of the basement with a sign, “Burn this”.

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Contact Bob T. if you have any questions or need help.

This will be a big service to DreamWrights. If we can’t send this off to be burned, we might have to rent a dumpster, and you know we have better things to do with our money!

Going Hillbilly

You know your community theatre has gone hillbilly when…

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Your gutted roadkill prop contains interesting hors d’oeuvres.
Beth S.

After rehearsal you google “sowbelly” and “hand-slung chitlins” (and then regret it).
Andrea U.

You find yourself looking for a cement pond when it gets hot.
Stephen N.

The show’s publicity posters proclaim: Y’all come in and set a spell!
Chuck

You mistakenly come to the theatre looking for good stuff cheap.
Steve Olewiler

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Everyone looks and sounds like a hillbilly even when not on set.
Jo Olewiler

They redesign the construction project to move the “bathrooms” 50 feet beyond the building.
Kevin Alvarnaz

The word “fixin” takes on many meanings.
Steve R.

When you call a pool a “cement pond”.
Kirsten

When you start saying “fer” instead of “for”.
Madelyn

When you can’t stop speaking in that accent.
Mikella

When you can’t remember how to read.
Austin O.

When you start dressing like one fer sure.
Patrick H.

Don’t you want to be a hillbilly too?! The Beverly Hillbillies opens Friday, August 12 at 6:30pm and runs August 13, 19, 20 at 6:30pm and August 13, 14, 20, 21 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

DreamWrights Benefits from Two Unsuspecting Role Models

When they learned about DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign, it was eleven year old Maddie Trimmer’s and fourteen year old Sophie Nicholson’s natural inclination to jump right in to help in any way they could. Maddie remembers her parents discussing the campaign, “I heard them talking about how they were going to donate some money and I said, ‘Well, can I donate some money too?’” So Maddie began doing odd jobs around her mother’s office for some extra cash.

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Mom Gina Trimmer explains, “DreamWrights is so near and dear to her heart. That it is what comes first. It’s natural for her. When we talked about doing the capital campaign, she said, ‘Well what can I do?!’ Our mouths dropped and it touched us to know that she wanted to give to something. To help.”

Sophie is no stranger to philanthropy. This will be the fifth summer of hosting her lemonade stand to raise money for the non-profits that she believes in. But this recent contribution to the capital campaign was in addition to her annual lemonade stand donation. To earn the extra cash, she picked up some jobs like cat sitting and washing the dog. When she earns money, she divides her earnings into save, spend, and donate. She says she saves up the donate money until she decides what she wants to do with it. “And then we were going to the kickoff event,” she says. She knew the timing was right.

“When I gave money to DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign it made me feel good. I felt like I was helping because DreamWrights is kind of like my second home. It felt exciting for me that we’re getting to contribute to what’s going to happen [with the construction] and how cool that’s going to make DreamWrights with the re-do-al,” Sophie says with a giggle, knowing that she just made up her own word, just like Director Diane.

Maddie interjects, “I hope this place gets more people and opens up a lot more and that people fall in love with it like we did. It is a place that’s really special to a lot of people because you can be yourself and it doesn’t really matter. You don’t get judged. I felt good inside [to give] because it is a place that I really love.”

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“I hope this campaign will help DreamWrights get more recognized,” Sophie anticipates. “This is so big. There were a lot of people who don’t come to DreamWrights who came to that kickoff event. I really hope that maybe they’ll be like, ‘Oh! This is a really cool place and I can help make it better.’ I hope more people will be drawn to the welcoming and loving family of DreamWrights.”

When it is pointed out to the girls that they are role models for not only other kids, but also adults and community members who might not realize the importance of supporting non-profits that they believe in, both girls were dumbfounded. They never thought of themselves as role models. After a few minutes of thinking about it, Sophie humbly comments, “I’ve given before but I never thought about the fact that I could influence someone else to do something of the same.” Maddie modestly agrees, “I didn’t realize that, wow, I might be a role model for some total stranger.”

Although these girls were not the largest donors, they understand that every dollar counts. Sophie nails it, “It doesn’t matter whether it is a dollar or a thousand. You are making a difference. Every step is a closer step to the goal. Even a dollar – that’s stepping closer to where DreamWrights wants to be. It doesn’t matter what you give.” She’s absolutely right. Every amount helps and, even better, there is something about giving that makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’re part of a larger community working towards a common goal.

