Jessica Crowe makes her living as a free-lance performance artist. She is used to performing in unique venues, from underwater-style theatres to big stages. But Jessica has made a place for herself right here at DreamWrights. “The funny thing is, as a performance artist, I travel all over the country but DreamWrights is my favorite place to be. It’s really cool traveling but this is feels very much like home for me and it has helped York feel like home.”
In only her third production at DreamWrights, Jessica has found her passion behind the scenes. “I love the acting aspect of working on a production but as a Stage Manager you really get to work with the whole cast and the crew and you get to know everyone in the production. Whereas, as an actor, you’re really more involved with the people you’re specifically on stage with. I love being able to work with everybody.”
During The Wizard of Oz, Jessica became quite invaluable to director, Jaci Keagy. Jaci explains, “The most effective stage managers are those people who can see what needs to be done and just jump in and do it. That was Jessica to a T. She was especially strong during tech and when the show was running. She was a good leader and kept her cool. I felt fortunate to have her.”
This time around, Jessica is the Production Stage Manager (PSM) for Babe, the Sheep-Pig. At DreamWrights, the PSM is the right hand to the director in a production. With her professional performance experience, and the lessons she’s learned at DreamWrights, Jessica shares her best advice for what makes an effective PSM:
Be Organized. “You have to be really organized with paperwork, be able to handle blocking, and be able to instruct your stage managers. Being PSM has helped to strengthen my organization skills.”
Listen. “Being able to listen and take direction really well are important because you have to pay attention to everything the director wants and make sure he/she has everything he/she needs to make the production a success.”
Be Flexible. “As the production grows, you have to be able to fit in where you’re needed and be able to make it a success. I’ve learned to take each moment for what it is and help out where I can.”
So as Babe opens this weekend and audiences sit back and enjoy the show, they’ll never know about the last minute mishaps or emergencies that may or may not be happening behind the scenes. The show must go on, and Jessica Crowe will be there to make sure it does… successfully!
As Hilary Adams, Director of Artistic Programming prepares to stage, Babe, the Sheep-Pig, her very first show at DreamWrights, she reflects on the theme of the show and what she would like audiences to take away from it. Adams says, “I’d like people to feel uplifted by the central message of the show that you should not be limited by what the world thinks you can do. Trying new things, no matter your age, even if other people at first laugh at your attempts, is essential to continuing to grow as a person. Maybe, like Babe, you’ll discover a new talent or skill, or maybe you’ll make some new friends along the way.”
Discovering a new talent or skill? Making new friends along the way? Doing something you didn’t think was possible? This is what happens to people who enter the doors of DreamWrights. Babe, the Sheep-Pig reflects so many of the organization’s values. Even the young actors recognize the life lessons that Babe teaches. Thirteen year old Makaela Cooper and eleven year old Maddie Trimmer both play the part of sheep in the play. Makaela shares, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. You can be whoever you want and say it however you want and do whatever you want. It is a message that both Babe and DreamWrights has taught me.” Maddie agrees, “DreamWrights gives you opportunities that you never thought you could have. You can be a sheep one play and a princess the next one.” Noah Youcheff, 12, who plays the part of Babe says, “The show has taught me that you can be whatever you want to be if you try hard enough.”
People of all ages will find humor, excitement, and poignancy in the show. Adams invites audiences to come along on the adventure, “There are a lot of fun action scenes combined with touching moments of connection between the characters as we go with Babe on his journey from a new arrival on the farm, to his big day as the first pig to participate in the Grand Challenge Sheep-dog Trials.”
As a special event, audiences are invited to visit with micro pigs, Dyna and Opal prior to many of the Babe performances. Dyna is micro mini pig. At around 30lbs., she is on the smaller side as some of these pigs grow to be 150lbs. She loves kids and attention and snuggling with her humans. Opal is an 8 month old Juliana micro pig. She knows her name, walks on a leash, and knows some basic commands (sit, come , spin).
Come to the DreamWrights farm show, Babe the Sheep-Pig, which opens Friday, February 10 and runs February 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, and 25 at 6:30 pm and February 11, 12, 19, and 26 at 2:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 717-848-8623. Advance seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved. General admission seats at the door cost $12.
DreamWrights’ inaugural Open Mic Night held last August was such a success that not only is it being featured again, but also the age limit for the event has been lowered. Aspiring entertainers 16 years and older are invited to share their talents, whether it be music, spoken word, comedy, etc. , at this Open Mic Night hosted by DreamWrights Center for Community Arts. Relax in the lounge-style setting while enjoying performances from members of the local community.
