Category Archives: directing

Top 10 Best Moments of DreamWrights 2016

As we countdown the days to 2017, our twentieth year, we take a moment to relish our accomplishments and great memories from 2016.

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10. Our transition from a Youth and Family Theatre to a Center for Community Arts

In March we began to transition our identity from a Youth and Family Theatre to a Center Community Arts. Building characters for life became our mantra while putting growth center stage was identified as the inspiration behind our capital campaign. As a Center for Community Arts, a new Innovative Programming Committee was formed and wasted no time sponsoring DreamWrights’ first Open Mic Night. Budding comedians, talented musicians, and a friendly faced magician graced the stage of our relaxed and casual space. We had so much fun we are planning to do it again soon!

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Zombies in the elevator at DreamFrights

9. New camp and event programming

This year, DreamWrights offered a wider array of art and performance based camps as well as a few new events. Our first ever DreamFrights Haunted House was a huge success! With different fright levels, we were able to entertain young ones up through older kids and adults who enjoy the thrill of the scare. We hosted a tea parties during the runs of The Secret Garden and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and we had cookies, cocoa, and caroling with Santa, Dorothy, and the Wizard in Oz earlier this month. Flippin’ Broadway, a cabaret of Broadway show tunes with a fun twist, was a crowd pleaser in February.

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As for summer camps, this year we offered 24 different exciting and creative camps. These included three Disney performance camps, 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella, and Aladdin. We also held art camps taught by local artists Rita Whitney and Karen Paust, a digital photography camp taught by Randy Flaum of White Rose Community TV, and a poetry class taught by York’s poet laureate, Christine Lincoln. We are planning equally innovative, clever, and exciting camps and classes again this coming summer. Spread the word and tell your friends!

8. Our beautifully designed sets

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The Secret Garden

This year, DreamWrights raised the bar with our set design by employing the talents of some amazing designers and builders. Fifteen year old first time set designer, Jacob Schlenker, gave a beautiful and sassy makeover to the set of Legally Blonde. The first ever DreamWrights raked (sloped) stage was designed by Billy Ferrell for The Adventures of Peter RabbitAllen Brenner brought us a beautiful two story set staged in alley configuration with the audience on two sides for The Secret Garden. Most recently, the illustrious Ray Olewiler designed a magical set that was over the rainbow.

7. The enthusiasm and energy that Guest Directors bring

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Guest Directors Andrea Unger and Chris Quigley

This year, DreamWrights benefited from the expertise of five guest directors: Andrea Unger (Our Miss Brooks and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit), Nic Ecker (Legally Blonde), Michelle Denise Norton (As You Like It), Kirk Wisler (The Beverly Hillbillies), and Jaci Keagy (The Wizard of Oz). In anticipation of the upcoming season, where we will be using six guest directors and three guest assistant directors, a formalized guest director process was introduced. The first introduction and kickoff meeting for guest directors was held in early December. Please join us in welcoming Guest Directors Rodd Robertson (directing Pride and Prejudice), Andrea Unger (Peter Pan and Mary), Michelle Denise Norton (The Taming of the Shrew), Timothy Storey (The Mousetrap), Chris Quigley (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), and Jaci Keagy (It’s a Wonderful Life) as well as Guest Assistant Directors Amanda Nowell, Kevin Alvarnaz, and Andrea Unger. We hope that our improved processes for these guest directors will make for an even better experience for our crews, casts, and audiences!

6. Our community celebration to kick off our capital campaign

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On June 30, to kick off the public phase of our capital campaign, we threw open wide our doors and invited the local community to meet our refreshed Center for Community Arts. Nearly 200 friendly faces joined us in the celebration. This exciting event featured performers and artists that included: YWCA’s Temple Guard Drill Team, Devix, Kingsfoil, Weary Arts Group, First Capital Drumline, Illstyle & Peace presented by Positive Energy Arts Foundation, and DreamWrights’ own Theatre Under the Trees and StAGEs troupes.

 

5. Our StAGEs program winning a Nonprofit Innovation Award

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In February, DreamWrights was awarded a Nonprofit Innovation Award in the category of collaboration with StARTSomething by the Central Penn Business Journal for our work with StAGES, our creative improv class for folks 55 and older. StAGEs encourage active participation in the performing arts. Thanks to additional support from the Cultural Alliance Creative Impact Award, this year our StAGEs troupe has made new friends, new memories, and has had tons of laughs while enjoying the benefits of “creative aging.”

