Member WEBLetter (draft)

Calling all members!  Photos by Chip Gertzog.

Announcing Providence “Pop-Up” Productions!

Providence Players of Fairfax’s special engagement production of Oleanna was a wonderful success. Not only did this thought-provoking show play to sell-out crowds, it opened up a new venue for Providence, allowing us to engage more intimately with our audiences and artists. Many of you told us you loved the format, and wanted more. Well, the board agrees!

Providence Players introduces Providence Players Pop-Up (or Providence Pop-Up for short) where we will present  edgier productions in a smaller venue, often with smaller casts on a “pop-up” timeline.  Providence Pop-Up provides our members opportunities to expand artistically while broadening our audience, membership, and repertoire. It offers greater intimacy than Providence’s mainstage productions, allowing our artists to take risks and our audiences to more closely interact with the performers and production teams.

  • Providence Pop-Up projects will be produced on an ad hoc basis, as opportunities and applications allow and inspire.
  • Projects can range from staged readings of original work, to one-acts, to full-length productions.
  • Projects should be relatively small and simple compared to Providence’s normal mainstage productions.
  • The default location for Providence Pop-Up performances is the Italian Café in Falls Church, but applicants are welcome to work with other venues who serve the local community (Falls Church, Falls Church City, Fairfax, Arlington).
  • The default location for Providence Pop-Up rehearsals is the James Lee Community Center but other locations can be used upon producer approval.
  • Providence Pop-Up is an opportunity for new directors to work with Providence Players.  Applications for productions from passionate directors are accepted on a rolling basis or for targeted “pop-up” windows of opportunity.

Board member, Julie Janson, is the standing producer of Providence Pop-Up productions.  For those prospective directors who have a project that they are passionate about, go to our web page for information on how to apply.  Applications are accepted at any time, though there will be announcements promoting specific windows of opportunity.

We would love to hear your feedback on this new approach to engaging member artists and drawing new audiences!  Any and all comments are welcome at members@providenceplayers.org.

David P. Whitehead
WEBLetter Editor

First Providence Pop-Up Production Announced: Bobby Gould in Hell

On June 20, Maria Watson made a compelling case for producing a script by David Mamet, Bobby Gould in Hell.  The board accepted the proposal and the production will run September 5-14.  This is the first Providence Pop-Up production of the season, and we anticipate additional productions later in the year.  Julie Janson will produce this production.  For more information on the production and auditions, go here.

Tina Thronson

Board Member Spotlight:  Tina Thronson, Board Member and Director

Cristina “Tina” Thronson is a 20-year veteran member of Providence Players, a past president and is directing PPF’s first mainstage production of the 2019-2020  season, “And Then There Were None.”  Tina has also directed PPF productions, “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “Twelve Angry Men,” “Dinner with Friends,” “Steel Magnolias,” and “The Laramie Project.”  She has played other roles onstage and off.  This includes acting roles in “The Women,” “The Skin of Our Teeth,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Saturday Sunday Monday,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Side Man.”  

Tina as Maria with Patrick David as Toby Belch in “Twelfth Night.”

“As I scrolled through the photos on my laptop, looking for a few samples for this Spotlight, I was blown away by the impact the Providence Players has had on my life.

Tina plays the lead as Mary Haines in “The Women” with Claire Whitehead as her daughter, Little Mary.

Although I grew up in Greenwich Village, Broadway theater tickets were hard to come by.  So – I missed some of the greatest performances in American theater history! But I was a real wannabe. I loved movies – aided and abetted by my mother – a film editor. So, when given half a chance, I went off to the Midwest to study theater and to get a  Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Unfortunately, or fortunately, college burnout and some common sense caught up with me and I decided to take a break from my non-existent acting career and look for another line of work – one in which I could help people and find meaning. So, I ended up back in school, got a BSN and became a Registered Nurse. A career I have loved.

Tina as the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina in “You Can’t Take It With You.”

My family and I moved to Northern Virginia in 1996. I got a job at a medical center, working in healthcare quality and safety, and spent time raising my two children. When a neighbor invited me to see the local parents’ production of You Can’t Take it With You, I passed. I couldn’t imagine a community theater production would be very good.

Tina directs “Dinner with Friends” with (L-R) David Whitehead, Tina, Melissa Dunlap, Jayne L. Victor and Michael Donahue.

What a jerk! The same neighbor later asked me to volunteer on a subsequent production. It was fun, I met such wonderful people, and I was hooked.

Just a couple of years later I was directing a show for that same group, who had now become Providence Players of Fairfax. That first show, Born Yesterday, was presented in the Frost Middle School cafeteria. Most of the cast had little or no acting experience and it was such a delight to see everyone embrace the story and give truly delightful performances. When we moved to The James Lee Center, I directed The Man Who Came to Dinner, which inaugurated the newly renovated theater. Since that time, I have tried to direct plays that were not only engaging, but thought provoking, including Twelve Angry Men, Dinner with Friends, Other Desert Cities, and the play which truly resonated with a girl who grew up in Greenwich Village and who lived in Laramie, Wyoming – The Laramie Project.

