Chapel Street Players http://chapelstreetplayers.org /// Your Ticket to Great Theater Mon, 15 Apr 2019 18:16:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 72764603 Audition :: Night Watch http://chapelstreetplayers.org/audition-night-watch/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/audition-night-watch/#respond Wed, 03 Apr 2019 21:03:54 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=4849 Audition dates: Apr 22 & 23 (Mon & Tues) @ 7:00pm
Possible Callback if necessary : Apr 25 (Thu) @ 7:00pm

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Audition dates: Apr 22 & 23 (Mon & Tues) @ 7:00pm
Possible Callback if necessary : Apr 25 (Thu) @ 7:00pm

Director Susan Moak is looking for actors and actress for different ages:
Females:

  • Elaine Wheeler : 28-40
  • Helga: 40-70 (German Accent)
  • Blanche Cooke: 30-40
  • Dr. Tracey Lake: 40+

Males:

  • John Wheeler: 30-50
  • Vanelli : 25-50
  • Curtis Appleby: 50+
  • Lt. Walker: 30+
  • Sam Hoke: 50+

Cold readings, no monologues necessary.

Show Date: Sep 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 @8pm / Sep 15 @2pm / 2019

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Audition :: The Lion In Winter http://chapelstreetplayers.org/audition-the-lion-in-winter/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/audition-the-lion-in-winter/#respond Wed, 03 Apr 2019 21:15:27 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=4853 Audition dates: May 13 & 14 (Mon & Tues) @ 7:00pm
Possible Callback if necessary : May 15 (Wed) @ 7:00pm

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Audition dates: May 13 & 14 (Mon & Tues) @ 7:00pm
Possible Callback if necessary : May 15 (Wed) @ 7:00pm

Director Gwen Armstrong Barker seeks 7 actors (2F, 4M, 1 role open to genderblind casting).  Actors should come prepared to do cold readings from the text. Contact Gwen at gwenarmstrongbarker@gmail.com for copies of the sides that will be used.

If you feel a monologue shows your best work, we’d love to see it!  Please alert Gwen before the audition so she can set aside time at the end of the evening for monologues if needed.

Character Descriptions:

  • Henry: (50’s-60’s) King of England and “the greatest power in a thousand years”.   Henry sees his time running out and, without a clear heir-apparent, fears his sons will tear the country apart vying for the crown after his death.
  • Eleanor: (50’s-60’s) Henry’s brilliant and manipulative wife whom he has released temporarily from the tower in which he keeps her.  She wants to influence the selection of the next king and negotiate her own release if she can.
  • Richard: (20’s – early 30’s) Henry and Eleanor’s oldest son, the legendary soldier and Eleanor’s favorite, is realizing he is more powerful than his father and is eager to take his birthright
  • Geoffrey: (20’s – Considering Genderblind casting for this role) the brightest (and coldest) son is bitter about being passed over for the throne and angling for power
  • John: (late teens early 20’s) Henry’s youngest and favorite son, would like to scheme and manipulate with his brothers, but is in over his head
  • Alais: (20’s) Henry’s lover and ward, is desperate to avoid being sold in marriage to the next king
  • Phillip: (late teen’s early 20’s) Alais’s brother and King of France, wants to avenge the humiliations Henry heaped on his father when he was alive

Rehearsals:  We’re planning a lighter rehearsal schedule (1-2 per week) over the Summer to accommodate vacations.  After Labor Day, the rehearsal schedule will increase to 3 (2 weeknights 1 weekend) per week. Not all cast members will need to be at every rehearsal.

Show Date: Nov 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 @8pm / Nov 17 @2pm / 2019

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85th Season Announcement http://chapelstreetplayers.org/85th-season-announcement/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/85th-season-announcement/#comments Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:21:20 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=4491

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(Submitted Review) Cuckoo’s Nest http://chapelstreetplayers.org/submitted-review-cuckoos-nest/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/submitted-review-cuckoos-nest/#respond Sun, 30 Sep 2018 21:09:03 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=3160 I got three things to say about last night production of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” at Newark’s Chapel Street Player, on well … Chapel street.
Directing. You can’t see it, but I am standing in front of my computer, clapping. Bravo Brian Touchette and Susan Boudreaux.

