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Community theater preview

August 29, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Tri-State area community theaters are more than the "Forty-five Minutes From Broadway" of legendary showman George M. Cohan's 1906 musical, but that hasn't stopped them from tackiling a diverse production lineup of comedies, musicals, dramas and classics.

Many of the companies have been around for years.

Chambersburg Community Theatre is celebrating its 50th season. Potomac Playmakers is beginning its 78th season in Hagerstown, Old Opera House in Charles Town, W.Va., is in its 30th. Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg, W.Va., has a community theater component that presents five shows a season.

Although a couple of the companies have a paid staff member, most of the people involved - some of them for many years - are volunteers.

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Clay Carey, president of Brunswick Community Theater in Brunswick, Md., says his group is composed of "normal every-day people" - business people, teachers.

What they have in common is a love of performing. "The theater people just have a special bond," he says.

Pat Byers, of Conococheague Players in Chambersburg, Pa., says community theater provides a creative outlet for individuals who have an interest in the arts.

Byers also is a founding member of Chambersburg Community Theatre, which has been presenting plays since 1954.

"It's a very rewarding avocation," she says. "One cannot live by computer science alone."

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