4. A successful internal transition

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This year we honored the career of founding member, Diane Crews, and we welcomed Hilary Adams, our new Director of Artistic Programming. Diane’s DreamWrights career was memorialized in the naming of our black box theatre. Hilary has hit the ground running as she is currently finalizing the crews and casts of her first DreamWrights production, Babe, the Sheep-Pig.

3. Being on TV and performing to sold out crowds

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We ended the year with a bang as we enjoyed our 4 minutes of fame on Fox 43‘s morning show on December 1. It was a great way to kick off our run of The Wizard of Oz as nearly every show was sold out. Our hearts, minds, and confidence was renewed as we remember that there’s no place like home – or your second home – as many of you call this place known as DreamWrights.

2. Community support of our capital campaign

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Executive Director, Ann Davis, with Mayor Kim Bracey and York City Solicitor and DW Board Member, Jason Sabol at Hats at the Hound fundraiser event

What began as a dream took a foothold in reality this year with the funds we have raised towards our capital campaign. We brought our message to the broader community through fundraising events like Hats at the Hound. Although we have not met our goal of $2.5 million dollars, we are standing strong at $1.8 million with phased construction plans and approvals from the appropriate local municipalities to begin moving forward with our construction this spring. We are excited for the opportunities the future holds with the new studio space, upgraded building enhancements, and expanded programming. We have received some amazing support from businesses and individuals alike. We thank you for your support. If you have not done so already, we graciously ask you to consider helping us get closer to our goal.

1. You walking through our doors

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Your involvement is what makes DreamWrights the amazing community it is. People of all ages, from all backgrounds and experiences are welcome to safely explore the arts, try new things, and be part of something bigger than themselves. DreamWrights builds characters for life. We look forward to working together with you again in the coming year to create our best, brightest, and biggest year yet!

Happy New Year from DreamWrights!

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

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(l.to r.) Doug Walters, Waverly Speranza holding Daisy, Brandon Flemmens,  and Billy Ferrell

This holiday season, DreamWrights Center for Community Arts is staging the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of The Wizard of Oz.  This classic story, in which a Kansas farm girl travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home, has been entertaining audiences for generations. The R.S.C. version is described as a more “faithful” adaptation of the film that many know and love. Guest Director Jaci Keagy explains, “Some of it will be very familiar, but there will be a few new things as well.”

Keagy, who directed more than 60 productions at Dover High School before retiring last April, makes her directorial debut at DreamWrights. In fact, about a quarter of this show’s crew and cast are new to DreamWrights.  Keagy admits, “I love directing and knew I wanted to get involved as a director in community theatre when I retired. I accepted the challenge of this double casted musical with trepidation, but I’ve loved every minute of the experience and, even after all of my other shows, I’ve learned so many things.”

Chris Quigley, a familiar face (and voice) in York’s musical and performance scene, appears for the first time on the DreamWrights stage playing the cowardly Lion. Ironically, Quigley’s first experience with The Wizard of Oz was when he played the braggart munchkin at the age of ten when he attended York Catholic. But, his Oz history doesn’t stop there. In 2005, he directed the show at Susquehannock High School and most recently, he tapped his way into hearts as the Tinman at Acts of Kindness Theatre in a sheet metal costume. Chris says, “I love being the Lion now. So happy I wasn’t picked for the Tinman. I’ve done that before and I was afraid they’d pick me for that.  It’s so nice doing a comedy part.”

Making their performance debuts are Daisy Raymond and Pepper Hollabaugh, both of whom play Toto during separate performances. The whole crew and cast is excited to add these two adorable distractions to the performance and, as Keagy points out, “The cute kids and dogs create an instant aww factor!”

The Wizard of Oz opens Friday, December 2 and runs December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 6:30pm and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18 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.

 

Meet Our New Director of Artistic Programming

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In a completely new position to DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, Hilary Adams joins the team as Director of Artistic Programming. In this visionary role, Adams will work with and oversee all areas of programming and show direction, even directing some shows herself.

Growing up on the east coast, Adams was introduced at a very young age to theatre, ballet, opera, and puppetry. Pretty quickly she was hooked. She remembers, “My first forays onto the stage were around the age of five, when I began acting in community and school productions. In my teens, I directed shows in my high school, assistant directed a summer musical theatre camp for young people at the local community center, and attended Yale University’s graduate acting program in summer session.”

At Evergreen State College, she worked with a children’s touring theatre based in Basingstoke, England. The experiences and challenges she faced setting up in places like barns and grange halls, offering up what, in many cases, was the community’s only theatre production for the year, made her realize how much of a difference access to the arts made to a community. Thus, her love for community theatre arts and education was born.