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I got three things to say about last night production of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” at Newark’s Chapel Street Player, on well … Chapel street.
Directing. You can’t see it, but I am standing in front of my computer, clapping. Bravo Brian Touchette and Susan Boudreaux. Just beautiful. You said you’ve been wanting to direct this play for more than four years; I can only guess it’s been etching at the back of your mind just as long. Your retelling of the archetypal Christ story was superb (I won’t get into a whole archetypal criticism discussion, but just know Mr. Touchette and Ms. Boudreaux get it). The pacing was excellent and the production consistently interesting.
Set Design. According to the program, Mr. Touchette also designed the set. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. I’m flat out of superlatives. I am clapping so loud; my poor Dachshund is howling from all the noise; it is 0612 Sunday morning. The set is superb. It is a standalone work of art. Mr. Touchette and Ms. Boudreaux’s use of vertical space by putting the nurse’s station physically aloft from the patient area helped create a sense of isolation for both the nursing staff and patients. The set itself was actually a member of the cast.
Tech. tech, tech. The tech was simply great. Shout out to everyone. From Set decoration and effects to the painting of the floor and everything in between It was boffo. The tech design and execution had the effect of deepening the overall story and creating an ambience that complemented the story, set design, and subtext.

I guess that’s it. Oh, the acting was the usual Chapel Street high standard. It was excellent. I won’t go into any great detail about who did what, because well, that’s not what I want to write about this time and I’m running out of gas.
With that being said, I have to confess admiration for Andre Wilkins – I love watching him act. He does so many things well. His physical schtick is always a blast.

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UseMeForHeadline http://chapelstreetplayers.org/845/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/845/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:59:05 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=845 Chapel Street Players 2019-2020 Production Schedule

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Chapel Street Players 2019-2020 Production Schedule

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(A. Renaldi) You’d be crazy to miss One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Chapel Street https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2018/09/24/one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest/ https://anthonyrenaldiofficial.com/2018/09/24/one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest/#respond Tue, 25 Sep 2018 15:14:47 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=3149 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dan Wasserman’s stage adaptation of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, which premiered on Broadway November 13, 1963 and ran for 82 performances with two revivals (off-Broadway, 1971, and Broadway, 2001) and inspired a film version starring Jack Nicholson, premiered on the Chapel Street Players stage Friday evening.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dan Wasserman’s stage adaptation of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, which premiered on Broadway November 13, 1963 and ran for 82 performances with two revivals (off-Broadway, 1971, and Broadway, 2001) and inspired a film version starring Jack Nicholson, premiered on the Chapel Street Players stage Friday evening. Brian M. Touchette (It’s A Wonderful Life) is at the helm of this latest CSP production which has become a modern day American classic. Susan Boudreaux (last seen in Murder on Cue) has taken the assistant director’s chair this time out. OFOTCN stars (in order of appearance), Arthur D. Paul, Chis Hankenson, Stephen M. Ashby, Michael D. Peco, Joe Pukatsch, Michelle Opalesky, Shelli Haynes, Kristin Williamson, Alan Harbaugh, Stephen Ross Ashby, Josh Pelikan, Frank Newton, André Wilkins, Matthew Brown, Scott F. Mason, Pete Matthews, Amy Bucco, and Krista Williams.

The humdrum of an Oregon state mental hospital ward is thrown into chaos when Randle P. McMurphy manages to get himself committed, opting to serve his time “for repeated outbreaks of passion that suggest the possible diagnosis of [a] psychopath” in the institution to avoid hard labor at a work farm. McMurphy believes his sentence will be easier in the hospital, but realizes his error when he clashes with Head Nurse Ratched, a fierce martinet. In defiance, McMurphy takes control of the ward, doing what the medical professionals could not. He inspires a presumed deaf and dumb man to speak, he leads other patients out of introversion, stages a revolt to watch the World Series on TV, and arranges a wild party with booze and floosies. Ratched’s punishment for these transgressions is swift and merciless. This landmark drama highlights the despotic environments in mid-20th century state mental hospitals. Psychiatric medicines had, by then, become part of the treatment plan, but such barbaric practices as electric shock therapy and frontal lobotomies were still practiced, especially in the treatment of violent patients.

Mason is well-known to CSP audiences both on and off the stage. He’s a fine actor and quite likeable as McMurphy, a crass and sarcastic minor criminal who finds ways to challenge Ratched’s strict authority and encourages an uprising. I was somewhat bemused by the raspy, Popeye-like voice with which Mason chose to portray the character and the unexplained, sporadic physical ailment that seems to plague McMurphy, but despite those things, Mason succeeds in winning the audience over, portraying McMurphy’s warmth, humor, and strength of character as he leads the other patients in revolt.