Maddie adds, “You are contributing to a great place that could change someone’s life any day. You could be a role model too. It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are. Whatever you are… it’s just… you count!”

About DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign
On July 1, DreamWrights kicked off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals: to grow programs and audience and to revitalize our landmark, historic building. Community support is essential in helping DreamWrights reach its $2.5 million goal.

DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign Opens the Curtain Wider

Karin Swartz

Twenty something Karin Swartz is struggling to find theatre arts offerings in the York area for her age group. She says that local productions that appeal to her are few and far between. “I would love to see more offerings, especially straight plays and productions that push boundaries, try new concepts and are well done. I think this could include both traveling shows as well as local productions.”

Karin is a young professional who spent a number of her formative years at DreamWrights. Growing up, she participated in several production camps, served as a stage manager, and ran light and sound boards. Later, Karin did the lighting design for the DreamWrights production of MASH.

Karin’s DreamWrights experience had a big enough impact on her that she went on to pursue it after high school. She majored in theatre at Ursinus College with a focus on technical theatre, stage management, production design and lighting design. “If it were not for that first production camp at DreamWrights where I learned that there was a place in theater for the hyper-organized, coordinator-of-all-those-in-the-vicinity planner that I am, I may not have pursued it at all.”

Despite the fact that she had not been active at DreamWrights for many years, when Executive Director Ann Davis asked her to be a part of the fundraising committee for DreamWrights’ $2.5 million capital campaign, she didn’t hesitate to jump in. “I may not have been the target audience for the programming of DreamWrights Youth and Family Theater but I still recognized its value to younger generations and families. As I learned about the new mission of DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, I became even more excited knowing that there is a place for the programming I grew up with as well as a multitude of other opportunities for the live arts.”

Once Karin was on board to help with the campaign, DreamWrights learned of her interest in directing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged. With less than a month’s notice, Karin agreed to direct an abbreviated version of the show at DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign Kickoff Event. Karin explains. “Complete Works is a hilarious show and one that anyone who has picked up, seen or experienced Shakespeare will enjoy. The true fans of the Bard will love all the details but a novice fan will appreciate the larger references to his most popular work. I wanted to stage this show, or part of it, because I miss theatre and I think this is an easy to digest piece of theatre that is new to many of the audience members that will see it.”

Complete Works

On June 30, Director Swartz, dressed in black behind the curtain, along with Bryan Caine, Mike Pritchard and Patrick Casey performed an abbreviated version of Complete Works to an eager audience at DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign Kickoff Event. The performance was a hit! Along with acts like Kingsfoil, Illstyle & Peace, and Oxymorons, DreamWrights introduced its potential to young professionals, solidifying its place in the York community as a center for performance arts.

Karin sums it up, “I’m really excited about the future of DreamWrights as a Center for Community Arts! There is so much potential for great programming, education and productions!”

The possibilities the capital campaign will provide for DreamWrights are indeed exciting. Stay tuned!

About Karin Swartz: President of York Young Professionals, Karin works at York Country Day School as the Director of Communications. She is thrilled about YCDS’ anticipated new performing arts center scheduled to open later this summer.

About DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign: On July 1, DreamWrights kicked off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals: to grow programs and audience and to revitalize our landmark, historic building.

Community support like Karin’s is essential in helping DreamWrights reach its $2.5 million goal.

Making Dreams Come True

Thirteen year old Dream Scholar, Bianca G., says that the motto at DreamWrights is true. “DreamWrights is a place where dreams do come true. I never thought that I would be in a performing arts program or that I might ever see a live performance.” But this summer, both of these dreams came true for this hard working young lady.

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The first week of summer camps, Bianca helped out as a teen counselor for two mini musicals, Pajama Party and Dinostars. Although very quiet and reserved, Bianca’s passion for theatre soon became very apparent. She was diligent in her counselor duties, she loved working with the younger kids, and she soaked up every bit of theatre experience she was exposed to that week. Bianca says, “I loved contributing and helping the younger kids because I could memorize their choreography and help them.” She took the initiative to work with some of the kids, providing them some extra coaching, when the Teaching Artist was busy with other campers.

During her down time, Bianca loved looking at the photo displays of actors and prior DreamWrights performances. She had never seen a live show before and when she realized that the musical, Legally Blonde was opening at the end of the week, she began to save towards the cost of a ticket. Summer Camp Coordinator, Hannah Kohler, remembers, “She would give me updates every day. ‘Last night I did this for five dollars and today I’m doing this for a dollar so I can earn enough money to buy a ticket to see Legally Blonde.’ She was determined to see the show.”