After college, Adams headed to New York City to intern at Playwrights Horizons. From there, she was offered a Society of Directors and Choreographers Foundation Observership in the position of 2nd Assistant Director on the Broadway show Titanic. She assistant directed three more Broadway shows (Aida in Chicago and NYC, Collected Stories, Reckless) and assisted the playwright David Henry Hwang on Flower Drum Song. In addition, she also served as personal assistant to Hwang. She received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play for her direction of Works Productions’ Moby Dick, and was awarded 5 Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellowships.

Adams earned a master’s degree in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York (CUNY). She explains, “Applied Theatre is using theatre for education, social development, and community building, in addition to entertainment. This is exactly what I have been passionately practicing in various forms since I was a teenager.” She put these skills into practice when, as part of the master’s program, she worked with the Creative Arts Team Youth Theatre, trained in interactive storytelling for preschoolers, and worked with Carte Blanche, a youth theatre in Viborg, Denmark.

All in all, Adams has directed hundreds of plays and musicals from staged readings to full-fledged productions. She has held many theatre positions, from Assistant Directing on Broadway to participation in many festivals, handling both world premieres and previously produced material. She even served as the Artistic Director for a mid-west community theatre for two years.

As far as DreamWrights, Adams says, “When I learned about DreamWrights I knew I had found a perfect match for my values, and an artistic home where I can give back through my work.” She feels that her Applied Theatre background will be useful as she anticipates returning to the heart of what is most important to her, “the intersection of community and the arts, with a solid foundation of education inside of all theatre practice. I was seeking a theatrical home that was as passionate as I about the importance of arts for and with community. I’ve found that in DreamWrights.”

DreamWrights is excited and anxious to introduce Hilary Adams to the greater York community. Join DreamWrights for a “Meet and Greet” prior to the evening show of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit on October 8 from 5:00pm – 6:30pm.

Find the Hidden “Easter Eggs”

l to r: Noah Youcheff and Randy Riley rehearse a scene for 'The Adventures of Peter Rabbit'
l to r: Noah Youcheff and Randy Riley

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit opens at DreamWrights Center for Community Arts with some hidden surprises for the audience to discover. These “Easter eggs” help to knit the scenes together, adding another layer to the story. This is an aspect of the show that really excites Guest Director, Andrea Unger. “In our production meetings, we’ve discussed visuals and sounds that tie Beatrix Potter’s real life – reality – to her imagination – her stories. For instance, the jacket that Peter Rabbit wears is the same jacket that Noel Moore, the boy for whom Peter Rabbit was written, also wears. This particular production offered many opportunities for this extra layering. Not everyone in the audience will consciously notice these subtle details. Hopefully, those who do will find as much delight in discovering them as we did in making them.”

Sarah Byers, foreground, plays the writer Beatrix Potter, with a group of characters she created in the background, in production of 'The Adventures of Peter Rabbit'
Sarah Byers, foreground, plays the writer Beatrix Potter, with a group of characters she created in the background

Unger admits that at first she was unsure about directing this production because she thought the play was about Peter Rabbit. But then she read the script and realized she was mistaken. Unger explains, “I was captured by the depth of the story, which is actually more about Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit stories. The play portrays her life, and how some of her stories came to be, in an imaginative and playful narration.” Unger says the storyline moves quickly enough to keep the attention of younger children while being complex enough to keep the attention of adults, too. “You will learn something and you will laugh. And the mice are just so darned cute!”

DreamWrights is offering the chance to enjoy tea and confections with Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit on Saturday, October 22 from 1:00 – 2:00pm. The tea is open to all ages and attendees are encouraged to wear their garden party finery. The cost for the tea is $10 per person. Stay for the 2:30pm matinee and save $3. Tickets for the tea are available through Oct. 21 at 4:00pm.

l to r: Dana Cutti, Lilly Einsig and Jonah Unger rehearse a scene for 'The Adventures of Peter Rabbit'
l to r: Dana Cutti, Lilly Einsig and Jonah Unger

The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and its delightful surprises opens Friday, October 7 and runs October 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 6:30pm and October 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 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.

Honoring Diane Crews

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For nearly twenty years, DreamWrights founding member and Artistic Director, Diane Crews, has built a youth and family theatre based on a culture of growth, responsibility, and exploration in a safe and accepting environment. On Saturday, September 24, the DreamWrights family came together to honor Crews as she is set to retire at the end of the month.