Stand up comedienne, Jackie Wyker, performed at DreamWrights’ Open Mic in August and is scheduled to perform again. Wyker, who has been doing comedy for about a year, enjoyed the first Open Mic Night so much, she is happy to return. “It was a great night. Good food, beverages and lots of talent. Both watching and performing was a delight,” Wyker says.
Fellow comedian and Energy Management Advisor, Greg Billet, is also making a return appearance. “We had a great time last time, it seemed like a big excited crowd and that’s always fun. It felt like they came ready to laugh and have a good time. It’s cool that DreamWrights served drinks and food also. Everyone loves that!”
Ben Garner of Rent Sound Gear is running sound for the event. Garner says, “Rent Sound Gear specializes in providing sound for events like this. We’ve hosted many open mic nights before. We are looking forward to it.”
DreamWrights’ Open Mic Night will be held Saturday, January 28 from 7:00pm to 11:00pm. Food and drink are available for purchase. Bar service is provided by Tutoni’s. All attendees require ID for admittance. Cover charge is $5 at the door. The event is open to anyone 16 and older. Some material may not be suitable for younger audiences. Acts interested in performing are encouraged to go online or call ahead (717-848-8623 x1) to sign up for a 15 – 20 minute time slot. The $5 entrance fee is waived for those who register to perform in advance.
As we countdown the days to 2017, our twentieth year, we take a moment to relish our accomplishments and great memories from 2016.
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!
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.
7. The enthusiasm and energy that Guest Directors bring
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!
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.
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 Ozas 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.
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
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!
Seventeen year old Paige Gross has attended all of the teen dances at DreamWrights. She and her friends have enjoyed them so much that she decided to take matters into her own hands. “I was inspired and thought it’d be fun to plan this year’s Winter Ball. I was talking to Jonah one day and we started coming up with ideas, not seriously thinking about actually planning it. But the more we talked about it the more we realized we wanted to make our ideas a reality.” Paige’s friend, Jonah Unger, is planning it with her. Jonah says, “I thought it would be a good learning experience, as well as simply being fun.”
These two are taking the lead and with the help of a small group of friends, they are planning a winter dance with a Neverland theme just for teens. Paige explains, “I’ve always loved the fantasy element of the story and the world of Neverland. Winter is a magical season, with sparkling snow, twinkling lights, and something cheerful in the air. Winter has an enchanting element to it, and DreamWrights is a magical place that celebrates the youth in everyone. At DreamWrights, no one ever really grows up. Just like in Neverland.”
The evening promises lots of music, dancing, and merriment. Refreshments like root beer served in tankards and other themed surprises will abound. A peaceful space, known as the Treehouse, will be available with games and comfy chairs for teens who prefer a quieter, less crowded space in which to talk and have fun.
All of the teens involved in planning this project agree that York offers far too few events like this for their age group. They hope that kids new to DreamWrights attend as well as those who are familiar. One of the teen planners, Lilly Einsig, sums it up, “I think it’s nice to have events like this around because it gives young people in the area a chance to meet and enjoy a fun night together. Even if you don’t know anyone or have never been involved with DreamWrights before, don’t be afraid to come. It’s the perfect place to meet new people and make friends.”
This special evening, A Night in Neverland, is just for teens ages 13 – 17. Join us December 28 from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm at DreamWrights, 100 Carlisle Avenue, York. Tickets are $12.00 at the door. Dress is semi-formal and themed outfits are encouraged (pirate, fairy, lost boy, etc.). Refreshments will be served.
At first, Maddie Herrington wasn’t sure theatre was for her. Her younger brother, Jack, gave it a try first when he was cast in Young King Arthur. Jack had so much fun coming home and discussing it with his family. So when Jack decided he wanted to try out again for The Wizard of Oz, Maddie decided to audition too, “I just really wanted to be a part of the show but I didn’t want to act because I was afraid of singing in front of people.” She says her mom suggested working behind the scenes on the set and since “moving stuff around the stage” sounded fun to Maddie, she signed up for set crew. Maddie’s mom, Katie, was recruited too.
Katie is pleased with the new skills that Maddie and even she herself are learning, like how to use different power tools. Katie enjoys watching Maddie grow from the experience. “The confidence in saying, ‘I don’t know how to do this but I’m willing to learn’ then coming home and going, ‘Hey Dad! I learned how to use a jigsaw tonight!’ Realizing that you just gained that new experience…that new skill set… it’s been great.”