Ratched (Haynes) is the quintessential villain. The Machiavellian head nurse reigns supreme over the asylum, her own personal island of misfit toys. Haynes’ Ratched plays more subtly at first, her counterfeit compassion slowly dissolving, revealing her manipulative and masochistic nature as she bullies her patients—as well as Dr. Spivey (Matthews)—into submission. Haynes plays the tyrannical nurse to perfection with her artificial smile and stoic demeanor, never retreating, even in the face of McMurphy’s most loathsome taunts and pranks.

The ensemble group of inmates in this looney bin is exceptional and they are what allows this drama to flow so easily. Character commitment throughout the production is extraordinary and consistently displayed. Arthur D. Paul delivers a touching performance as Chief Bromdon, a Native American who feigns being a deaf mute for years out of fear that he is not big enough to fight the system. Stephen Ross Ashby (Billie Bibbit) is endearing as a stuttering young man who’s spent his entire life wallowing in self-reproach, feeling he’s a disappointment to everyone, desperately seeking his mother’s approval, and who just wants to find someone who’ll love him. Alan Harbaugh (Harding), Frank Newton (Cheswick), André Wilkins (Martini), and Josh Pelikan (Scanlon) make up the core quintet of the asylum (which includes Billie). Their antics deliver huge laughs such as when Martini deals cards to players he’s hallucinated and licks the erotic playing card Randle shows him. Pelikan is just insanely funny as Scanlon. Kristin Williamson is a hoot as Ratched’s timid nursing assistant, garnering giggles with her fearful outbursts. Amy Bucco, Krista Williams, Michelle Opalesky, Michael D. Peco, and Chris Hankenson all deliver solid performances as Candy Starr, Sandy, and Aides Williams, Warren, and Turkle, respectively. Matthew Brown (Buckley), with his shocking crucifixion poses and side-splitting larks, gains the audience’s full attention without uttering a word. Even Stephen M. Ashby, and Joe Pukatsch (Chronic Patients 1 and 2) were quite effective as “chronics,” all their conditions perfectly articulated physically and emotionally.

Brian Touchette does a fine job directing the production, setting a nice pace to keep the action flowing, making great use of the stage, and managing the large cast. Touchette also designed the set, partnering with Scott Mason, Michelle Cullen, and Pete Matthews among others to bring it from concept to reality. The direction CSP took in designing and building the set was refreshingly different from other productions I’ve seen—slightly nightmarish and industrialized versus pristine and antiseptic. Special effects/Pyrotechnics and video imagery are spectacular, kudos to Ray Barto and Peter Kuo. Lighting and costumes are also first rate.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a sobering American drama packaged as a circus side show that has the audience laughing right up to the mind-altering end. The benefits of theater as therapy cannot be overstated. My prescription is a brief stay at the Chapel Street Asylum. A group therapy session with the resident psycho-ceramics (the cracked pots of mankind) is highly recommended. You’d be crazy to miss One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest which runs through September 29th. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit http://www.chapelstreetplayers.org to reserve your tickets today.

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(DEArtsInfo)Cuckoo for Chapel Street’s Latest Production http://www.deartsinfo.com/2018/09/cuckoo-for-chapel-streets-latest.html http://www.deartsinfo.com/2018/09/cuckoo-for-chapel-streets-latest.html#respond Tue, 25 Sep 2018 15:11:26 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=3147 By Carol Van Zoeren

In the program’s Director’s Message, Brian Touchette states his objective is to immerse the audience in the world of the play. He begins even before the play starts by cleverly presenting the curtain speech as a letter from Nurse Ratched,

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By Carol Van Zoeren

In the program’s Director’s Message, Brian Touchette states his objective is to immerse the audience in the world of the play. He begins even before the play starts by cleverly presenting the curtain speech as a letter from Nurse Ratched, welcoming the audience to participate in this “group therapy session” while also reminding us to turn off our cell phones.

He furthers this with a gorgeous set that evokes a decaying industrial setting, rusty, dirty and dented, with incongruously cheery Christmas lights in the “Control Room”. He pairs Chief Bromden’s monologues with mechanical imagery and sound that augment the Chief’s terror of the destructive machines that consumed his family, his tribe and his sense of self.