J.T. Hand, President of DreamWrights’ Board of Directors, believes that although Crews is retiring, the foundation she has fostered and built will persevere well beyond the current generation. Hand explains, “We don’t see this as an end, but rather as part of DreamWrights maturing. We’re not done growing yet. This culture will persist and anyone who walks into this theatre will be able to feel it. It is and will continue to be palpable.”

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Saturday’s heartfelt retirement party was emceed by long time DreamWrights members, Paul and Corinne Brown. Paul Brown reflects, “Diane has touched so many lives in so many ways, we wanted to represent a good cross section of presenters.” These presenters included Paige Hoke, Timothy Storey, Kevin Alvarnaz, Steve Brown, and Joan Bitzer. Brown noted that at least twenty additional audience members spoke on Diane’s behalf from the floor. Hand adds, “This was a very personal event. Many people wanted to speak and thank Diane for the positive impact she had on them.” There was no shortage of love and appreciation coming from the full house.

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In addition to sentimental stories and speeches, the retirement party included an original song written and sung by the Browns and a skit arranged by Crews’ daughter, Shama Mir-Young. In an exciting moment, Board President Hand honored Crews with the announcement that DreamWrights’ black box theatre would now be officially known as “The Diane Crews Black Box Theatre.”

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As Hand revealed the sign to be installed above the entrance to the black box theatre, he likened DreamWrights to a sports team. He said that although some, including him, have never been in a show directed by Crews, “we have all been impacted by her. And just as athletes touch something for inspiration and guidance as they take the field, I foresee the sign named for Crews to be the touchstone for the cast and crew – the DreamWrights team – as it takes the stage. Performers would touch it to remember why there are there and to get inspiration from Diane, even in her retirement.”

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Throughout her nearly twenty years at DreamWrights, Diane Crews directed roughly 70 and wrote more than 30 shows.  Paul Brown reminisces, “She will be remembered for the tone of her shows. They introduced classic values to people and created a kinder community atmosphere. She made the theater a safe place to be and discover your gifts. Diane leaves behind a family of theatre people.”  Crews may be leaving DreamWrights but her legacy and memory will live on in “The Diane Crews Black Box Theatre” and in the hearts and minds of those whom she impacted.

Retirement Party Planned to Honor Founding Member, Diane Crews

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On Saturday, September 24 from 6pm – 9pm, the DreamWrights family will honor founding member and Artistic Director, Diane Crews as she is set to retire at the end of the month. As Crews reflects back on her time at DreamWrights, she remembers, “What began out of a desire for a special place for people of all ages to come together to create live theatre and then share it with audiences of all ages, still is! What began as a dream of a few is now a reality for many!”

Long time DreamWrights members, Paul and Corinne Brown, will emcee the evening which will include a pot luck dinner, a “hit parade” of memories from the nearly 70 shows directed and more than 30 shows written by Crews, and a gift presentation.  Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite DreamWrights t-shirt and share brief stories and memories during the evening.

As Crews makes her exit from the place she called home for the past twenty years, she asks something simple of the family she leaves behind. “As you go forth, may each of you share your many gifts with as many others as you possibly can. What you will get back is priceless.”

All are invited to attend the retirement party. Visit www.dreamwrights.org for more information.

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.”

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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.

Legally Blonde Gives a Makeover to the Traditional Greek Chorus

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Omigosh you guys! This summer, DreamWrights will be showcasing its teen musical, Legally Blonde, complete with a Greek chorus. But, this is definitely not a Greek chorus like anything Aristotle would recognize. This Greek Chorus will be made up of three leading sorority girls: Margot, Serena, and Pilar, who will be on stage throughout the entire show, and only visible to the main character, Elle Woods. Director Nic Ecker explains, “Traditionally these characters appear on stage briefly throughout the musical. For this production, I’m going to change things up by having them interacting with the action on stage, with their sole purpose to help Elle become a lawyer. It’s an interesting concept that, to my knowledge, hasn’t been done in this way before. I am looking forward to these ancient Greek ideas coming to life in this very modern musical.”

In addition to the Greek chorus, Ecker has a wonderful vision for the production. He muses, “My overall concept for this show is to portray Elle in relationship to the changing of the seasons. Elle goes through a metamorphosis during the show, going from Valley Girl to Lawyer, with the help of her friends and classmates.” Ecker’s idea for the show, as well as Elle’s journey, is to begin Act 1 in the fall and transition to the winter, when things aren’t going Elle’s way. At the start of Act 2, Elle begins to blossom as her own person and as an attorney, representing the spring season. By the end of the musical, Elle will have finished her transformation and became her own independent woman, which will have the celebratory feel of summer.