Maddie beams when asked about the power tools – her favorite part of working on set crew. “I liked doing the drill. I finally got the hang of it. I had to learn how to use power tools to build the scenes. The people who help us are really nice. If we forget to do something they will always help us out.”
Katie says it has been a fabulous experience. “Just being able to do something new like [learning to use power tools]. And it’s been fun to make it a family experience. Because we’re busy anyway, we might as well be busy together!”
Maddie Herrington is in 5th grade at Dallastown Area Intermediate School. Come see the beautiful set Maddie, Katie, and the rest of the amazing DreamWrights set crew have crafted when The Wizard of Oz takes the stage. You might even get a glimpse of Maddie and Katie shifting set pieces, dressed in black, in between scenes. Keep your eyes open on stage for Maddie’s brother, Jack, who plays the Mayor of the Munchkins. Show dates and times: 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 or by calling 717-848-8623.
Gift giving for a loved one? A theatre kid? Someone who loves the arts? This holiday season, slip something unique and clever into their stocking. Here are the best of what you can only find at DreamWrights this holiday.
1. Wizard of Oz Ornaments – Whether you were in the show or watched it in the theatre or on TV, you will love to glitz up your Christmas tree with these sweet ornaments. Choose from the ruby slipper ($1.50 each) or one of the ball ornaments representing Dorothy, Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow ($4 each). Heck,why not get a set?!
2. Flying Monkey – Who doesn’t need a Flying Monkey in their stuffed animal collection? These clever critters are hand crafted and are cute enough to put a smile on anyone’s face! ($12 each)
4. Dorothy doll – These adorable gal pals are handmade with love. Add one to your Oz lover’s collection. And while you’re at it, pick up a friend for Dorothy: Toto, Tinman, Lion, Scarecrow, Glinda, a Tree, or a Munchkin or two. (prices range $12 – $20)
5. A DreamWrights Membership – It’s only $15 and lasts a year. Membership includes 10% off classes and camps. Punch your card with every show you see and your 7th is free! And, you’ll get a fabulous DreamWrights newsletter every quarter!
If these goodies don’t appeal to you, DreamWrights has an array of other Oz and winter themed gifts: stuffed snowballs, magnets, signs, blocks, ornaments, Jitterbugs, and more!
Sales are open before, during, and after performances of The Wizard of Oz, while supplies last.
This holiday season, DreamWrights invites families to enjoy The Wizard of Oz. And what’s better than watching this iconic adventure story with your family? Bringing the story to life with your family! Many DreamWrights crew and cast members are working to stage this show along with family members. It is a wonderful way to spend quality together time during the busy holiday season.
Billy Ferrell, who plays the Cowardly Lion remembers, “I have loved the Wizard of Oz since I was a child. I was fortunate to perform as a munchkin when I was 11 years old, and it has been a dream of mine to perform in it again since then. I never could have imagined performing in it alongside my daughters. We are making lifelong memories together.” The Ferrell girls can be seen onstage, Elizabeth and Rebecca as snowflakes and Julia as a Jitterbug.
Like Billy and his three daughters, DreamWrights productions often draw talent from multiple generations of families. Families cooperating together as peers is a hallmark of DreamWrights. Guest Director Jaci Keagy explains, “This was my first experience working with a multi-generational cast and I LOVED it!” She adds, “Some are on stage, some are off, but everyone contributes to the show, and no one has to stay home!”
Billy agrees, “Where else can parents and children participate in activities together as peers? It’s an amazing experience to be a part of a creative process along-side my kids — to see them interact with other kids and adults and vice versa. The creative process of making a live theatrical production happen is valuable, but the life lessons and social experience are invaluable!”
Kristen and Scott Fraser are in the show with their three kids. William and Anna are on costume crew while Sophie is on stage with her parents. Kristen says, “DreamWrights is the one place where my family can collaborate to create something great. This place is a second home to us.”
Fifteen year old Anna says that she is the envy of many of her friends, “My friends talk to me about this a lot. They will say, ‘Wow, I wish my family did these kinds of things together like your family does’ and ‘You guys are so lucky.’” Sixteen year old William agrees that doing a show all together is a great family experience. In fact, the Frasers have done so many shows together as a family at DreamWrights they can’t agree on exactly how many it has been. Twelve? Fourteen? But all agree when Sophie, a wise young lady of eleven, declares, “DreamWrights is the most amazing thing I ever do. It is the most fun.”
