Category Archives: historical

Young King Arthur’s Ten Year Quest

DreamWrights strives to give as many participants as possible the opportunity to experience our interactive art. Young King Arthur is comprised of two casts of 40 each and two crews of 20 each plus staff, making an approximately 120 people involved. These 120 people set out on their quest to bring the story of a young King Arthur to stage, opening on April 8.

History_0009
On right, Artistic Director, Diane Crews in 2006

This quest has been paved by an earlier community of cast, crew, and staff. Young King Arthur was written by Diane Crews and performed at DreamWrights in 2006, the premiere show in its then new black box theatre space. “Ten years is a long time,” Diane Crews, DreamWrights Artistic Director muses. “Most of the [former]cast will have finished their schooling and now are busy raising their own children.”

History_0010
Jerry Young, front left, in 2006

There is only one actor who is actually reprising his role as Merlin. He is Diane’s son-in-law and the father of her grandchildren, Jerry Young. Diane has a soft spot for this character, “Merlin, was my kind of teacher. He is patient enough to let his students learn, and he knows that experience is indeed the best teacher. Plus he cares enough to let go when, ‘It is time.’”

In addition to Jerry, the staff has five returning members. Rebecca Eastman is designing costumes again. In 2006, Jan Ruman was a Props Mistress and Corinne Brown was a food coordinator and now they are now both on the costume crew. And, in 2006 Karen Watson was a Producer, but now is DreamWrights’ front –of-house decorator. Ann Davis was PSM in 2006 and now she is the Executive Director of DreamWrights!

As far as Diane and her quest in life? “That’s too simple,” she says. “I have been on mine for the majority of my life, and will remain so until I am no longer.” Diane declares that since the age of ten or so, she has felt the need to make a difference. “Of course, at that time I had no idea what it could be. I was going to join the Peace Corps right out of high school, but decided I needed to know more.” So, she chose college instead. That’s where she discovered theatre.

History_0008
Young King Arthur in 2006

Diane sums it up nicely. “It really is quite fascinating how our lives evolve. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that live theatre happened to me. I knew this was it! Ever since, my quest has been to share this most important, universal and ancient art form with as many people as one person is able.”

Bravo, Diane! So far so good!

A Young King Arthur Reunion for the 2006 cast and crew is planned for April 23 at 1pm. Participants are encouraged to stay for the 2:30pm matinee and relive the magic of young Arthur’s quest.

Drum Roll, Please…Our Vision for the Future!

Lydia (1325 x 1985)

Our roots as a youth and family theatre provide us with a strong foundation to grow even taller.  As we approach our 20th year anniversary, we refocus our efforts, ensuring that we remain sustainable and relevant in a fast and ever changing world. This focus includes appealing to a wider and more artistically diverse audience while expanding our vibrant center for community arts to serve as a safe and growing place for all ages, all backgrounds and all types of performing arts.

As with any big milestone, we recognize our upcoming 20th year as an opportunity to refresh our image, like we have done for past milestones. To that end, we are excited to reveal our fresh logo, complete with a new descriptor and tagline!

Drum roll, please…

DreamWrights-Mark-Color_Full-DescriptorTagline

We do not make this change lightly. Over the course of the last 18 months, we have solicited input from our DreamWrights family through surveys, meetings, focus groups representing all different niches of our community, and our transition task forces. All of this input was compiled and reviewed, and is being used as a solid foothold in re-focusing our initiatives going forward.

We believe that identifying DreamWrights as a center for community arts elevates the work we do. We are more than just youth and family. We are about community. You are welcome here with or without a family. You are welcome here if you are not a kid. We are more than just theatre arts.  As a center for community arts we can offer much more, including: spoken word, dance, fine art, open mic, and many other types of performance and creative arts.

Our Center for Community Arts allows us to Build Characters for Life, expressing ourselves in new and unique ways, all of which tie us back to our core:  valuing the process, discovering yourself, stretching your limits, growing and learning together, appreciating everyone’s contribution, and providing access to all regardless of financial, physical, or learning challenges.

Please join us on our journey forward. We welcome and encourage everyone’s involvement.

