Home sweet home

Chambersburg Community Theatre returns to the Capitol Theatre stage

Chambersburg Community Theatre returns to the Capitol Theatre stage

March 09, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - It's been a long wait, but the members of Chambersburg Community Theatre are finally back home.

And they couldn't be more excited.

On Friday, March 10, the community theater will present "While the Lights Were Out," their first production on the Capitol Theatre stage since a portion of the theater's ceiling collapsed in April 2005.

"You don't know how much we're glad to be back on this home stage," says Ron Beckley, sound technician with the community theater. "Like Dorothy said, 'There's no place like home.'"

Especially a new home. The Capitol Theatre's most recent renovations beautified the interior, copying the original 1927 ceiling design. "Everything from the stage out and above the floor is all new," Beckley adds.


"When we got the e-mail that the theater was opened up, we were all excited," says Maryann Steenstra, who performs in many of the community theater's productions.

"It's kind of like coming back from vacation to your house," adds Will Ridenour, an actor in this weekend's production. "You know all the nooks and crannies and creaks and moans."

The community theater group, one of the oldest continually operating community theater groups in Pennsylvania, found it was hard to produce shows after the Capitol closed for renovations and for repairs to the ceiling.

In May 2005, the community theater relocated its show, "The Robber Bridegroom," to the Montessori Academy of Chambersburg. But without the ambiance of the historic theater, the production was missing something, says Steenstra, who was in the show. Subsequently, two of the community theater's shows were canceled.

"To be on our home stage is so much easier. It's so much at home here," she says.

"While the Lights Were Out," a comical who-dun-it murder mystery, will debut Friday night for a one-weekend series of performances.

"This is an off-the-wall farce," says Tom Amick, director of the show and longtime member of the community theater. The show includes unexpected twists "especially at the end of the show, which hits the audience head on," Amick says.

The 15-member ensemble cast of characters find themselves at the Bermuda home of Lord and Lady Wickenham. During a thunderstorm, the lights flicker and eventually the power is cut. While the lights are out, the audience hears a gun shot and screams and when the lights come back up, a mysterious blond woman is standing over a dead body with a bloody dagger.

While the bumbling inspector and his competent assistant try to solve the murder, another guest turns up dead.

"It's funny. It's really funny," says Dawn Hamsher, who plays the part of the suspicious Jamaican house maid, Mimosa. "We cracked up the whole time we were rehearsing."

"I hope that a lot of people do come out to see (the show)," Amick says. "We are excited to be back in the theater now and we are looking forward to entertaining people in the area."

FYI: During performances of "While the Lights Were Out" Chambersburg Community Theatre will be selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a cruise vacation. Tickets are $20 a piece. The raffle winner will be announced Sunday, March 12. Ticket holders do not need to be present to win. The winner receives a $1,500 voucher toward the cruise of their choice. Proceeds from the raffle benefit the community theater.

The cast of "While the Lights Were Out" includes: Tina Marie Atherton, TerriLee Bell, Jim Gerberding, Dawn Hamsher, Katie Horrocks, Eric Hurd, Paul Keifman, Lisa Martin, Deb Millhouse, Will Ridenour, Maryann Steenstra, W. Andrew Stover, Roy Summers, Danielle Tiller and Lindsey Wagner.

The production crew includes: Tom Amick, director and producer; Anna Steenstra, stage manager; Tom Goode, set design; Deelana Kennedy, Tahra Kennedy, Roy Summers, Will Ridenour, Sally Herritt and Jan Weagly, set painting; Paul Leeper, fine art reproductions and backdrop; cast and crew, set construction; Agnes Jurgens, set decor consultant; W. Andrew Stover, makeup; Jan Weagly, props; Cliff Baker, lighting and sound director; Ron Beckley, sound; Tom Amick, lighting design; Ginger Beckner, house manager; and Sally Herritt, publicity.

If you go...

WHAT: "While the Lights Were Out," a play by Jack Sharkey

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11; 2 p.m. Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12

WHERE: Capitol Theatre, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: $15 adults, $12 senior citizens, $9 students and children

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 north from Hagerstown to Pennsylvania exit 16 (U.S. 30). Turn left off the exit onto U.S. 30. Go about 1.5 miles and turn left onto U.S. 11. The theater will be on the right.

MORE: For more information or to reserve tickets call 1-717-263-0202.

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