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One of the most contagious themes of the production is that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Ecker hopes his audiences take away a sense of empowerment; that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Ecker is a believer, “No matter what anyone tells you or how much they want to see you fail, if you believe in yourself, that’s all that matters. These themes are all set to catchy, upbeat music, which is never a bad thing!”

This production will be Ecker’s second DreamWrights production as Director. Being a man and not having much experience with sororities or law students, Ecker is rising to the challenge with excitement and enthusiasm. He promises, “Legally Blonde is a fun and upbeat production that has great music and a good message. Since this show was created no more than 10 years ago, everything is very modern and nothing feels outdated. We have a large cast of very talented teens who are excited and eager to create a fantastic production.”

Besides, with a cast ratio of 19 females to 7 males, there is plenty of girl power around to provide Ecker with the burst of estrogen he might need at any given moment. In addition, Ecker says that it helps that many of the cast already know each other. “To my surprise, a lot of the cast is actually from the Dallastown area, all going to school together. I see it as a benefit that almost ten of the cast members are already great friends.”

Nic Ecker Headshot

Director Nic Ecker is recently graduated from Shippensburg University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and minors in Music, Theatre, and Communications/Journalism. Ecker says that directing theatre has become a passion of his and he hopes to continue directing in the future.

This musical production of Legally Blonde opens Thursday, June 23 at 6:30pm and runs June 23, 24 and 25 at 6:30 pm and June 25 and 26 at 2:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

Directors’ Advice: Go Time

DreamWrighters recently turned to our resident and several recent guest directors to learn about their “go time” words of wisdom.

DreamWrighters: Thanks for taking a few moments to share your thoughts with our audience. As a director, as you reflect  on your directing experiences, what is your “go time” advice to your cast just prior to opening curtain?

ANDREA: Our Miss Brooks has a number of new teens— to DreamWrights, but also to the stage in general. Each day of rehearsal has been crammed with “teachable moments,” so we all learned a lot — everyone’s brains are full!  I’m not sure there’s room for more advice. With that in mind, besides the last minute reminders to listen, play open, enunciate, and project, I will encourage my cast and crews to have fun. Just breathe, relax, and enjoy the show.

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Paige Hoke just prior to a show

PAIGE: Listen, concentrate, project, cover, don’t break character, and have fun!

MICHELLE: Breathe.  Relax.  Keep going. If you mess something up, the audience often doesn’t know.  But don’t miss your entrances.

KIRK: You know what you’re doing , this audience will be blown away. You’re a great cast!

RODD:  I don’t put a lot of stock in any last minute speeches before a show.  As a director, I don’t prepare anything ahead of time.  And if I’ve made any last-minute speech, I bet it wasn’t very motivating.  I make so many of those types of speeches during rehearsals, that I don’t think my casts need any more.  I say, keep it sweet, short, simple, and then get out there (on stage) and knock ’em dead!

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Diane Crews giving last minute encouragement

DIANE: We have ‘circle’ before each show.  It’s a time to focus everyone on the task at hand, and unify the group.  Anyone who’s ever done a show with me can readily share the things I have distilled from, oh my goodness, 53 years in the theatre are as follows: listen, concentrate, project, cover, and don’t break character. EVER!  Those are the big five. The slightly lesser items are quiet backstage, ride the laughs and applause, don’t eat in costume, drink only water,  have fun  and a great grand good show!  These are given to and repeated by all in one fashion or another prior to each performance just before the spin and going down to start the show.

About the Directors

Diane Crews: Artistic Director and Playwright-in-Residence at DreamWrights.  Having directed well over one hundred shows at DreamWrights, Young King Arthur was her last production as she is set to retire in the Fall of 2016.

Paige Hoke: Paige is 2010 graduate of Arcadia University’s BFA in Acting Program. She has experience directing, teaching, and acting in the York and Philadelphia areas. She most recently directed Seussical at DreamWrights.

Michelle Denise Norton: Founder and Director of DreamWrights’ Theatre Under The Trees program.  Along with all of her theatrical endeavors, Michelle is also a writer, artist and cartoonist.  In Summer 2016, Theatre Under The Trees will be bringing As You Like It to local parks

Rodd Robertson: Director and actor, Rodd most recently appeared in the Flippin’ Broadway musical revue at DreamWrights.  He has directed a handful of productions including To See the Stars and Nancy Drew: Girl Detective at DreamWrights and elsewhere.