Sew in the Family

File Jan 12, 8 45 20 AM
Cali Fife with great grandmother, Romaine Coeyman

Romaine Coeyman and her great-granddaughter, Cali Fife, were been born more than 70 years apart, but surprisingly, they have a lot more in common than just DNA. They both share the love of sewing and creating. And what’s more, they have done much of their craft in the exact same place, but more than 50 years apart.

Romaine Coeyman began working in the William Bernstein Sewing Factory in 1960, soon after the birth of her son. “I liked the job because I got to set sleeves. I loved that!” Coeyman remembers.

She says she always enjoyed sewing and the friendships she made at work. “I always think of [my work] around Christmas time.” She remembers setting tables up and having a potluck lunch to celebrate the season. “It was really jolly at Christmas time.” Coeyman mostly worked on the second floor in the sewing area where she sewed night gowns. She has fond memories of her days at the sewing factory.

These days, the Bernstein Sewing Factory building is occupied by DreamWrights Youth and Family Theatre, where many kids, like fifteen year old Cali Fife, fell in love with designing for the performing arts. Fife used to dance but she quickly realized that she loved the costumes more than the spotlight. She found her comfort zone creating costumes at DreamWrights, working in the second floor sewing area, exactly where her great-grandmother worked decades previously.

Cali Fife Bag
Cute bag created by Fife

Fife enjoys creating with fabric and has made many friends through her craft, just like her great-grandmother. She enjoys the collaborative nature of sewing and designing, and in fact, even has her own online shop called Cali Ann, where she creates cool scarves, clever pouches, cute bags, and even the occasional custom costume.

Although the space is much different than what she remembers, Coeyman is amazed at the transformation of the building from a sewing factory to a theatre space. “I love it! I think it is amazing!” And when asked what she thinks about her great-granddaughter sewing and creating, just like she herself did more than a half century ago, Coeyman sums it up simply, “That’s nice. She really loves it too.”

A One-of-a-Kind Santa

Miracle_0009
1997 Miracle on 34th Street

Since Christmas of 1997, Santa has been a DreamWrights institution. In fact, Santa is a DreamWrights founding member and has participated in 22 consecutive Christmas shows with Artistic Director, Diane Crews, starting with her even prior to her DreamWrights days. Santa got his DreamWrights start in 1997 by playing the role of Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street. Although a lot of work, Santa found it very rewarding and fun and agreed to continue visiting DreamWrights every year for breakfasts, playlets, and even to play himself in the Christmas shows.

When asked about his favorite part of the job, Santa exclaimed that he loves working with the children, especially the ones who are afraid of him! A little shy himself, Santa enjoys trying to win over the kids who aren’t sure. To do this, he spends a lot of time on the floor. Santa explained, “Getting to their level seems to relax them.  I have quite often ended up with hugs from children that were at first afraid to get near me.”

Santa is often touched by hearing emotional requests from children for gifts that are hard to deliver. “Sometimes I get touching requests for people other than themselves including, moms, dads, siblings, or acquaintances, and the occasional request for someone they know to get better.  It can be tough to hear such requests.”

111203T Santa elf
Santa in 2011

But, most often kids ask for gifts for themselves, including some strange requests. A real pig, a real unicorn, and empty boxes are some of the more peculiar requests he’s gotten. Turns out, the empty boxes were for fort building. Santa joked, “When a child doesn’t know what they want I always suggest broccoli, since I have a lot of it at the North Pole.  The look on the child’s face is always priceless and the answer is always, ‘NO!’”

Drawbacks of the job? Growing Santa’s beard! Not too many people know this, but Santa’s beard falls off right after Christmas (probably from the cold air blowing on it while he’s flying in the sleigh).  Santa then spends the whole year growing it to get it into Christmas shape!

Visiting Santa reduced
2013 Miracle on 34th Street

Over the  years, Santa has created great memories, a sense of accomplishment, and fondness for his time at DreamWrights. “I want everyone to know that the years I spent at DreamWrights went so fast, were so much fun, and the people I met were the best, friendliest, and most dedicated that I have ever met!” And then Santa said one last, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” as he drove out of sight!

