Member WEBLetter (June 1)

Danine Welsh

Greetings from the Board President

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our latest parking lot venture! We enjoyed seeing all of you, loved the live music and the chance to perform in front of our amazing audiences! Your support means everything.

We are hearing reports that the James Lee Center will reopen in the fall, though nothing has been confirmed. We are hopeful that we will be able to bring you a full season – stay tuned!

In the meantime, summer is upon us already. I hope you and your families have plans for some kind of summer getaway – a chance to unplug and unwind! Before you go, members are invited to join us for our Annual Membership Meeting on Monday, June 14 at 6:30. (See Member Events page for details). We will have the meeting inside the Italian Café to report on our happenings, elect new directors to the Board and enjoy some social time together. I hope to see you there!

Danine Welsh
President, Providence Players of Fairfax

Improvisation in Captivity:  View from The Parking Lot

Should they or shouldn’t they?  Will they or won’t they? Will she or won’t she? Pro or Con? Yes or No?

Tina Thronson, Andra Whitt and Becky Manicone provide drinks and snacks for performances of The Parking Lot.

The Parking Lot, a play in twenty scenes written by New York playwright, Adam Szymkowicz, addressed all of these questions. The Providence Players, in partnership with the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and the Italian Café, presented great live music and live theatre in a real live parking lot. Patrons, members, friends and neighbors brought chairs and in some cases tables in order to sit under the stars and listen to terrific music performed by amazing artists. Then they got to watch real life husband and wife Beth and David Whitehead bring J and Terry to life with brilliance to decide whether or not they should stay married after being together through the pandemic.

David and Beth Whitehead in The Parking Lot

In addition to the Whiteheads, real life husband and wife, Jayne L. Victor and Michael Donahue, directed the play, Julie Janson and her husband, Christopher Crockett, produced and designed the sound respectively and Danine Welsh stage managed while her husband Bobby ran the sound board. We even had another PPF couple, Andra Whitt and her husband Jason Hamrick, make sure the bar was stocked and operating smoothly. It was a PPF family affair in so many ways.

PPF is very grateful to their friend Younes Jaferloo from The Italian Café  for his kindness and generosity in allowing the company to take over the back room and perform in his back parking lot. The response to The Parking Lot, and before that, Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon, was overwhelmingly positive so stay tuned for what may become an annual event. Frankly, the biggest hand goes to the weather gods for making sure the weather was perfect for all six performances!

Couple Compatibility: Just for Fun 

Since the spouses of the producer, director, and stage manager all worked on The Parking Lot, we decided, just for fun, to survey these fine folks, and the actors, to see how they would answer the same (yes silly) questions – about themselves and each other.

Jayne L. Victor and Michael Donahue

YOUR MOVIE STAR DOUBLE

Jayne Victor

  • Who should play YOU in a movie?  – Elizabeth Taylor
  • Who should play your SPOUSE in a movie?  – Jack Black

Mike Donohue

  • Who should play YOU in a movie? – Depending upon my weight, Jack Black or Kurt Russell
  • Who should play your SPOUSE in a movie? – Carol Burnett

Beth Whitehead

  • Who should play YOU? – Me, of course! 
  • Who should play your SPOUSE? – Tom Cruise

David Whitehead

  • Who should play YOU? –  Tom Cruise
  • Who should play your SPOUSE? –  Meryl Streep

Danine Welsh

  • Who should play YOU? –  Meg Ryan
  • Who should play your SPOUSE? –  Stanley Tucci

Bobby Welsh

  • Who should play YOU? –  Stanley Tucci
  • Who should play your SPOUSE? – Jennifer Aniston
Bobby and Danine Welsh

Julie Janson

  • Who should play YOU?  – Julia Stiles
  • Who should play your SPOUSE? – Benedict Cumberbatch

Chris Crockett

  • Who should play YOU?  – Matt Damon
  • Who should play your SPOUSE? – Bette Davis

CARTOONS?

Jayne Victor

  • What Disney character would YOU be? – Minnie Mouse
  • What Disney character would your SPOUSE be? – Gaston

Mike Donohue

  • What Disney character would YOU be? – Sloth from Ice Age
  • What Disney character would your SPOUSE be? – Betty Boop

Beth Whitehead

  • What Disney character would YOU be? – Snow White
  • What Disney character would your SPOUSE be? – The Prince

David Whitehead

  • What Disney character would YOU be? – Goofy
  • What Disney character would your SPOUSE be? – Cinderella
David and Beth Whitehead

Julie Janson

  • What Disney character would YOU be? – Stitch
  • What Disney character would your SPOUSE be? – Statler AND Waldorf

Chris Crockett

  • What Disney character would YOU be? – Wall-E
  • What Disney character would your SPOUSE be? – Edna “No Capes!” Mode

AND THEN … THERE’S THE APOCALYPSE!

