Monday, April 25, 2011

Serendipity on the Set of Hail Mary!

Hello Montgomery Theater fans! I'm Rebecca, I'm playing Sister Felicia in MT's current production, "Hail Mary!". When I first got cast in this play, I couldn't help think how ironic it was that I was to play a nun after 12 years of Catholic school, where it was not exactly uncommon for me to be "asked to step out" of the classes most often taught by the nuns. (Like our heroine, Mary, I too had a "big mouth," but that's all a story for another blog.)

Anyway I was anxious and excited to start rehearsal, and at our first read-through I discovered even more ironic circumstances regarding this production. As it turns out Sarah Gliko (who plays Mary) and I grew up in neighboring towns and went to the same church. Sarah and I had met before but hadn't really had a chance to get to know each other. Through all of us sharing our church-related experiences, we found that we shared a lot more than that.

My father taught CCD for Holy Savior parish in Linwood, PA for a few years in the 90's. I, being already in Catholic school, would go to class with him after mass because I loved to watch him teach, and to be his "assistant," which basically meant handing out prizes went someone answered a question correctly. Although I was not one of his students, can you guess who was? That's right, our own Sarah Gliko. She was a couple of school years ahead of me, and it's very possible that I once gave her a piece of candy or a prayer card for correctly reciting the Apostle's Creed.

Now, 15 years later, here we are. Sarah and I are working together in a play about Catholicism, with Sarah playing a character who is fighting for a lot of the same ideals my father taught his classes. Dad passed away this past Halloween, but I know he's in the audience every night, watching Sarah and me play and talk religion again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

From the Cast of Hail Mary!. . .

Hi everybody out there in the Blog-o-sphere. I’m Bob McDonald, currently playing Joe in Hail Mary! The theatre asked us if anybody wanted to blog, and since I have a tiny experience with it I thought I would give it a shot. Now, What should I talk about?
First off let me say how awesome it is to be back here at Montgomery Theater. I was here once before in the musical, I Love My Wife. That experience was completely different from this one. Mostly because it was a musical and this one is not. Most of the work I have done has been in the musical arena. I was really happy when I was cast in this play. Yes! I get to work at a theater I love and expand my craft doing something out-of-the-box for me! Awesome!
Speaking of “out-of-the-box,” this has been the show for that. In the show my character is in the process of learning something new. I don’t want to give anything away, but I had to try that same thing myself, which is why I love this career so much. It constantly challenges me to step out of my comfort zone, and then I see that anything is possible.
If you have seen the show and know what Joe “performs” at the end of the play, then know that I accomplished that feat with only 1-2 weeks of rehearsal. Trying new things is very scary, but as an actor you are sometimes required to do things you’ve never tried before. Now, I have a new skill (I think) and it just goes to show that anything is possible. I will never stop learning. Theatre challenges me in such wonderful ways! I love my job!!
All right I think I have said enough. I hope you come and see the amazingly talented cast I get to share the stage with, and the magic that happens here at Montgomery Theater.

Monday, April 11, 2011

To get to Hail Mary! you have to say goodbye to the Trailer Park

by Tom Quinn, Artistic Director

What a great time we had here with The Great American Trailer Park Musical. As a co-production with Philadelphia’s 11th Hour Theatre Company, we enjoyed a truly successful collaboration. Once the musical had closed on a Saturday night, props, costumes, wigs and assorted equipment were boxed up in preparation to move the show downtown. On Sunday, the set was taken down, almost as if it were an archeological dig, with each piece carefully marked and copious notes taken for the reconstruction of the set in June. All these essentials were loaded into a 17 foot U-Haul and packed into a storage unit to go into slumber mode while it awaits another escort, only this time to the Arden Theatre in Old City.

This was our second co-production with 11th Hour, the first with a mounting of Reefer Madness, the Musical two years ago. Both great experiences. Shared costs and resources is the immediate realized benefit. But the shared artistry is without question its greatest reward.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Final Countdown. . . (Cue Music)

By Jessica Bedford, MT’s Director of Education

It’s no secret that Montgomery Theater has a devotion to the playwright. The word on the page is the seed that gives life to Florida trailer parks, Catholic school classrooms, Second Avenue apartments, and all the other miniature worlds we create on our Main Stage. Loyal MT audience members know our long relationship with Chicago based writer James Sherman. (We’re doing the East Coast premiere of his latest work Jacob and Jack this fall!) But, when I came on board last summer, I noticed that we haven’t given a lot of love to writers from our own community in Southeastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. And so, inspired by Tom’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland for the Project Stage last season, the Adaptation Competition was born. The call went out to universities, graduate programs, writers’ groups, and bulletin boards all over the area: send us your original adaptation of a story in the public domain, appropriate for a multi-aged cast and a family audience! Okay, so maybe it’s not the catchiest call to arms, a bit on the long side, but, nonetheless, it worked. It’s my pleasure to announce to you the finalist for Montgomery Theater, Too’s first-ever Adaptation Competition:
• Sleeping Beauty (And Friends) This classic fairy tale is given a peppy new update by Philadelphia favorite Kim Carson.
• Fairy Tale High School Hans Christian Anderson meets Glee! (well, minus the music) and asks, “What happens when all the characters from the classics have to go to school together and get along?” Bill D’Agostino, Education Director at Act II Playhouse, penned this delightful tale.
• Don Quixote The literary classic is given a zany treatment by Adam Danoff. If Adam’s name rings a bell, it means you caught his quirky and side-splitting performance as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.
• Once Upon a Time Worlds collide in this charming fractured fairy tale also by Kim Carson.
• Shifting for Himself Michael Schwartz took a break from his duties as MT’s go-to dramaturg to pen this adaptation of a novel by Horatio Alger, Jr.
• Under the Sea New Jersey playwright Walt Vail has adapted a Inuit myth and reset it in the warm waters of Mexico.
The next round of the competition asks the finalists to submit a draft of their completed work to the MT offices by June 1, 2011. Tom Quinn (Artistic Director), Allegra Ketchum (Managing Director), the members of our Education Committee and I will then pick a winner from these drafts. The winning writer will have his or her show produced on the Project Stage as part of our Montgomery Theater, Too series this October. So join me in keeping fingers crossed for our writers and keep your eyes peeled for when we announce the winner in late June!