Of course, Santa will be visiting DreamWrights again next year. However, you may notice a change in him. Perhaps the change will be a result of Santa’s relaxing, sunny days in warmer climates. Never fear, he will still be spreading Christmas cheer. You can count on that!

Directors’ Advice: Favorite Show

DreamWrighters: It isn’t advice per se, but since we recently heard from our alumni about their favorite show, it makes sense to follow that up with hearing from some of our recent directors. Of all in which you have participated, what is your favorite DreamWrights show and why?

Diane: This is an impossible question … there have been so many! Plus I have written so many of them, and I truly like them all almost. The one I’m working on is always my favorite at that time, which is almost a necessity since they require so much work. I know I’m not answering the question.

The Christmas shows are always extra special for me. I love the holiday season because I think people are thinking of others a little more than themselves at this time. Plus all the shows remind us that that is what we’re supposed to be doing. I don’t usually like to direct a script more than once, because there are so many good plays and so little time comparatively. But I do make an exception for holiday productions. For example, this was the fourth time I directed, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Why? Well, it’s very real and funny and touching. I laugh and cry … I feel things and hope he audience will too. So any show that allows for the latter is my favorite.

Michelle Denise Norton in Anne of Green Gables
Michelle Denise Norton in
Anne of Green Gables

Michelle: I cannot pick a favorite as a director; I love them all for many reasons. But my non directing favorite is my most recent experience as an actor, playing Rachel Lynde in Anne of Green Gables. I auditioned because every once in a while I like to challenge myself and remember what it’s like to be an actor. I think it helps me improve as a director.
I had had a very difficult tech and dress rehearsal week fighting off bronchitis. But audiences really do perk you up, as did the concern of my fellow cast members.

One performance, while doing the scene where Anne and Rachel meet (which involves both characters losing their tempers), I could feel the audience leaning forward in their seats, listening to every word. I told Steve (the actor playing Matthew) at intermission that this audience was going to cry during his death scene. After we finished signing autographs, Steve took me aside to report that two ladies told him they had cried. Actually being able to share the play with the audience is a feeling different than what success as a director feels like, but is still amazing. The whole Anne of Green Gables experience revived my love of theatre a little, thanks to both off and onstage experiences.

Kirk: It might surprise some people that my favorite is The Rememberer. It was very well casted and I was so excited to explore my character every day.

2015 DreamWrights Grease Group
Rodd Robertson in
The Rememberer

Rodd: I’ve directed two shows at DreamWrights and been in two shows as an actor here. From a directing standpoint, both shows have a special place in my heart. To See the Stars was my first and it was so wonderful to see the way the teens dove into the history of the show and the way they became empowered to portray such courageous people as those involved in the Ladies Garment Worker’s Strike of 1911. It was thrilling to know that these teens took what they learned and parlayed it into their school work.

With Nancy Drew: Girl Detective, it was fantastic to see how close-knit the kids were. They rallied around each other and were such fun to direct. They were thrown so many curve balls during our rehearsals and rose to the occasion every time one came across the plate. They were truly exceptional.

As an actor, it was a learning experience to be back under someone’s direction and be on the acting side of a show again. TIm Storey was the director and made The Rememberer so much fun. The history and moral the play brought to life was so enlightening. This past summer, I was directed by Kirk Wisler in The Mouse That Roared and was in awe. It was thrilling to see Kirk stretch himself in his first outing as director; he did a fantastic job! And the cast is sooo funny! I was amazed by their comic timing. Kirk and Amanda cast a great group. This show was a joy to be in.

Paige Hoke in The Gentleman from Indiana
Paige Hoke in
The Gentleman from Indiana

Paige: That’s a hard question! I guess I would say my favorite show was The Gentleman from Indiana. We had a great cast and crew that really bonded and supported each other and it was just a touching, beautiful show.

About the Directors
Diane Crews: Artistic Director and Playwright-in-Residence at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre. Diane is currently directing The Secret Garden. Having directed well over one hundred shows at DreamWrights, The Secret Garden will be her next to last production as she plans to retire in the Fall of 2016.