And she did. She was there in the fifth row on opening night. She loved it. When the show was over she patiently waited for every actor’s signature on her program. She said she would treasure that program forever. Bianca remembers, “I was in my seat and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. I liked all the songs. I sang them when I went home. Literally I was talking about it all week the week after. I pulled up the Broadway version on YouTube and watched it a million times.”

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A few weeks later it was time for Bianca to come back to DreamWrights as a camp participant. She couldn’t wait. It was not a surprise that she chose to attend Broadway week. “I picked Broadway Week because I really like musicals and I think that maybe if I got to learn songs I could practice and that way when I get more successful I might be somewhere probably on Broadway or in a different show somewhere else.” Sure enough, during the week she learned many songs and even worked on a few solos. Bianca said Freak Flag from Shrek was her favorite.

On the eve of her Broadway camp performance, Bianca was full of anticipation. “I can’t wait to perform tomorrow because I’m going to be up there and a lot of people in my group always are cheering me on and we always have a laugh together and it is really fun. It is going to be sad tomorrow because the friends I made this week are really amazing.”

When asked about what she learned at DreamWrights, Bianca says, “The number one lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t have to be scared while singing up on stage because I know that the people I’m singing with really won’t judge me. We don’t judge anybody here because everyone is perfect in their own way.”

Bianca says she enjoys performance arts whether she’s onstage, back stage, or in the audience. She says she loves it “as long as I feel like I’m a part of it. Even in the audience you’re a part of it. Because you’re making people feel good about themselves when you sit there and watch them and when you cheer for them. Either way, when I’m backstage helping with lights or whatever it doesn’t really matter because I know that I’m a part of the solution.” But the most important part is to have fun and to let people know who you are. “Because you never know, maybe that person might star somewhere. Maybe their name might be heard somewhere, even if it is just something little. It is something that could influence other people.”

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We fully expect to see Bianca’s name in lights someday.

About Bianca G.: Bianca is a middle schooler at Helen Thackston Charter School. She wants to be a comic when she grows up. She loves musicals and comedies and likes to make people laugh without hurting their feelings. She says the best part about DreamWrights is the people. Next month, Bianca will be moving with her mother and two younger sisters. She is hoping to continue to develop her talent at a place like DreamWrights in her new town.

A Summer Institution: Shakespeare Free in the Parks

For its 18th summer, Theatre Under The Trees is adding a modern, musical twist to the classic Shakespeare comedy, As You Like It. Theatre Under The Trees has always brought unique, show-specific music to York County audiences thanks to co-founder, music, and voice director Gayle Eubank. Eubank will be composing original music for the five songs included in the play, taking inspiration from the late 1980’s. These songs will be performed by Strange Oaths, a five part band created just for the show.

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Band Strange Oaths, a band original to Theatre Under the Trees’ As You Like It. (left to right) standing: Johan Unger, Jesse Stagg, Gayle Eubank, seated: Andrea Hammond, Erika Broadaway

Shakespeare’s As You Like It begins with a bitter fight between brothers, followed by a wrestling match with a surprising outcome. Then banished cousins Rosalind and Celia travel to the very musical locale of Arden, where they are surprised to find love letters posted everywhere proclaiming Rosalind’s virtues. Once the mysterious suitor is revealed as Orlando, Rosalind takes advantage of her boyish disguise to educate him about the truths of women to the amusement of Celia and her jester, Touchstone. Rosalind’s banished father and his friends and a trio of shepherds are added to the Arden mix for even livelier entertainment.

Sponsored in party by the Hall Foundation, As You Like It opens on July 22, 6:30 pm at Gifford Pinchot State Park. 7 performances follow. Bring a blanket and some friends and come to the park nearest you. All performances are free, but donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, please visit http://www.dreamwrights.org/2016-season/as-you-like-it.

