Member WEBLetter, January 2022

The President’s Note: by Nick Manicone

Becky and Nick Manicone

Dear Friends,

I hope you were able to enjoy our fall productions of The Beatle Club by Teresa Sullivan and Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! by Allison Gregory. It was great to be back in the James Lee Center Theater and to see so many of you again.
In light of the most recent COVID surge, we have decided to postpone the Holiday Party that was originally scheduled for January 8. My fellow board members and I are truly disappointed since this is always a fun membership activity and a great way to celebrate together. We are hopeful that circumstances will change enough to allow us to party together in the near future.

Our next show, the magical Enchanted April by Matthew Barber, opens March 25, so there’s still plenty to do with Providence Players. Rehearsals will be starting soon, and in the following weeks we will be sending out a survey to help us find fully vaccinated volunteers interested in helping with sets, costumes, lights, and other production opportunities.

We will still have events planned in order for us to gather, even if via Zoom, and we invite you to join us for our play readings as well as our lively happy hours. Finally, in late spring, we’ll be preparing for the last show of the season, the intriguing Playing Juliet and Casting Othello by Caleen Sinnette Jennings. So, we ask you to keep an eye out for emails and the WEBLetter so you can continue with the fun and community that is Providence Players.

As always, if you have any questions, or thoughts you’d like to share about the company or our shows and other offerings, please feel free to reach out to me at

Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Nick Manicone
President, Providence Players of Fairfax

E (Sound tech), Nora (May), Han (Lucille), and Jeff (Sheldon) at the opening party.

A Final Shout-out for Allison Gregory’s Junie B. in Jingle Bells Batman Smells! by Susan Kaplan

Wowie Wow Wow! Big thanks go out to the cast and crew of the Providence Players holiday production of Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! by Allison Gregory. Ariana MacLeod delighted audiences in the title role. She was joined by fellow cast members Nora Rice as her over-bearing nemesis May and Ric Andersen as the terribly put-upon Mr. Scary. Joe Neff adeptly portrayed both a six-year-old (Sheldon) and an octogenarian (Grampa Miller). Will MacLeod (Herb) offered an excellent counterbalance to Ariana’s exuberant Junie B. as her quiet best friend. Han Nguyen (Lucille) was the perfect snotty richie-rich girl, and Annie Bracken (Phillip Johnny Bob) was adorable as Junie B.’s alter-ego. Jaclyn Robertson (José, Mr. Toot, Elf Ellen) took on three very different roles and entertained audiences with each of them. Junie B. was directed by Sarah Baczewski, marking her first time directing a mainstage production for PPF.  We thank them all for a wonderful and entertaining addition to our holiday celebrations.

Up Next – Enchanted April

In this gentle and romantic comedy, two London housewives pool their savings to rent a villa in Italy for a ladies-only holiday away, reluctantly recruiting a pair of difficult upper-class women to share the cost and the experience. Against the backdrop of a country still reeling from World War I, the women join together under the Mediterranean sun, seeking a necessary balm of sunshine and renewal. Soon joined by the villa owner, husbands and lovers, the four women clash — and then begin to bond and bloom. Enchanted April won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New American Play in 2003, along with numerous Tony Award nominations.

Are you a JUDGY JUDGY Person?

Be a WATCH Judge and see 10 free local productions!
Consider representing PPF and become a WATCH (Washington Area Theatre Community Honors) judge.  What will it require?

  • Being an active member of PPF
  • Being one of four PPF judges to adjudicate participating community theater productions
  • Adjudicating 10 productions a year
  • Training videos are available and a PPF member (Mario Font) can work with new judges.
  • Most companies provide a free companion ticket to the WATCH judge. (So, you can bring a friend!)
  • Judges need to be willing to drive to some distant theater locations.
  • WATCH Awards are presented yearly at a ceremony to recognize excellence in community theater. (See if other judges agreed with your scoring)

If you are interested, or have questions, please reach out to Mario Font at (703) 213-7337. Or email

PPF Get Your ART On: The Survey is coming!

In this post-pandemic reboot, many people have reassessed their priorities which we hope include getting back to, or kicking off, the feeding of your artistic spirit!  Keep an eye out for an upcoming survey. It will be your opportunity to let us know what your interests are. We will want to hear from you!

Dan Schrader

Spotlight: The Boss of the Theater – Dan Schrader
By Tina Thronson

Frequent patrons of our productions may have noticed a scruffy, middle-aged man in a denim work shirt and jeans popping in at the back of the theater and scanning the proceedings. He doesn’t say anything. He just, you know, watches. Then, poof, he’s gone. Who is that guy and what is he doing?