Paige Hoke: Paige Hoke is 2010 graduate of Arcadia University’s BFA in Acting Program. She has experience directing, teaching, and acting in the York and Philadelphia areas. She most recently directed Seussical at DreamWrights.

Michelle Denise Norton: Founder and Director of DreamWrights’ Theatre Under The Trees program. Along with all of her theatrical endeavors, Michelle is also a writer, artist and cartoonist. In Summer 2016, Theatre Under The Trees will be bringing As You Like It to local parks.

Rodd Robertson: Director and actor, Rodd lists “Leo” from Leading Ladies and “Prof. Koknitz” from The Mouse That Roared as two of his favorite roles. He has directed a handful of productions including To See the Stars and Nancy Drew: Girl Detective at DreamWrights and elsewhere.

Kirk Wisler: Kirk made his directorial debut at DreamWrights this past summer directing The Mouse that Roared. He has taken part in over thirty plays from 2001 until the present day. He hopes to continue directing and acting at DreamWrights for many more years to come.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Reunion

20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion - 2003 cast crew (3)
Cast and Crew of the 2003 TBCPE

As DreamWrights Artistic Director, Diane Crews, prepared to wrap up the final performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,  nearly 75 former Pageant cast and crew members gathered to reminisce and celebrate. 2015 ended DreamWrights’ fourth run of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Diane’s last holiday production. Cast and crew members from the 1998, 2004, and 2009 shows gathered to share stories and honor Diane.

20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion - 1998 cast crew (4)
Cast and Crew of the 1998 TBCPE

Many great memories were shared and lots of nice words were exchanged. Bob Godfrey, who was unable to attend the reunion, made sure his sentiment was heard  by sending in a video tribute to Diane. Several others including Ann Davis, Brian Frey, Joan Bitzer, and Jo Olewiler spoke up, honoring Diane and the wonderful experience that The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was.

20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion - Herdmans (3)
Herdmans through the years

1998’s Gladys Herdman, Lexi Hubb, traveled from Chincoteague with her husband. She fondly remembers the fun she had playing Gladys seventeen years ago when she was only 12! Father and daughter Mark and Christiana Lipsitz, played father and daughter Bob and Beth Bradley in the 2003 version. Joan Bitzer and Steve Brown have been in every Pageant, Joan as one of the church ladies (different each time) and Steve as Rev. Hopkins, twice a PSM, and a crew member. Megan Cintron’s first DreamWrights appearance was as Jessica in the 2003 Pageant. She went on to become Beth Bradley in 2009.

Cast and Crew of the 2009 TBCPE show
Cast and Crew of the 2009 TBCPE

For many, Pageant was a family affair. Over the years, many of our DreamWrights families participated in the holiday show as a family (or nearly whole family): the Browns, Kominskys, Oles, Gordons, Dunlaps, Bitzers, Beckers, Hartnetts, Mir-Youngs, and Sheltons, to mention a few.  It was great to see these families and everyone who came to the reunion to reminisce with Diane moments before she headed back stage for her very last holiday production at DreamWrights. What a perfect way to celebrate Diane’s final holiday show!

20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion pix - Mrs Armstrong (2)
Broken-legged Mrs. Armstrongs
20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion - crew (3)
TBCPE Crew and Staff through the years
20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion pix -Bradleys (4)
Bradleys
20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion - Firemen (5)
Firemen
20151220 DW TBCPE Reunion pix - Church ladies (2)
Church ladies

DreamWrights Alumni: Favorite Show

As we tie up the year of 2015 and embark on 2016, the year in which our founder and Artistic Director, Diane Crews, will retire from DreamWrights, it seems appropriate to check in again with our beloved alumni. This time, we wanted to share some favorite show memories from some of our favorite people.

1998 Best Christmas Pageant Ever (32)

Lexi Hubb’s favorite was playing Gladys Herdman in the 1998 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “I remember hamming up how unruly Gladys was.  I was flying around the stage preparing for my role as the Angel of the Lord and Mel Eyster runs up behind me and catches me as I was flailing around the stage.  Tons of fun for a 12 year-old, well-behaved kid to have.”