Andrea Unger:  Making her directorial debut with the upcoming DreamWrights production, Our Miss Brooks, Andrea is a wife, mom of three boys, and grandmother of 1 boy. She and her family were introduced to DreamWrights through a summer camp, followed by her youngest son being  cast in Alice in Wonderland. During that production, she and her husband offered to volunteer with set production and have been helping out in all areas of the theatre, both on and off the stage, ever since. As a family, the Ungers have been involved in over 14 shows.

Kirk Wisler: Most recently directing The Mouse that Roared, Kirk has taken part in over thirty plays from 2001 until the present day. He hopes to continue directing and acting at DreamWrights for many more years to come.

Directors’ Advice: Proudest Moment

DreamWrighters recently turned to our resident and several recent guest directors to hear about what makes them most proud. As we get ready to launch a capital campaign, we notice that like the campaign, these wonderful directors are proud about Putting Growth Center Stage!

DreamWrighters: Thanks for taking a few moments to share your thoughts with our audience. As a director, as you reflect  on your directing experiences, what makes you most proud?

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Diane Crews in 1997 with Youth Theatre Director of the Year Award

DIANE: This one is easy … I love to watch people grow!  And growth is not exclusive in any way.  The magic of the theatre is love, according to William Saroyan, and I agree.  All the world is a stage and we are all players, but only in live theatre do we have the opportunity to work and create together, not to win anything or beat the other team, but to share that creation with others the audience. You come together as strangers and depart as family.  Everyone has the opportunity to grow his/her responsibility, self-confidence, interpersonal communication, knowledge, and emotional levels/skills. The results are huggable!!  And often make me cry – good tears – of pride and happiness at being allowed the chance to see the multiple metamorphoses!!

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Paige Hoke directing rain forrest critters

PAIGE: What makes me most proud is watching people grow and discover things about their characters and themselves. I love seeing the world of the show come to life fully! And I love seeing people from all walks of life come together and create a show!

RODD: I’ve worked solely with kids and teens. I am most proud of my casts and crews.  It have been a joy and privilege to watch them blossom during rehearsals and shows.  When I get a thank you note at the end of a show and the kids thank me for casting them in a role that they didn’t think they’d ever get, or they thank me for helping to grow their self-confidence.  Man! That is beyond any hassle that may come with putting together any production. That’s goes way beyond being proud, that touches me and encourages me. It builds me up and pushes me to want to be better for the next cast I direct.

2013 The Tempest 10
Michelle Denise Norton with cast and crew of The Tempest

MICHELLE: I am proud of the relationships people continue to have even when they’re no longer involved in Theatre Under The Trees or DreamWrights.  Last year, my brother Beau’s best friend (who he met during Comedy of Errors) was in town for his father’s funeral and when we were talking afterwards, he mentioned that he’d left his car in Los Angeles for another friend (he met during Much Ado About Nothing) to use.  Earlier this year, two people who had played villains in one production were swapping stories about both Much Ado and their respective children on Twitter.  It really brought home to me that one of the most important things about DreamWrights is the connections you make and the conversations you have.

Kirk
Kirk Whisler inspiring his cast and crew with a purple hair challenge

KIRK: I find pride in the end of rehearsals each day, seeing the work that was accomplished, and knowing that the cast and crew are making me look good.

About the Directors

Diane Crews: Artistic Director and Playwright-in-Residence at DreamWrights. Diane is currently directing Young King Arthur. Having directed well over one hundred shows at DreamWrights, Young King Arthur will be her last production as she is set to retire in the Fall of 2016.

Paige Hoke: Paige Hoke is 2010 graduate of Arcadia University’s BFA in Acting Program. She has experience directing, teaching, and acting in the York and Philadelphia areas. She most recently directed Seussical at DreamWrights.

Michelle Denise Norton: Founder and Director of DreamWrights’ Theatre Under The Trees program.  Along with all of her theatrical endeavors, Michelle is also a writer, artist and cartoonist.  In Summer 2016, Theatre Under The Trees will be bringing As You Like It to local parks

Rodd Robertson: Director and actor, Rodd most recently appeared in the Flippin’ Broadway musical revue at DreamWrights.  He has directed a handful of productions including To See the Stars and Nancy Drew: Girl Detective at DreamWrights and elsewhere.

Kirk Wisler: Kirk made his directorial debut at DreamWrights this past summer, directing The Mouse that Roared. He has taken part in over thirty plays from 2001 until the present day. He hopes to continue directing and acting at DreamWrights for many more years to come.