a premiere theatre company located in the heart of Philadelphia

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They’re Playing Our Song!

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PlayingSongweb

We are very pleased to announce the cast and production team for

“They’re Playing Our Song”

CAST

Vernon Gersch • Robert Smythe

Sonia Walsk • Melissa Connell

Vernon’s Voices • Jason Fazio • Frank Schierloh • Brandon Weber

Sonia’s Voices • Adair Arciero • Neena Boyle • Alexandra Sices

PRODUCTION

Direction/Musical Direction • Jeffrey Lesser

Stage Manager • Dawn Smith

Lighting • Jessica Wallace

Choreographer • Adam Kerbel

Costumes • Madison Andrews

MUSIC

Piano • Michael Leggerie

Drums • Harry Schonleber

Meeting Ms. Hamlisch

Terre HamlischI was so honored to meet Mrs. Terre Hamlisch at the Philly Pops Evening of Marvin Hamlisch’s music. She said that her husband would be so proud we are doing “They’re Playing Our Song” The concert was wonderful, and Jodi Benson and Doug LaBrecque even performed the song, “They’re Playing Our Song” The conductor was Larry Blake who was the original conductor on Broadway of “They’re Playing Our Song”.

70’s Retro Disco Fundraising Party

Saturday November 16, 2013BuyTickets_160px

Time: 7:30 – 11:30 pm

Place: Old Pine Community Center
401 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, Pa  19147retro

Price: $21.00 in advance web purchase only

$25.00 at the door

Join us as we return to the 70’s (the period our next show “They’re Playing Our Song” is set) and dance your bootees off. Come in costume or not but be ready for a fun evening as you help us to raise funds for out next production.   Best costume contest with winner awarded 2 tickets to They’re Playing Our Song.

Hosted by Thundershowers & Summer Clearance

Parking:  Discount Parking vouchers need to be picked up at Old Pine Community Center before parking at the garage on Lombard between 2nd and 3rd.

Presenting SOUVENIR beginning May 2 – May 19, 2012

Souvenir poster

…The musical comedy is a riot, but is poignant as well…It’s funny, entertaining… April Woodall is hilarious… Costume Designer Jimmy Johansmeyer goes to town with Jenkin’s wardrobe. – Katie Hall, The Cortland Standard (on the CRT production of Souvenir)

…If April Woodall’s interpretation and impersonation of the real Mrs. Foster Jenkins isn’t the definitive, it has to be one of them. Her striking visage, broad, animated body movement…convey, not only the extremities of the human voice, but, more importantly, the dedication to her “art”… – Tony Curulla, The Syracuse Post Standard (on the CRT production of Souvenir)

Silent Auction and Cocktail Party

Date: Saturday March 24th
Time: 6:30 – 10:00 pm
Address: 20 North 3rd Street. 4th floor,  Philadelphia, 19106
Food: Light fare & Cocktails

Special Souvenir Sneak Preview Performance @ 8:30

If you would like to donate an item please call 215-732-3797.

Welcome Our Newest Board Member

Kate CohenKate Cohen has taught voice at the Community Conservatory of Music and privately for over a decade. She graduated Summa cum Laude from Lebanon Valley College with a degree in Music. Kate has been in numerous major studio films and theater productions while “not quitting her day job” in tech support.

She is a former Mrs. Pennsylvania United States and was a Top 5 finalist at Miss Pennsylvania as well as a recipient of the Miss America PA State Community Service award.

Kate has served as an advocate for maintaining government funding for community-based arts programs and spoke at the State Capitol.  Kate joined the Miss Philadelphia committee in 2003 and now co-directs the Miss Philadelphia’s Outstanding Teen Program, promoting service and awarding scholarships to women.

She was most honored to join the Board of Directors of the Center City Theatre Works and is grateful for every opportunity to support the Arts in Philadelphia.

Stage Magazine Review – “nearly flawless gem”

Center City Theatre Works Inaugural THE SHADOW BOX: Enlightening and Illuminating

By Jack Shaw, STAGE MAGAZINE – May 5, 2011The Shadow Box Poster

Once again I find myself at the inaugural production for a new theatre company. This time it’s Center City Theatre Works’ moving preview production of Michael Cristofer’s award-winning play, THE SHADOW BOX. It was a perfect choice for its inaugural production. Everything about this production worked. It did what good theatre should always do: give impetus and power to the playwright’s words, and it did it remarkably well.

Cristofer’s play about three terminally ill patients and their families is hardly maudlin because it is so familiar—universal even. If anything, this play is uplifting. Bring tissues, though, for some well-deserved tears.

ShadowBox InterviewerWe’ve all have tried coping with a loved one’s impending death, or know someone who has. If we’re young enough and haven’t yet, we will. At times the play makes us laugh and cry with our characters; it builds to a wonderful intensity; it is always thought-provoking. The words tell a universal truth so well that it’s not surprising that this play won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New American Play as well as Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Stellar acting, tight blocking and fluid pacing of this production kept me caring about these people through every scene, following every gesture, and listening keenly to every word. The set was a fascinating combination of art and utility; the silhouette cut-outs of trees in the backdrop to give us the shadow box effect and the versatility of four separate acting areas. That and the lighting design combined to do what a shadow box is designed to do: allow light to pass through from only one angle (and this is significant) so that objects within the box are less susceptible to damage from light.

ShadowBox state

Much like the human beings here, we are damaged by too much light. We believe what we want to believe to cope with pain. Love and selfish desires compete, and give rise to the “five different stages that a person will go through when he faces the fact of his own death.” But we discover here that we aren’t just talking about the people who are facing dying, but those who care about them as well. We plainly see the same five stages spelled out by E. Kubler-Ross, M.D apply to them as well: “denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.” Acceptance as you might guess is the hardest stage for the loved ones to deal with—the patients themselves having mostly come to terms with their impending deaths.

Kubler-Ross also says, “These stages will last for different periods of time, they will replace each other, or exist at times side by side…But the one thing that usually persists through all these stages is hope.”

A tribute to the playwright’s finely crafted play and astute direction of Jeffrey Lesser, THE SHADOW BOX invites us to experience the lives of three very different families and brings us to the same place through an intricate weaving of their stories, better prepared for an experience closer to home, or at least the realization that this is how we behave and it is normal.

We live our lives as if they will have no end, believing there’s always time to do more. When we discover that awful truth, that life on this earth with all who are dear to us is not infinite, then we rely on hope, one little ray of light to save us. At that moment, we live in the Shadow Box.

I found this production to be a nearly flawless gem. One costume needed some tucks and tightening to prevent a “wardrobe malfunction” (not that it wouldn’t have been in character, but for audience blushing reasons…) but I’m sure that’ll be taken care of before open tomorrow night. Other than that very minor detail, this remarkable theatre gem was truly an experience and a future comfort for my soul.

Is it so strange that a play that is about death is also about the fragility and resistance of the human spirit? The human spirit–fragile enough to deny and give false hope, and resistant enough to hold off dying to give oneself the time to realize the hope is warranted? Good theatre art exposes human frailty and highlights the human dilemma; in the end we all feel better. We call it catharsis.

My congratulations to a standout cast and crew for a job well done.

Party for CCTW Patrons

The initial introduction and fund raising cocktail party for the Center City Theatre Works was a rousing success! We would like to thank our guests and helpers for making this a night to remember. It all started here, folks!

Jeffrey Lesser Interview on CBS Radio

Jeffrey Lesser, Artistic Director for CCTW, was interviewed recently on CBS Radio about the newly formed theatre company.

Click Below to Listen:
Jeff Lesser on CBS Radio

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