Christiana Lipsitz lists Pageant as her favorite as well because it was her first lead role (Beth Bradley) and because of the sentiment of the story. “And, it was the first show I’d ever done with my dad… He played my dad!”

Melissa Baker (1)

Melissa L. E. Baker loved the 2001 Miracle on 34th Street. She remembers, “It was the first time I ever got to play a lead character. It was just so much fun and so rewarding. And, I got to have a daughter.  She was so cute.”

1997 Miracle on 34th St (1)

Dory Lerew  and Gary Hubb’s favorite was Miracle on 34th Street, but the 1997 experience. Dory says, “I think it was one of the first big DreamWrights productions and it was in a cool building with a huge cast and the audience moved around the building for each scene.” Gary

Dory Lerew Miracle 1997

remembers it similarly and fondly, “The run was held in an old city school and the audience moved from room to room to watch each scene performance. It was a play that involved a breakfast show, Santa Claus, and a collaboration of new faces mixed with the veterans of DreamWrights.  Two very important people who took part in this play are now sadly no longer with us: Ann Noll and Chris Davis, two of many amazing people that worked on the play.”

Nick Ryan’s favorite was Tom Sawyer Sings. “It was a great experience as a young kid to work with so many people and be involved in a fun production process.”

Rosa Terlazzo Our Town (3)

Rosa Terlazzo has a soft place in her heart for Our Town. “It’s such a beautiful play, and I think that it required the whole cast to really push ourselves. It certainly made me push myself more than any other show I was ever in – that play brought tears to my eyes at every single performance.”

Arlo Ehly has two favorites. As a performer, he enjoyed You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and as a music director, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. “Charlie Brown was my favorite as it was such a sweet and charming show, and I landed my first big role (Charlie Brown) in a musical. It was also a show during which I made many new friends, whom I still keep in touch with today! Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was my favorite as a staff member as I felt it showcased the growth of the teen musical program. It was the first time we had a full orchestra for the show, and I piloted the newly installed A/V system now used for larger musicals. I also got to work with a bunch of talented teens and production staff members. The show itself was a big step for DreamWrights in terms of production values and some edgier content, all of which have continued to be staples of the teen musical.”

Rupert Meets Mrs Tales (2)

Calida Davis, Joe Nabholz, Brianne Good, and Dory Lerew (yep, she has two favorites) claim Rupert Meets Mrs. Tales as their favorite DreamWrights show.  Calida says, “I have a soft spot for Rupert… I performed almost all the roles at one time or another, and was one of the first Ruperts. I still have the bright red converse shoes that I wore for the part, whenever I wear them I think of performing Rupert!” Joe says,” I was also in the Rupert touring show from the beginning for probably ten or so years.  I was a founding member, and even though I was quite young I’m very happy that I was involved with DreamWrights from the very beginning.  There was an intense camaraderie with the founding families that was tangible.”

Rupert Meets Mrs Tales (3)

Brianne says, “Rupert was my favorite because I really enjoyed changing up what part I played. Also, because it was a touring show, the people I saw each time were different. I also think that it challenged me to be a better actor.” Calida agrees, “I LOVED the interactions with the kids in the audience and the versatility of all of the cast members playing whatever role fit for that particular show.”

Brianne, Dory, and Calida all enjoyed the challenge of the touring aspect which included never knowing in advance on what kind of stage (or floor) they would be performing. Brianne remembers, “We had to adapt to all kinds of different audiences, from preschool all the way to elder care and venues including outdoors, giant auditoriums, and stages so small they only fit a small portion of the set.”  Dory remembers it similarly, “We performed in all sorts of places, elementary schools, libraries, parking lots.”

Joe Nabholz You Can't Take it With You (2)

Besides Rupert, Joe Nabholz’s favorite experiences included You Can’t Take it With You and A Christmas Carol.  “Several times I was in the rare situation in which I had to fill in for an actor who was suddenly ill or had an accident and where their ‘other’ also couldn’t cover.  Those were thrilling experiences that I remember to this day–learning their part as best I could, literally hours before curtain time.”