Jayne Victor

  • How long would YOU last in the zombie apocalypse? – Longer than you think!
  • How long would your SPOUSE last? – Forever, he is very adaptable.

Mike Donohue

  • How long would YOU last in the zombie apocalypse? – If you can’t beat them, join them.
  • How long would your SPOUSE last? – As long as it takes for a zombie to turn her into one.

Danine Welsh

  • How long would YOU last in the zombie apocalypse? – 3 minutes.
  • How long would your SPOUSE last? – He would last the whole time.
Christopher Crockett and Julie Janson

Bobby Welsh

  • How long would YOU last in the zombie apocalypse? – Years
  • How long would your SPOUSE last? – Years

Julie Janson

  • How long would YOU last in the zombie apocalypse? – To the series Finale.
  • How long would your SPOUSE last? – To Episode One.

Chris Crockett

  • How long would YOU last in the zombie apocalypse? – About a week.
  • How long would your SPOUSE last? – She would be the last one standing.
Mike McLaughlin

Spotlight on a Board Member:  Mike McLaughlin

Mike McLaughlin was one of the original audience members of the company. He is an environmental engineer and attorney with a national engineering firm and is Chair of the Scholarships Committee–we seek to provide financial support to graduating high school seniors with an interest in the theater arts as they pursue a college degree. He is married to the former Barbara Prince Clark of Norfolk; they have three daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren who all live in the area.

Mike, in charge of space planning, lighting and security of the restaurant parking lot for outdoor performances.

“When we watched a group of neighbors take the stage at Mantua Elementary School to perform You Can’t Take It With You in 1998, we had no way of knowing how our world would change in a few short months. Our son Ryan was diagnosed with an unusual form of leukemia that summer, and he died sixteen months later at the age of 13. This community put its arms around us and helped us navigate the impossible. What makes community theater special are the people who make up the community.”

The McLaughlin family started the Young Hearts Foundation, and the Young Hearts and Providence Players have collaborated on holiday shows benefitting charities for almost ten years now. Mike’s only appearance on stage for PPF was as Reverend Hopkins in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. A performance for the ages (or for the aged). His civil engineering background has proved useful in the company’s two productions in the parking lot of the Italian Café, with Mike providing traffic control.

Washington Nationals Fan

Mike grew up in Mantua and attended Mantua Elementary, Luther Jackson Middle, and W.T. Woodson High School. At Virginia Tech he appeared on stage with former White House Advisor Steve Bannon in a broadcast debate as the two ran for student body president. Bannon won the election in a landslide, but McLaughlin won the debate. “The best advice I received that evening was to wait until after the debate to drink any of the free beer.”

“What makes community theater great is the teamwork required. There is a role for everyone, and the support this company offers to help different people find their place is second to none. I’m delighted to be working with friends and neighbors who care about one another and share their talents with the larger community.”

Upcoming Events:  Play Reading Night and Annual Membership Meeting

Play Reading Night (Virtual) – Join us on Tuesday, June 8, at 7:00 p.m. to read From the Porch – an original work by Teresa Sullivan. This is a witty yet gentle, domestic comedy about a multigenerational Irish – American household in small town New Jersey in the 1960s. Not only must the McCluskey parents deal with a quirky boarder on the hunt for his brother’s ashes, and nosey neighbor, but also the comings and goings of children on the verge of life-changing decisions – all from the perspective of their precocious, fourteen year old daughter and her view – from the porch.  Make sure you save the date and remember, only members can attend! So, if you need to, make sure you renew or join – and then RSVP to get the Zoom log-in information.

Annual Membership Meeting (in person & virtual)

Monday, June 14, 2021
Doors open at 6:30 PM, presentations begin at 7:15 PM

The Italian Café and Zoom

All Members of the Providence Players of Fairfax are invited for pizza, salad and a PPF status report.  The buffet will be served at 6:30 p.m., presentations at 7:15 p.m., and alcoholic beverages may be purchased from the restaurant.