He is Dan Schrader, the JLC Theater Technical Director – and he’s working! Since 2014 Dan has been responsible for managing the use of the theater – which means that he schedules the use of theater and coordinates the technical use of the space. It’s a responsibility he takes seriously, so he routinely casts his eagle eye on the activities to be sure that the space is always used appropriately. Providence Players has been grateful to be working with someone so professional. However, for this interview, I discovered how “professional” Dan really is.

His theatrical journey began when he was cast as the lead Teddy Bear in the first grade, continued by working on church plays as a teen and then as a theater major at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. By then he was committed to a life in the theater using his talents in sound, light and set design. Ultimately, he became a professional theatrical carpenter and electrician.

Jewel Orem and Dan Schrader at The Beatle Club opening weekend event.

During a job with the Maryland Shakespeare Festival, he met Jewel Orem. There was an attraction between them, but her plans included “becoming a serious actress” and, since he was “more interested in having fun,” her plans did not include him. However, they remained friends and six years later, while working together with Wooly Mammoth, he must have appeared to be more serious because they married, and he became Daniel Orem Schrader while Jewel became Jewel Schrader Orem.

They have been married for 23 years and their priority has been to continue to work together and to work in the theater. Over the years Jewel has taught theater in California, in Virginia and in Maryland – teaching for four years in Hyattsville and over 20 years at Imagination Stage! Happily, she recently graced the PPF stage playing the grandmother in The Beatle Club.

Dan has worked with the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Roundhouse and Woolly Mammoth theater companies. Near the end of our interview he even admitted that, when the Helen Hayes award was given to Woolly Mammoth for their Resident production of The Pitchfork Disney by Philip Ridley, he won the Helen Hayes award for Outstanding Sound Design! Clearly Dan has a streak of modesty.

Both he and Jewel remain committed to teaching, performing, and creating theater in both professional and community settings. In 2014, Dan spotted an opportunity to use his experience and expertise at the JLC theater. Here he has guided numerous productions of dance and theater in the safe and appropriate use of the theater. He has also, in his free time, continued to provide technical designs for several companies as well as designs and construction in support of performances by clients participating in music therapy with the “A Place to Be” program in Middleburg.

So, as Dan reminded me at the end of our interview, “I am here to answer questions and to make sure things in the theater go smoothly. The only way that happens is if lines of communication are open. I want and need people to keep me posted.”
Yes Sir, Dan – We are grateful to have you on site!

ArtsFairfax Awards a Pivot Grant to Providence Players

Approved by the Fairfax County board, the PIVOT program provides financial grants to small businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations, negatively impacted by the COVID epidemic.  “Fairfax County is committed to helping businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic,” Board of Supervisor Chairman Jeff McKay said in a news release. “Through the PIVOT grant we will help those businesses who saw the greatest financial impact regain their momentum so they will be able to thrive in the reopening marketplace.”  Federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act is supporting the program with $25 million to the county.

Late last month, Providence Players was selected to receive a grant award as part of the large arts organizations, museums, and historical sites category.  Congratulations to the entire board for this success.

Upcoming Event: Play Reading Event, Tuesday, February 8, 2022

We are currently on the hunt for a good script to share. Details to follow.  Remember, only members can attend! So, if you need to, make sure you renew or join.

Member Updates

  • Nora Rice and David Rawlings in August: Osage County.

    In Memorium, David Rawlings –  We received word that our friend and fellow member David has died after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He served in the US Army and most recently was stationed at the Pentagon. He had multiple roles in our production of The Gift of the Magi by Jon Jory and a leading role as Steve in August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. He was a gifted actor and a kind human being. He recently returned to Texas and was surrounded by his family when he passed. We send his friends and family our deepest condolences.

Young Hearts volunteer to do concessions for Junie B.
  • Thanks to the Young Hearts for all their work to add Holiday fun to the Junie B. concessions. Numerous members took a turn looking silly and gobbling up cookies.
  • Providence Players at Play Happy Hour –Our last gathering (November) was at Liberty BBQ in Falls Church. About 20 Players commandeered the high-top tables at the front of the restaurant and ate, drank, laughed and table hopped. It was great to see folks we haven’t seen in a while. Thanks to Danine Welsh for coordinating the evening!  See some of the photos from the event below.

    Katie Zimmerman and member Tina Thronson at the Kennedy Center.
  • Members at play –  some members attended the Kennedy Center while others cuddled up at home.
  • Welcome back renewing members:  Larry Craven, Christopher Crockett & Julie Janson, Christine Getek, Robbie, Nick & Amanda Snow, and Kay Ward.
  • New members:  Frederic Andersen, Ellen Ingson & Family, Sharon Kourtz, and Jessica Smith.  Welcome to Providence Players!
  • If your membership is lapsed and you wish to renew, you can click here.
  • Enjoy these photos from the Providence Players Happy Hour!

Final Curtain?

(Have an update you would like to share with your fellow members?  Please send an email to 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)