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Festive frolicking

November 18, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Ruth Koontz and John Koontz Jr. will attend the Friday, Dec. 17, performance of "Rock 'n' Roll Holiday" at Washington County Playhouse.

They had not been to the dinner theater until about 10 years ago, when they took advantage of a discount offered in a local organization's fund-raising coupon book.

They've held season tickets ever since.

"It's just such an upbeat, fun evening," Ruth Koontz said.

She is looking forward to "Rock 'n' Roll Holiday" opens Friday, Nov. 19. The show is a musical revue that travels from the 1940s through the '50s, '60s and '70s and is enhanced with seasonal tunes. The cast will cover about 60 different songs and make as many as 20 costume changes. There's a swing-time medley and there's a redneck Christmas segment. There are feuding Elvis Presley-like characters dueling on the King's "Burning Love."

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There's not really any logic, said theater owner and producer Kelly Jenkins. "It's just a fun show."

Jenkins will come out of retirement to perform "Devil in a Blue Dress" and "Fever."

"Then I go back to the tech booth and do lights," she said.

The more than a dozen cast members also work hard and multitask. They all have day jobs - or school schedules. And they are servers at the dinner theater.

"You have to enjoy it," said Jason Waugh, who by day is purchasing manager for a local plumbing, heating and air-conditioning business.

He's been doing shows at the playhouse for years. He got involved in theater and music when an injury kept him from going out for football when he was a middle-school student.

"It's the adrenaline," he said. "It's a lot of fun."

He's not alone with the fun factor.

Ashley Myers, who recently graduated from Towson University, has been in Washington County Playhouse productions for six years.

"I like to perform, and I like to have a good time," she said.

Katie Williams, a student at Hagerstown Community College, works at the theater simply because it's fun for her.

Fifteen-year-old Brandon Jimenez, Kelly Jenkins' son, joked that he doesn't really have a choice about performing at the playhouse. He's been on stage since he was 3.

Ruth Koontz said getting to know the performers - some of them in reprised roles - is a bonus of attending the productions.

"We have our favorites," Koontz said.

The Koontzes are fans of Lucille, portrayed by Loretta Czerbinski.

Lucille will have her own television show in the upcoming revue. "I'm gonna do a little singing," Czerbinski said. Her songs include a version of the Eartha Kitt hit "Santa Baby" and "Leader of the Plaque" - as in arteries. Lucille also will imbibe some holiday cheer and will be decked - not with holly - but festive seasonal detail suited to the character she created a few years ago.

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