WEBLetter, March 2024

Kevin Harnisch

Message from the Providence Players Board President, Kevin Harnisch

Happy New Year!

Memories having been made, the days are getting longer, and preparations are under way for our winter and spring productions!

As you’ll see within this web letter, pictures of our holiday Winter Fest Party confirm our memories of a fantastic evening of good times with our friends and members.  We began the holiday with a well-received and successful musical. Now, we are busy at work on our next play, Surviving Grace, a story with great humor and authenticity. Stay tuned for yet another exceptional production.

Meanwhile, as we just celebrated Black History Month, Providence Players is pleased to continue our support of a local community festival. This is the 30th anniversary of the Annual Tinner Hill Festival, which honors the historically African American neighborhood in which our James Lee Theater is located. We will again be co-sponsoring the event.

Please join us June 8th for a fun day for the entire family of Grammy Award music and entertainment. Be sure to stop by at our sponsor table, located at the entrance to the Food Village. As always, we would love to see you!

Best regards,

Kevin Harnisch
President, Board of Directors

Coming Attraction:  Surviving Grace, by Trish Vradenburg

“Honey you are not really wearing that out of the house, are you?”  “I love your hair even though it is not blond….as I suggested.”

Are these phrases familiar?  They are often heard between mothers and daughters. The infamous mother-daughter relationship is explored in Providence Players’ upcoming production of Surviving Grace. This comedy with a twist explores family dynamics, coping with work-life challenges, and the universal desire to overcome adversity.

Not only was Vradenburg a playwright but she was also a novelist, journalist, and TV sitcom writer. In this very personal play, she provides her characters with the opportunity to present both the funny and poignant experiences that she and her family dealt with in real life. The characters in Surviving Grace handle their challenges with grit, humor and, well, with grace!

Sometimes laughter can be the best medicine. Director Jayne L. Victor and other members of the production team gathered earlier this month to conduct open auditions at the James Lee Center. Providence Players prides itself on a friendly and informal audition process and it was heartening to have so many people, non-members and veterans, come by to read scenes together. Best of all, they found the humor in the script so there was lots of laughter each evening.

Unfortunately for the Director, the play consists of only six (6) characters. With so many talented people auditioning this made casting very tough. Our thanks to everyone who came out to audition and our congratulations to the actors who were ultimately cast – see below:

* denotes Providence Players debut

Kate Griswald – Elizabeth Keith
Grace Griswald- Barbara Gertzog
Jack Griswald – John Coscia
Sam Gelman – Ian Wade
Lorna – Sandra DeRocha*
Madge Wellington – Jacqueline Youm*
Marty – Ward Kay

Performance Dates and Times
Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.
April 12 – April 27
Sunday Matinees 2:00 p.m.
April 14 & 21

Holiday Finale: The Providence Players Winter Fest Party

Baby it was cold outside – but the Providence Players holiday party was cozy-warm at Clare and Don’s Restaurant this past January. Here are photos of our members celebrating the New Year.

Save the Dates

30th Annual Tinner Hill Music Festival – Once again Providence Players is looking forward to partnering with The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation in support of the 30th Annual Tinner Hill Heritage Music Festival.  Join us on Saturday, June 8th, 2024, from 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM in Cherry Hill Park at 312 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA, 22046.

Providence Players General Membership meeting –  The Board of Directors of the Providence Players will host the annual membership meeting on Monday, June 10th, 2024.  It provides an opportunity to meet and greet new and seasoned members while getting an update on company activities and plans for the year ahead. We will announce the plays for the next season and present a proposed slate for Board of Directors in 2024-2025.  Please come and spend time with friends and fellow theater colleagues – we would love to see you.   Location and details TBD but expect a fun evening.

Congratulations to our WATCH Award nominees!

Ninety-four productions (thirty-six musicals and fifty-eight plays) were adjudicated by WATCH judges during the 2023 season.  Twenty-six community theaters participated. Congratulations to the two Providence Players productions honored with nominations for this past year Don’t Dress for Dinner and Deathtrap.

Awards will be presented on March 17th at The Birchmere in Alexandria VA.

Providence Players nominees in the following categories are:

  • Outstanding Play – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Direction of a Play – Beth Giles-Whitehead & David Whitehead – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Leta Hall Outstanding Ensemble – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Lead Actor in a Play – Bruce Alan Rauscher as “Robert” – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Properties – Michael Donahue – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Set Decoration in a Play – Ingrid David – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Set Design in a Play – Ingrid David & Patrick David – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Set Construction in a Play – David Whitehead & Patrick David – Don’t Dress for Dinner
  • Stage Combat Choreography – Michael Donahue – Deathtrap

Enjoy these photos of Don’t Dress for Dinner and Deathtrap.

Member Updates

  • Congratulations to playwright, and member, Teresa Sullivan who allowed us to premier her play The Beatle Club in 2021. Teresa’s work Faye, a one-hour dramedy series, was just honored by the Independent Writers’ Caucus. Faye was designated one of the “Top 20 screenplays and pilots” for 2024 written by IWC members. Check out the details by clicking on https://www.iwclist.com/team/teresa-sullivan
  • Shout out to Han Nguyen – The Marshall High School student who played Karen in our production of The Beatle Club has become a prize-winning actress and playwright! Han took Best Actor honors recently at the Virginia High School League Theater State Championships, and her play It Doesn’t End in Nebraska won the Regional round of the One Act festival. This means it will be presented at the State finals in Charlottesville on March 2nd. We have been lucky to be part of her journey and wish this talented young woman all the best.
  • Julie Janson and Chris Crockett are taking Providence Players international! Our fellow members are working on a play with the BATS Theater, an international amateur theatre group performing in English, based in Stavanger Norway. Julie will be directing Meteor Shower by Steve Martin and has wisely cast Chris in the production.  Break a leg, friends, and let us know how it is going!
  • Welcome New members:  Tom Michalisko, Deborah Peetz, Liza Pena, and Teresa Preston.  Welcome to Providence Players!
  • Renewing members include:  Susan Dye, Sally Ann Flores, Barbara Gertzog, Chris Getek, Ward Kay, Lesleyanne Kessler, Jennifer Levy, Roberta Lisker, Becky McNair,  Dean Reichard, Sara Alipahah Slattery, Tim Slattery, Robbie Snow, Kerri Wilson, Linda Wilson and Ali Zaikouk.
  • If your membership is lapsed and you wish to renew, you can click here.

Want to join in the fun? Here are two ways to let us know!

  • Send an email directly to members@providenceplayers.org  and we will pass along your interest to the Directors.
  • Complete the Member Interest survey. To get started just click the link below, take 5 minutes, fill out the form and hit send!  We will review your interests and reach out to you when opportunities present themselves.

Click here to fill out the volunteer form. 

We look forward to working and playing with you!

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!)
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WEBLetter Editor:  Tina Hodge Thronson