Touchette more than succeeded in immersing me in the world of the play. Yes, I was fully invested, but was also especially gratified that these elements highlighted many themes of the play that I might have otherwise missed.

For those unfamiliar with the play, or the 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, a brief plot synopsis: Randall P. McMurphy is committed to a psychiatric ward after “a couple of hassles down at the Work Farm and the Court ruled that I’m a psychopath.” The ward is ruled by Nurse Ratched. A war for control ensues between McMurphy and Ratched, with both tragic and uplifting results. But this plot is merely a vehicle for deep examination of how institutions can destroy, how power can corrupt, and how one can both lose and win at the same time.

OK, enough of the English 101 essay. This is a community theater review, so let’s talk about the performances.

Scott F. Mason is a talented actor with whom I have shared the stage, and I was delighted to see him play McMurphy. Mason portrayed the bravado that has carried McMurphy through every hardship, and also well conveyed moments of doubt when he realizes the power of the forces aligned against him. My only quibble with the entire production is the choice for him to use a deeply gravelly voice throughout. This was distracting, at time made his lines difficult to understand, and generally detracted from the authenticity of the character.

As Nurse Ratched, Shelli Haynes embodied the iron fist beneath the velvet glove (thinking of the cheery Christmas lights in the Control Room). Ratched’s highest priority is control and power. Haynes expertly played Ratched’s repertoire of tools — sing-songy comfort, intimidation, emotional blackmail, flat-out baiting. In the context of Touchette’s design, I realized that Ratched intentionally sacrifices her most vulnerable patient so she can goad McMurphy into an attack that will secure her victory over him. Power corrupts. Yes, it was there all the time. But without the rusty set, I might have missed that.

As Chief Bromden, Arthur D. Paul broke my heart. As mentioned above, the video and sound accompaniment helped reveal the deeper meaning of his poetic monologues. So too did his demeanor — frightened and confused, yet hopeful. In the Act II scene between Chief and McMurphy, when Chief reveals that indeed he can hear and talk, it was simply beautiful to see genuine affection develop between these two flawed men. It set us up to accept Chief’s final act of kindness, not to let his friend live as a vegetable. And, again thanks to Touchette’s overall concept, It is not lost on me that Chief escapes after shorting out the power of the machine, thereby reclaiming his own strength.

In direct contrast how Ratched beats people down to service her need for total control, McMurphy is all about building people up. It is touching that Dale Harding (Alan Harbaugh) eventually finds the courage to convince Chief to leave. McMurphy convinces the excruciatingly fearful Billy Bibbit (Stephen Ross Ashby) to embrace life, even though this leads to both of their downfalls.

The other patients — Scanlon, Cheswick, Martini (Josh Pelikan, Frank Newton, Andre Wilkins) — are clearly delineated with their own individual quirks, but also serve collectively as a kind of Greek chorus. This was notable in group therapy scenes when the three moved and reacted in sync, and most poignant when they try to convince themselves that the lobotomized McMurphy is just a mock-up, a dummy, and the real McMurphy escaped.

This all sounds like a very depressing evening. Indeed, that was what I expected. So I was pleasantly surprised at how funny the show is. The cast expertly plays up the comedy and was rewarded with raucous outbursts of laughter from the sold-out opening night audience. Coupled with the uplifting elements in otherwise dire circumstances, Chapel Street’s Cuckoo’s Nest offers a deeply satisfying exploration of the worst, and best, of humanity.

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(Submitted Review) Murder On Cue is a well-paced, comedic nod to community theater and mysteries and Clue! http://chapelstreetplayers.org/submitted-review-murder-cue-well-paced-comedic-nod-community-theater-mysteries-clue/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/submitted-review-murder-cue-well-paced-comedic-nod-community-theater-mysteries-clue/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 15:50:08 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2903

Murder on Cue is a well-paced, comedic nod to community theater and mysteries and Clue! and Newark and if you’ve spent some time at CSP, there are some special inside jokes for you, too. The characters are caricatures of the suspects in Clue!,

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Murder on Cue is a well-paced, comedic nod to community theater and mysteries and Clue! and Newark and if you’ve spent some time at CSP, there are some special inside jokes for you, too. The characters are caricatures of the suspects in Clue!, the beloved board game, but then the characters are the actors playing well-developed caricatures of themselves. Hilarity ensues as the daring duo of crime fighters assess the evidence, out the interpersonal relationships among the cast and finally reveal the killer… (they stumped me AND my friend who consistently picks reality show winners at the beginning of their seasons)