As we look forward to life after COVID, the Board will provide an update on recent PPF activities, including a look at the year ahead. The Nominating Committee will also present a proposed slate of Board Directors for member approval.

Those attending must comply with CDC COVID guidance, state and local restrictions and restrictions imposed by The Italian Café.

Arrangements will be made for those who prefer to participate in the meeting via Zoom.  If you plan to participate virtually, please indicate that when you RSVP to members@providenceplayers.org.  The Zoom info will be sent to you.

Applause to Our Event Volunteers

Special thanks go to the hosts of the most recent member events:

  • For the April Play Reading Night we celebrated William Shakespeare’s birthday. Beth Whitehead and Amanda Ranowsky did a superlative job choosing and coordinating the reading of scenes from some of his greatest plays. The comments were unanimously positive so we look forward to another, similar event in future.
  • For the May Happy Hour, hosts Kathy White and Sara Bennett did a wonderful job organizing a musical game night. They created a series of challenging visual cues linked to Broadway musicals that kept most of us guessing. Congratulations to a past New York City resident, Ward Kay, who beat us all by a mile!
Kathi & David Ranowsky

Member Updates

  • Backstage and Under the Lights – Applause for a Family of Volunteers:  The Ranowskys – A special tribute to a family of volunteers that sat in those hard cafeteria seats at Frost Middle School many years ago.  Today, they are part of almost every aspect of PPF productions – on stage and off.  Enjoy this special applause for this very special family.  Read the entire tribute!

    Lieutenant Colonel Julie Janson
  • Congratulations to Director, Actor and Board Member Julie Janson – who is in the U. S. Air Force and was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel!  Thank you for your commitment to the Players and, more importantly, your service to this country.
  • We will miss Mary Zuzik Andrechik who is relocating to Virginia Beach with her family. Mary is a triple threat – a writer, director and actor. She wrote and directed the virtual PopUp Sleight of Hand. She also had a lead role in our production of August: Osage County. This creative, multitalented and delightful lady will be missed.
  • Shout out to Sarah Baczewski, recent Director of our Zoom PopUp Boredom, Fear, and Wine who is Directing The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg: a radio play with The Arlington Players.
    Amanda Ranowsky holding her WATCH award for Outstanding Costume Design for To Kill a Mockingbird.

    PPF member Elizabeth Keith and past member Kirstin Apker will appear.

  • Acting Gigs:
    • Mario Font and Jason Damaso will be in the St. Mark’s Players’ production of The Drowsy Chaperone to be filmed in June and broadcast in July.
    • Past member, Allen McRae will be in The 39 Steps, produced by the StageCoach Theater Co. and opening in September.
  • Katie Gargiulo tied the knot with Nick Fiorini on May 8th 2021.  Long time members and donors, Jerry and Joe Gargiulo, are the bride’s delighted parents.
Mary Zuzik Andrechik with Andra Whitt in August: Osage County
  • Past member, Amy Griffin married Josh Rombot on May 15th Amy graced our productions of And Then There Were None and Leaving Iowa.
  • Amanda Snow will wed Christopher O’Connell on June 13th, 2021. The bride has appeared in Witness for the Prosecution, Is He Dead? and The Women and is the daughter of long-time members, Robbie and Nick Snow.
  • Welcome back renewing members:  Michael Donahue and Jayne L. Victor, Mario Font and Jason Damaso, Ia Ioannidou, Nancy Joyner,  and Alison Turkel.
  • New members: Welcome to Providence PlayersRobert Barham, Kate Belliveau, and Roy Wagner.
  • If your membership is lapsed and you wish to renew, you can click here.

On Hiatus…unless something else comes up!

Fellow Members: Thank you for following our progress through the Providence Players WEBLetter. We enjoy sharing our member stories, pictures, events, updates and plans. As we look forward to the fall, and the (fingers crossed) upcoming theater season, we plan to take a WEBLetter break for the summer. We will happily accept any member updates for the next issue and we can still send out PPF Member Event notices as appropriate.  Just reach out to WEBLetter Editor by  sending a message to Tina.  In the meantime, have a great summer!  We will resume our WEBLetter in September.

Final Curtain?

(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!)
(In a show with another company?  Join our Facebook Group page.  Share the news!)
Click here to see a list of previous WEBLetters.
WEBLetter Editor:  Tina Hodge Thronson (send a message to Tina)