Member WEBLetter, February 2023

Heartfelt Good Wishes and Greetings from the Providence Players Board

Tina Thronson

On behalf of President Nick Manicone and the entire Board, I welcome you to our Valentine’s Day edition of the WEBLetter. Not only do we hope that those who attended the Providence Players 25th Anniversary celebration were “feeling the love” – but we also wish the same for all our members, audiences, and donors.

Twenty-five years of high-quality community theater really requires lots of community engagement, a bit of talent and a commitment to achieve consistent, excellent entertainment. This season began with the irreverent and hilarious play November by David Mamet followed by our tune-filled first foray into a cabaret for the holidays. We intend to maintain our track record with our final two productions. Our March offering, Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, is the story of three brilliant women in 1900 and the challenges they faced in pursuing their dream of studying the stars. We will finish the season in June with a classic mistaken identity farce, by Marc Camoletti, Don’t Dress for Dinner.

Please continue to support us. Don’t forget to bring your friends and loved ones. We are confident you will be delighted with these productions.

Sincerely – and with Love,
Tina Thronson, Board Member & WEBLetter Editor

Our March Production:  Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson

In 1900 most young women dream of a husband and children.  Henrietta Leavitt grew up in the Midwest where the dark, night sky was ablaze with stars. She may be hard of hearing, but Henrietta Leavitt is well educated and more than qualified to pursue her ambition of becoming an Astronomer.  When offered her dream job, she moves to Cambridge Massachusetts. The Department of Astronomy at Harvard!

The director, stage manager and cast of Silent Sky. See news post for full cast list.

Based on a true story, Henrietta becomes one of a trio of extraordinary women who face the inequities of male dominance in academia, the pressures of family commitments, and a society that contends that women’s capabilities are limited.

Hearts and stars are a challenging combination.  Henrietta’s obligations to her family and her desire to find love come into direct conflict with her passion for astronomy and her determination to answer the basic question of the age – where are we in the universe?

Join us, for this production, to see her slice of heaven and to meet Henrietta Swan Leavitt, one of the most famous Astronomers you have never heard of.  Tickets on sale now!  See the official announcement posting of the cast and director here.

(L-R) Founding members John Coscia, Sara Bennett, Jim Caldwell and Mary Angelo join the celebration.

Spotlight:  Providence Members Celebrate 25 Years

Twenty-five years in business is a huge reason to celebrate! Providence Players partied in style on Saturday, January 14 at a gathering to honor its members and donors. The 25th Anniversary Celebration was an evening that brought old and new friends together to remember the many plays presented during our long history. It was also a chance for everyone to admire the gallery of Chip Gertzog’s many fabulous photos while laughing at how young we looked and reminiscing about the productions. The Italian Café and owner Younes Jafarloo graciously provided the perfect venue for the evening of dinner, dancing, and surprises.

Long-time members (L) Matt and Ann Ames (seated) pose with Patrick David.

PPF Vice President, Kevin Harnisch and PPF Secretary, Janet Bartelmay welcomed the large crowd and thanked everyone for their continued support of the company. A highlight of the evening, and a surprise to its recipient, was the announcement of the renaming of the Providence Players scholarship program to The Gerry Connolly Scholarship for the Performing Arts. Congressman Connolly, and his wife Smitty, were in attendance. They have been steadfast founders and supporters and he was delighted to accept the honor.

Longtime member and actor, Sara Bennett treated the crowd to a song she wrote commemorating so many of the shows and the people who made them possible. Sara’s musical and comedic talents afforded a fun highlight to the evening.

Sara Bennett sings an historical tribute!

The evening’s fun and frivolity were in full display, captured by multiple camera phones, a photo booth, and a caricaturist. A special cake was brought out which prompted the singing of Happy Birthday to the Providence Players. Tunes were spun by John Howard’s A2Z Music Factory. New knees and hips, as well as old ones, were in full swing as folks danced the night away.

As we look toward our 26th season we wish all our members, donors, sponsors and friends good health, good times, and good theatre in this New Year. We look forward to celebrating again next year and in the meantime, know our gratitude is bottomless; without you, our members, no shows would go on.  Enjoy the rest of these photos of the event.

WATCH Announces 2022 Award Nominees

Mack Leamon in Playing Juliet and Casting Othello

The Washington Area Theatre Community Honors, better known as the WATCH Awards, are theater awards recognizing excellence in Community theater in the Washington, D.C. area. Member companies supply judges to attend and review plays throughout the year.  Thanks to the service of our WATCH judges:  Mario Font, Tara Tripp, Ward Kay and Mary Beth Smith Toomey.  The 2022 Watch Awards nominations were announced January 15th. The awards will be presented on March 19th.

Matthew Randall (L) as Archer in November.

Here are the 2022 WATCH Awards Nominations!

  • Outstanding Set Painting in a Play – Ingrid David, Susan Kaplan, & Tina Hodge Thronson – Enchanted April
  • Outstanding Sound Design in a Play – Christopher Crockett – Enchanted April
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play – Matthew Randall as “Archer Brown” – November
  • Outstanding Set Construction in a Play – John Coscia – November
  • Outstanding Set Decoration in a Play – Ali Zaikouk – November
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play – Mack Leamon as “Jimmy” – Playing Juliet and Casting Othello
Board members Janet Bartelmay (R) and Kevin Harnisch (L) announce the newly named scholarship program after Congressman Gerry Connolly (center) at the 25th anniversary celebration.

Behind the Scenes:  Announcing the Gerry Connolly Scholarship for the Performing Arts

In recognition of the many contributions to Providence Players made by Congressman Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly, the Providence Players Board of Directors announced that it has named the organization’s scholarship program The Gerry Connolly Scholarship for the Performing Arts.  Established in 2011, the program awards annual scholarships to local high school seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to theater arts.  

The announcement was made at PPF’s recent 25th Anniversary Celebration. The Board cited Congressman Connolly’s contributions to PPF over its twenty-five-year history. Perhaps most notable was his assistance in 2004 in forging the partnership PPF has enjoyed with the James Lee Community Center when the theater was restored.  The Board further noted his frequent, delightful onstage performances and cameos, including in its very first production You Can’t Take It With You in 1998 and in its most recent production November in 2022. Congressman Connolly has been a consistent supporter of the Providence Players and it was a pleasure to honor him in this manner.

Save the Date:  Providence Annual Membership Meeting

Mark your calendars:  the Providence Players Annual Membership meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at The Italian Café.

Member Updates

Sophia Manicone
  • We knew her when! Congratulations to Sophia Manicone. New York City Center’s production of Parade will officially transfer to Broadway this March and the lovely Sophia will remain with the company. 
  • Shout out to a new member Marie Flanigan who is the author of two mystery novels with a third book on the verge of publication. To decompress, she has been creating “vintage” circa 1900 astronomical props for Silent Sky.  Welcome aboard!
  • Welcome New members:  Lesleyanne Kessler and Todd Newman, Welcome to Providence Players!
  • Renewing members include Thomas Barrett, The Cutler/Glazier Family (Talia, Chip & Kelly), Joe Gargiulo, Christine Getek, and Kay Ward. 
  • If your membership is lapsed and you wish to renew, you can click here.

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