A trip to 27 N. Chapel Street, Newark, DE should be on your list, there’s still a matinee today at 2pm and shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest http://chapelstreetplayers.org/one-flew-cuckoos-nest/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/one-flew-cuckoos-nest/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:55:06 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2848 Sep 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 @8pm / Sep 23 @2pm / 2018

written by Dale Wasserman
from the novel by Ken Kesey
directed by Brian M. Touchette
ass’t directed by Susan Boudreaux
with the acting talents of Stephen Ross Ashby,

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Sep 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 @8pm / Sep 23 @2pm / 2018

written by Dale Wasserman
from the novel by Ken Kesey
directed by Brian M. Touchette
ass’t directed by Susan Boudreaux
with the acting talents of Stephen Ross Ashby, Matthew Brown, Amy Bucco, Chris Hankenson, Alan Harbaugh, Shelli Haynes, Scott F. Mason, Pete Matthews, Frank Newton, Michelle Opalesky, Arthur D. Paul ,Michael D. Peco, Josh Pelikan, André Wilkins, Krista Williams and Kristin Williamson

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s NestMcMurphy contrives to serve a short sentence in a state mental institution rather than serve time in prison on a work farm. The cost of this decision becomes apparent as he challenges the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. While this starts as a sport, it soon turns to a grim struggle; an all-out war between authority and free will. The play, based on the 1962 novel, shows how the lives of both patients and staff are changed forever as they are caught in the tug of war between these two strong-willed characters.

* Reviews

* Audience Response

“Last night was one of the best if not THE best show I have seen at CSP. Brian casted so perfectly. Great acting and directing. And….You were superb. 👍” – Marylin P.

“It was AMAZING!!! I want to see it again!!! Thank you for such a great production!” – Stephanie C​.

“This was an excellent show. This is the most talented group of people I’ve seen put together in one single show. Great job guys!” – Colleen B.

“Such incredible writing and the actors really did it justice! Every single one.” – Rebecca C​.

“Great performance! Was blown away by the first scene of Act I – what a presence!” – Donna B.

“Last night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was outstanding……Each actor had my full attention. Congratulations and thank you for your talent and commitment.” – Jean N.

“The performance of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was absolutely fabulous!!!” – Nancy C.

“Great show!!” – Kirsten B.

* Mark Your Calendar

Thu Fri Sat Sun
Sep 21 @ 8 PM Sep 22 @ 8 PM Sep 23 @ 2 PM
Sep 27 @ 8 PM Sep 28 @ 8 PM Sep 29 @ 8 PM
* This production contains mature language and situations.

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Dead Man’s Cell Phone http://chapelstreetplayers.org/dead-mans-cell-phone/ http://chapelstreetplayers.org/dead-mans-cell-phone/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:59:49 +0000 http://chapelstreetplayers.org/?p=2868 Nov 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 @8pm / Nov 11 @2pm / 2018

written by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Tanya Lazar
with the acting talents of ​Ray Barto​, ​Meg Barton​, ​Lindsay Brahl​, Marlene Hummel, Sean Kelly​, Cindy Starcher and ​Tricia Sullivan

Dead Man's Cell PhoneThese days our lives seem to be encompassed in the little machine that is attached to us at all times and is liable to go off at any time.

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Nov 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 @8pm / Nov 11 @2pm / 2018

written by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Tanya Lazar
with the acting talents of ​Ray Barto​, ​Meg Barton​, ​Lindsay Brahl​, Marlene Hummel, Sean Kelly​, Cindy Starcher and ​Tricia Sullivan

Dead Man's Cell PhoneThese days our lives seem to be encompassed in the little machine that is attached to us at all times and is liable to go off at any time. How often do we say “My life is in this thing” but don’t really stop to think how true that is. In this comedic look at the ever present technologic wonder of our cell phones that both connect us to and isolate us from the world, Sarah Ruhl shows us how little we know of the human beings who surround us.

* Mark Your Calendar

Thu Fri Sat Sun
Nov 9 @ 8 PM Nov 10 @ 8 PM Nov 11 @ 2 PM
Nov 15 @ 8 PM Nov 16 @ 8 PM Nov 17 @ 8 PM

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