Kate Harrison couldn’t choose just one favorite. There are several shows that are dear to her: Robin Hood (performed on Sumner Street), Miracle on 34th Street (performed at The Bradley Academy), and Arkansas Bear (traveled to a conference in South Carolina). She perfectly sums the sentiment of most, if not all of our alumni, “I couldn’t possibly decide! I loved any reason to be with our theater family!”

Thanks to the alumni who responded. If we haven’t connected with you yet, we would love to hear from you! Contact hilary@dreamwrights.org to share your wisdom and your whereabouts! Best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

The Herdman in All of Us

From left, (back row) Conner Ney, Olivia Rill, Sam Brown, (front row) Steven Ruffatto, Sophia Kearney and Alex Shelley in DreamWrights Family Theatre production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"

In her 1971 story, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson introduced me to the Herdman clan. With eyes squinted, arm extended and fingers pinched to the thickness of a hair, my mother warned me that I was “this close” to becoming Ralph Herdman, and I am absolutely certain that my sister was Imogene incarnate.

1998 Best Christmas Pageant Ever (30)

I never thought about the redemptive qualities of our protagonists. They were rough and tumble, and, deep down (well, not too deep), I envied their mischievousness.

Beginning next week, the Herdmans are performing on large and small stages across the nation, from The Drama Workshop in Cincinnati to the Raleigh Little Theater in North Carolina and the Seattle Public Theatre. Even here in York, PA, this is the fourth time in our theatre’s history that we bring this classic to life on our stage.

Cast-F-024

This show, and the 12 actors and members of crew returning from the 1998, 2003, or 2009 productions, are part of the fabric of our theatre’s tapestry. While other theaters may be larger, or more ornate, DreamWrights has what no other theater has; Diane Crews. In her 18 years with DreamWrights, I’m certain our Director has known her share of Herdmans, and we celebrate Diane Crews, her warm touch and steadfast character, that have transformed mischief into splendor before our audiences’ eyes. Welcome to DreamWrights; prepare to be inspired.

J.T. Hand
President, Board of Directors
DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre

Editor’s Note: DreamWrights’ The Best Christmas Pageant Ever opens December 4 at 6:30pm and runs for 12 shows: December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19 – 6:30 pm and December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20 – 2:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

DreamWrights Alumni: What are Those Kids Up to Now?

Ann Noll used to say that she wished she could look into the future and “see what’s in store for our DreamWrights kids.” In an August 2000 edition of the Dream Dispatch “What are Those Kids Up to Now?” column, she writes, “It’s exciting to wonder what kind of amazing things they might accomplish or where they will end up, or what choices they will make with their lives!” The column has gone by the wayside, but not the accomplishments of the DreamWrights alumni. With Diane Crews’ impending retirement and our approaching 20th season, we thought it would be fitting to check in with some of those “kids” to see what they are up to, share some fond memories, as well as impart some of the life lessons and advice they have learned along the way since those early days at DreamWrights. If you haven’t yet responded or if we haven’t tracked you down yet, we would *love* to hear from you! Part 1: What are Those Kids Up to Now?

Dory Lerew
Dory Lerew in 2001
Calida Davis
Calida Davis c2001

It is remarkable how many DreamWrights alumni have gone on to pursue careers in the arts. To name a few, Dory Lerew, Calida Davis, Lexi Hubb, and Kate Harrison have all stayed close to the theatre. Kate is the Vice President of Twin Beach Players, a nonprofit community theater group based in North Beach, Maryland. After college, Lexi moved to NYC to intern, direct, and work for many theatre companies before moving to Chincoteague, MD and founding her own theatre company, the Chincoteague Island Theatre Company. She describes the experience of building a theatre company from the ground up as tough but rewarding. Dory and Calida find themselves in Missoula, Montana (as Calida says, much to her mother’s chagrin). Dory is the Tour Marketing Associate for the Missoula Children’s Theatre and Calida has retired from touring at the same theatre and has now moved on to being the Assistant Director and teacher at Clark Fork School, a nature-focused school in Missoula.