Tina as Mrs. Kravitz in “Red Herring.”

I love acting as well as directing and a couple of directors were kind enough to cast me in a number of PPF productions. In my first foray on stage since college, I had a bit-part, with two lines, in The Best Man. I stepped onto the (cafeteria) stage, was blinded by the lights – and blew both lines. Happily, I seem to have improved since then and have been cast in some wonderful shows including The Skin of Our Teeth, Lend Me a Tenor, The WomenTwelfth Night, and Side Man.

Tina as Polly Wyeth with Bobby Welsh as Trip Wyeth in “Other Desert Cities.”

There is something very special, very communal in gathering with others to tell a story. We may be a small community theater but we are engaging in an activity that is thousands of years old. The blessing for me is that I am doing it with so many talented new friends and old friends.  Looking at all those pictures on my laptop reminded me of how special Providence Players is. As a theatrical family, over the past twenty years, we have welcomed new people, shared good times and sad times, while providing moments onstage of hilarious comic timing, as well as moments so stunning that they take the audience’s breath away.

I wanted to do something meaningful with my life – my experience with the Players has provided me with treasured friendships, opportunities to be creative, and a chance to share ideas with those fine people in the audience.  There is meaning in that.”

Save the Date:  Annual Winter Fest (Holiday) Party, January 11, 2020

It is never too early to save the date for this wonderfully festive annual event.  Food, friends and fun!  Put it on your calendars, so you can plan to join us!

Winner of the “Road Trip Memories” Contest!

In celebration of our final mainstage production of our 21st season, Leaving Iowa, we invited all members and patrons to join in on our journey.  Leaving Iowa is a funny, touching, inspiring show about how our trip through life and memories of our adventures shape our relationships and perspectives.  We launched a weekly photo/story sharing contest: “Road Trip Memories.”  It gave those who participated an opportunity to share their personal road trip photo and story and become part of the Leaving Iowa experience. And yes, there was a prize!  We are pleased to share that the winner of “Road Trip Memories” was Kathy White.  She won four tickets to Leaving Iowa and a $50.00 gift certificate to The Italian Cafe.  Read her story and the many other entries here.  Enjoy!

Join us for our 2019-2020 season!

Providence Players’ 22nd season will truly be a great one.  It starts with Agatha Christie’s most popular whodunit, followed by a holiday classic. In March, we produce a Pulitzer-prize winning drama followed by a romantic comedy that won numerous awards and Tony-award nominations!  Click here to read more about the plays selected for 2019-2020!  Season tickets are already on sale online.  Get your tickets today.

Blast from the Past:  First Show at James Lee

In looking for photos of Tina Thronson, I came across this photo of one of the rehearsals for The Man Who Came to Dinner, the first show produced at the James Lee Community Center.  Tina Thronson directed it.  You can see we were rehearsing at Fairfax Baptist Church (Jim Hoffman’s Church).  It includes present and past members (L-R) Tina Thronson (director), Matt Ames, Doodie Breathwaite, Michael Mattheisen, Larry Craven, Beth Hughes-Brown, Nick Mattheisen, Bill VanderClute, Geri Falek, David Whitehead (front row, seated), Barbara Gertzog, Ann Mattheisen and Donna Naybor.

Member Updates

  • We had our annual meeting, so there are lots of renewals this month.  Welcome back renewing members: Michael Bagwell & Clark Chesser, Bev Baughman & Michael Daze (and family), Janet Bartlemay, Sara Bennett, Beth Hughes-Brown & Tim Brown, Tommie Curtis, Ingrid & Patrick David, Michael Donahue, Janet Kohler Dueweke, Christian Faulkner, Stu Fischer, Jerry & Joe Gargiulo (and family), Craig & Debbie Geoffrion,  Chip & Barbara Gertzog (and family), Jason Hamrick, Kevin & Sarah Harnisch, Beth Harrison, Ia Ioannidou, Susan Kaplan, David Morris, Sarah Mournighan, Liz Mykietyn, Amanda Ranowsky, David & Kathi Ranowsky, Jaclyn & Jason Robertson (and family), Robbie & Nick Snow, Tina Thronson, Allison Turkel, Jayne L. Victor, Roxanne Waite, Beth & David Whitehead (and family).
  • And welcome new members:  Aleta Boylan, Susan Caswell, Sandra DeRocha, Chris Getek, Nancy Joyner, and Mary Lynn & Peter Rynkiewicz.  Welcome to Providence Players!
(Have an update you would like to share with your fellow members?  Please send an email to members@providenceplayers.org with the subject line “Member Update” and we will include it!)
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Click here to see a list of previous WEBLetters.
Editor:  David P. Whitehead (send a message to David)