Robinwood Encore Players present `A Chorus Line'

September 04, 1997

A song title from The Robinwood Encore Players' production of "A Chorus Line" sums up the spirit of the Hagerstown Junior College alumni starring in the show: "One."

That word also describes the way they have pulled together to raise funds for an amphitheater at the college. Proceeds from "A Chorus Line," being presented tonight and Sept. 6, 12 and 13 at the college's Kepler Theater, will benefit the project.

The cast members want to give something back to the college that has given them so much, says Angie Byers, a 1988 HJC graduate with a degree in communications. Byers, who portrays Val in "A Chorus Line," says she learned a lot and made many friends while she was a student."I'm 28 years old, and those were some of the best years of my life," Byers says.

The cast is like a family, says Wendy Avey, a 1988 graduate of HJC who majored in communications.


"A Chorus Line" includes former and current students, and the cast has 15 members, plus extras. By the middle of August, the players were rehearsing almost every night, juggling work and family obligations.

"Everyone has devoted so much time and effort. We're feeling like one," says Avey, who plays the strong-willed Diana.

That friendly feeling continues in the classroom, says Dave Dull, president of The Robinwood Encore Players and director of the production.

"The students know their professors on a first-name basis," says Dull, who teaches television production classes at HJC and received an associate's degree in communications there in 1990.

There are no leading roles in "A Chorus Line," and everyone's character is of equal importance, Dull says.

"It's a great way to showcase everyone's individual talents," he says.

"A Chorus Line" is tough to do, as the different meters make the music difficult for both the musicians and the singers, Dull says.

The hit Broadway musical, which exposes the hopes and dreams of a group of dancers, is the first production of The Robinwood Encore Players.

Dull had considered producing a show with HJC alumni for several years, and when he heard the alumni association needed help funding the amphitheater project, he decided to act on it. The result was The Robinwood Encore Players, a committee of the association.

"The support from the community was overwhelming, especially for a brand new group," Dull says.

The Encore Players would like to do two shows a year, interspersed with performances by The Robinwood Players, the student theater group at HJC.

Most of the proceeds from "A Chorus Line" will go to the amphitheater fund, and some will be used for future Encore Players shows, Dull says. Another of the group's goals is to establish a scholarship fund for theater students.

The four performances could raise $20,000, Dull says.

The amphitheater, to be built in front of the soccer fields, will seat 1,500 and will cost $550,000.

About $50,000 still is needed for the project, says Lisa Stewart, HJC alumni coordinator. Construction could start in November, and the amphitheater will open in the spring, she says.

Stewart, a 1979 HJC graduate, says alumni have been very motivated in raising funds.

"They have gone above and beyond," she says.

In the words of another song from the Tony Award-winning musical, it's what they did for love.


`A Chorus Line'

Performed by The Robinwood Encore Players

* When: tonight, Saturday, Sept. 6, Friday, Sept. 12, and Saturday, Sept. 13, at 8 each night

* Where: Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Junior College, 11400 Robinwood Drive, Hagerstown

* Tickets: $10; available at the door, at Kick's MusicVision in Long Meadow Shopping Center in Hagerstown and Institutional Advancement Office in the Administration Building at Hagerstown Junior College

* Details: The show contains mature themes and strong language and is not recommended for children younger than 12. Parental supervision is suggested for ages 13 to 16.

* For information: Call 301-790-2800, extensions 346 or 348.

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