Rosa Terlazzo Our Town (2)
Rosa Terlazzo in 2005
Joe Nabholz
Joe Nabholz c1999
Brianne Good in 2002
Brianne Good in 2002

Speaking of teaching, several other alumni have also gone on to teach. Rosa Terlazzo is a Philosophy professor, Brianne Good is a preschool teacher, and Joseph Nabholz taught ESL in Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese at the Susquehanna Waldorf School, and is currently in school to become an occupational therapist.

Arlo Ehly Little Shop of Horrors
Arlo Ehly in 2011

Perhaps DreamWrights was where Melissa L. E. Baker and Arlo Ehly found their love of performing. Melissa tours professionally in a group she owns called Chaste Treasure that performs in Renaissance faires across the country. She also works for a music company that puts on the majority of the shows at Hershey Park. Earlier this year, Arlo accepted his first professional theatre contract as an assistant music director and pianist for The Days of ’98 Show with Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska. He will return to Gettysburg College as an accompanist when the Alaska gig ends.

Gary Hubb
Gary Hubb in 2001

Gary Hubb manages a production company in Los Angeles for 44 Blue Productions, a TV producing company that produces several Emmy nominated television shows such as Wahlburgers, Donnie Loves Jenny, and Nightwatch on A&E. Nick Ryan is the CEO of Xpogo, LLC, an action sports company. Wow! Your DreamWrights family is very proud of your accomplishments. Thanks to the alumni who responded. If we haven’t connected with you yet, it isn’t too late! We would love to hear from you! Contact hilary@dreamwrights.org to share your wisdom and your whereabouts! And remember, may you all find success far and wide, but never forget your way home!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Favorite DreamWrights Show

The Magic of DreamWrights: A Testimonial

Sydney_0002

About twelve years ago, my father took me to see a production of Cinderella at DreamWrights. I was a small, awkward child, I’ll admit, but after seeing the live performance with its hilarity, its sincerity, its magic, I was enraptured. I auditioned for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and managed to land a role. Success! I was excited beyond belief. I, the reticent child, would be a part of a stage performance!

Over the years, I and my acting ability grew. Though I never landed a “lead role,” Diane’s wise words always clung to my skin: “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Everyone was important. Everyone played a role. Without each actor, the show would not be the same. It couldn’t be executed without everyone’s effort. Every performance was a collaborative effort, and the cast was more than a team of actors: it was a group of friends, a close-knit family.

Sydney_0002

Under Diane’s warm and wise counsel, I never had a negative experience while within the walls of the old building. Though there were ghost stories about the building, and the rickety elevator was viewed as a death trap (which was problematic at times, as a group of young children, myself included, once got stuck on it), DreamWrights never disappointed me. I could live there, nestled in with the ball gowns and suits, the enormous puppets and the animal outfits.

Sydney Fuhrman

I have, unfortunately, not been able to participate in anything DreamWrights-related for the past year and a half due to my college endeavors, but I still hold DreamWrights in a very special place in my heart. I cherish my memories and my happiness that blossomed there, on-stage and behind the black curtains. I have played minor roles, like little Nancy in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and I have played larger roles, like the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland. I have worked with props and I have worked as a stage manager. I have laughed backstage through tight lips and clasped fingers as the show carries on, and I have cried with people of all ages at the strike parties. I have nothing but fond thoughts of DreamWrights, and I deeply regret not participating in the theater as much as I could have in the past.

DSC_7351

DreamWrights, holder of my heart, nurturer of my strength, friend of my soul, you are a beacon. You foster hope, love, resilience, endurance, well-roundedness, but above all, you foster fun.

DSC_7175 (3012 x 4512)

Though I have not been involved in DreamWrights since Alice in Wonderland, I would like to thank everyone who has ever participated, who currently is participating, and who will ever participate in a DreamWrights production, be it on-stage, behind the scenes, out front, upstairs, or in the kitchen. Diane called DreamWrights a “big fun machine,” and as usual, I could never say it any better than that.

Keep thriving, DreamWrights. I hope to see you in action till the end of days.

Sydney Fuhrman