We invite you to see the Frasers and Ferrells in The Wizard of Oz. It 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 or by calling 717-848-8623.
And why not join the fun yourself by rounding up your own family and auditioning for our next show, Babe, the Sheep-Pig?! Auditions will be held December 13 or 14 at 6:00pm. No prior experience necessary.
Have you seen the adorable handmade critters that are for sale at DreamWrights during the shows? They are created under the direction of Bethany Mortorff. You might say she heads up the DreamWrights “Critter Crew.”
It all began when she joined the costume crew in spring of 2015 for Tom Sawyer Sings. She remembers, “Rebecca [Eastman] taught me to sew and at the end of the show I made some of the turtle patterns she had. I just assumed making critters was something she did for every show so when I came back for the next show, I said, ‘What are we going to make’ and she said, ‘I don’t know.’”
That’s when Bethany began designing concepts and patterns for critters beyond turtles. She started making mouse patterns and crafting cute stuffed mice but when she realized there weren’t going to be lobby sales for The Mouse that Roared, she started designing for Seussical. It took off from there.
For Seussical she made elephants and giraffes and other characters that were in the show. “I just started experimenting and making things up.” The popularity of the Seussical critters caught on quickly. They completely sold out in the first several days.
Bethany expects the critters she’s currently making for The Wizard of Oz to sell quickly as well. “I started designing the patterns months ago because I knew this show was coming. I’ve been trying to have them ready to go so that when the show came along it would be easier to make them.”
Many of the patterns are her own, including the popular Ozian tree which has gotten a lot of attention and interest from the cast and crew. Bethany explains, “I wasn’t planning to make trees until they had people show up and get cast as trees then decide they didn’t want to be a tree and dropped out. I thought, for the people who are excited to be a tree, I’m going to make them a tree! And they got popular!”
Participating for the first time at DreamWrights, Andrea Mariano has found her way onto Bethany’s Critter Crew. Her three kids Julianna, Mason, and Taryn hold positions on the costume, lights, and props crews respectively (10 year old Mason will be operating the follow spot!). After dropping her kids off, Andrea decided to stick around and help out. She laughs, “Last week I showed up and Bob [McCleary] handed me a power drill. I had high heeled boots on. So now I just sneak up the back to the costume shop.” She says she feels more at home with scissors and fabric than with power tools and wood.
Although Bethany has made a big impact in the costume shop, she’s been on stage twice: Anne of Green Gables and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. She says with a chuckle, “Every now and then they let me out of the costume shop but mostly I reside somewhere up here.”
Be sure to check out the Critter Crew’s creations for sale in the lobby before, during, and after The Wizard of Oz shows. Prices range from $5 – $25 each, while supplies last.
If you’ve done a show at DreamWrights, you probably know Rebecca Eastman, the costumer. Many people, especially the kids, think she lives in the costume shop. Some days she feels like she does. But because she’s a normal fixture behind the sewing machine or under a garment with needle and thread, she blends right in and is privy to many a green room conversation. As the crew and cast create the splendor and magic of The Wizard of Oz, Rebecca shares some of the magnificent things that have caught her ear.
“I’m a tree!!! I’ve never been a tree before! How cool is that?!”
“WE GET UMBRELLAS!!!”
Question: “I wonder what the poppies do?”
Answer: “WE HAVE UMBRELLAS AND WE DANCE!!”
“Mom, I’m so excited! I am the MAYOR!”
Rebecca working on monkey wings turns around to see herself surrounded by a sea of three foot tall munchkin eyes, all open really wide.
Rebecca: “May I help you? Does Andrew need you for practice?”
Munchkin: “Not right now. We like to watch.”
Rebecca: “That’s ok. Just listen for Andrew. You can come do costumes when you are 10.”
From a parent passing through the green room during singing rehearsal: “Wow! They sound good already!”
“Monkey wings!!! And weird hair! Which one is mine? Can I try them on?”
Lion: “I feel like I am in my jammies. SO soft.”
Rebecca thinks to herself: Wait until the stage lights come on!
“Monkey jackets are cool!”
While jumping up and down: “Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait! This is soooo much fun!”
Whether you’re a tree or a munchkin, a costumer or on props, there is fun and excitement to be found in every part of staging a production. Just ask Rebecca.