July 22 6:30 pm Gifford Pinchot State Park
July 23 5:30 pm Brown’s Orchards & Farm Market
July 24 6:30 pm Cousler Park
July 26 6:30 pm Rudy County Park
July 28 6:30 pm Sam Lewis State Park
July 29 6:30 pm William Kain County Park
July 30 6:30 pm Codorus State Park
July 31 2:30 pm DreamWrights

A Place for All

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Stauch’s granddaughter during a Seussical rehearsal…

For 70 year old Jim Stauch, DreamWrights means opportunities for his granddaughters. One loved the theatre from a young age and fit right in. The other was more reticent because she is on the autism spectrum. “DreamWrights has given her the opportunity to assimilate into mainstream activities,” Jim explains. “The people at DreamWrights treat her like a normal child. They don’t do anything special. But she has the opportunity to express herself.” DreamWrights gives both of these girls – as well as everybody – the opportunity to get involved and express themselves.

Jim is astounded at the growth he’s seen in his granddaughter as a result of the opportunities she’s experienced at DreamWrights. He says the transformation is remarkable. “From being withdrawn with the rest of the family to now with her confidence to be on stage, to recite poems, from the traveling show to a main production, it’s… wow, it’s just awesome.”

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…and helping out as a teen camp counselor

Jim knows better than anyone the value of the DreamWrights experience. “DreamWrights is here for everybody, regardless of disabilities and handicaps. It’s here for the youngest, for the oldest. It’s all inclusive to everybody. You can feel at home here. You can learn. Any investment in DreamWrights is an investment in the community. It’s a place where kids can come, express themselves, stay out of trouble, and do more than just play on computers.”

Thanks, Jim, for bravely sharing your story with us. We applaud your granddaughter’s successes and look forward to seeing her participate in her next production!

DreamWrights Launches $2.5 Million Capital Campaign to Update Building and Programming

On July 1, DreamWrights Center for Community Arts kicks off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. The Campaign effort is headed up by J. T. Hand, COO at The York Water Company, and Suzanne McConkey, Vice President of Human Resources at Glatfelter Insurance. Together with Executive Director, Ann Davis, and a handful of Ambassadors and Solicitors, DreamWrights will hit the ground running on July 1, one day following a community centered kickoff event.

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Suzanne McConkey (left) and JT Hand (right), DreamWrights Capital Campaign Co-Chairs

The work made possible by this campaign will complement, not replace the capital improvements made more than ten years ago. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and programming, and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals:
Grow Programs and Audience – DreamWrights will expand and diversify its programming, participants, and stakeholders, thereby meeting its mission more fully. The renovations will enable DreamWrights to create better spaces for experimentation, participation, and learning throughout the building.
Revitalize a Landmark Historic Building – The investments made possible by this campaign will ensure that the physical building is fully up to code, activated, and protected.

Both Hand and McConkey have a unique perspective on the DreamWrights organization and the value it holds in the York community. Hand has seen first-hand the amazing impact DreamWrights has on young people when his own children participated in theatre productions. Hand expresses, “We are blessed to live, work and serve in a community that has supported us, encouraged us, and embraced performing arts in our historic theatre. For nearly twenty years, DreamWrights’ founders, staff, volunteers, and the entire DreamWrights family, have espoused a culture of inclusion and accessibility. At DreamWrights, we grow characters for life.”

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McConkey was not introduced to the organization through her kids as Hand and most other community members were, so she does not share the same connection to the program side. However, she is a strong supporter and sees DreamWrights as a center for community education. “Providing this opportunity for people to grow and learn about themselves, other people, and life skills is really impressive to me. The fact that adults and children are learning together and supporting each other is just phenomenal. It’s such a unique opportunity. I’ve always been drawn to the educational piece of it, the life skills the kids and even adults are learning, the respect for each other, and that they are given this opportunity to put themselves out there. So what if they might mess up or might not quite get there? There are no repercussions. It is risk-free, safe and comfortable.”

With pride in its past and passion and excitement for its future, DreamWrights is pursuing this Capital Campaign as the central, structural element of a multi-year and multi-faceted transition. DreamWrights is seeking to cultivate the community’s next generation of donors and leaders, while building relationships and partnerships that will sustain the Center for Community Arts. Hand believes, “Through this campaign we have an opportunity to open wide our doors, to draw back the curtains, and offer more diverse and expansive programming.”

McConkey agrees, “DreamWrights offers the opportunity for people of all ages to test their creative juices and energy in a very safe and comfortable place. DreamWrights brings together people who have different life experiences. It gives kids the opportunity to do something other than sports and electronics and meet kids outside of their classroom and school district. It gets adults connecting with people outside of their typical circle. That’s why it is important to me. The Capital Campaign will allow us to do more of that.”