Spotlight Issue: January 2002

Terra Nova
Comes to Life

County Players, Inc. presents the moving drama, Terra Nova, as their first production of 2002. The play, written by Ted Talley, will be presented February 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23 2002 at 8:00 PM at the County Players Falls Theater, 2681 West Main Street in Wappingers Falls. Tickets are $15 ($12 for seniors and children under 12).

There have been many stage pieces based on actual events. One of the most dramatic shows that had a long and successful run on Broadway is based on the history of man’s attempt to journey to the south pole and then return to civilization. Terra Nova is a thrilling reenactment of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated quest to be the first man to reach the bottom of the earth. Known as “Scott of the Antarctic”, the brave Englishman painstakingly assembled a team of explorers to accompany him on the mission of discovery. Robert Scott had dreamed of attaining his goal even after learning that another intrepid explorer, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, already had a head start and was also intent on reaching the pole. The obstacles were daunting: temperatures below zero, horrendous snow storms, and howling winds . Additionally, there was always the lurking danger of starvation as food supplies dwindled.

Scott did, in fact, reach the pole, only to find evidence there of Amundsen’s triumph. Terribly disheartened, Scott’s retreat to the safety of his base camp became a race against time. He and his men lose that race, as, one by one, the men fall to injury, frostbite and the unforgiving rigors of the harsh environment. One is forced to wonder just how comforting is his memory of home and his supportive wife, Kathleen. Her presence and that of Scott’s antagonist, Amundsen, are brought to life in vivid flashbacks. Audiences are gripped by the sadness of fate while at the same time elevated in pride over the accomplishment of men who strove to succeed.

The director, Zsuzsa Manna, is an actress with many critically acclaimed roles to her credit having appeared in many plays with CP as well as other theater companies in the area. This is her directorial debut with County Players. The cast consists of Don Creighton as Robert Scott, Ken Greenman as Roald Amundsen, Arianne DiMaso as Kathleen Scott, Jason Biszick as Titus Oates, Marshall Breite as “Birdie” Bowers, Kevin Barnes as Dr. Wilson, and Jeremy Robbins as Edgar Evans.

Further information and reservations may be obtained by calling the theater, 298-1491.

Upcoming Auditions

Auditions for the great musical 1776 will be held Sunday, January 20, and Monday, January 21, 2002 at 7:00 PM at the theater. As one might infer from the title, 1776 is a musical play centering on the historic events surrounding the birth of our nation. A large cast is needed and will include 22 men, 2 women, and 2 young men (teens). Prepare a song from this or any musical play. Expect movement and reading auditions as well. For more information, contact director Bill Peckham at 473-5807.

County Players History

Ten years ago: In February 1992, County Players presented Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward directed by Jewel Geissinger Ratzlaff. Jewel cast Rosalind Croshier as Lucinda for that show. Ten years later, Jewel is the production manager for Terra Nova and Rosalind is the dialect coach. We’re lucky that such talented people continue to contribute to the success of County Players.

Twenty years ago: In January 1982, County Players presented Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap directed by John Bibona. County Players produced The Mousetrap again in 1993. From time to time over our 44 years in existence, we have elected to produce a show which we have done in our past. Other such plays include South Pacific, Camelot, and Blithe Spirit

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Our last issue had several errors which the editors felt warranted correction and apology. The orchestra conductor for She Loves Me was erroneously listed as Roger D’Aquino. The orchestra conductor and rehearsal pianist should have been listed as Daniel Kalbfus. Also, in the County Players History section Jill Zaitchick was credited with directing The Foreigner. In fact, that production was directed by Peter Edman. We apologize to the individuals who were erroneously credited and to those who were omitted.

From the President

Another season is off and running with the successful completion of She Loves Me. Audience response was very positive. The theater critics who reviewed the show all gave the production high marks. A special thanks to Rian Keating for bringing the show to life. Additional thanks to the inventive choreography of Jennifer Turoff, the vocal coaching of Tom Lawrence, the music direction of Dan Kalbfus, and the beautiful costumes of Dilys Clark. There are so many people who contribute to the success of each show. I could fill this entire column with individual kudos to all the contributors to the success of She Loves Me.

I hope you’ll all take the time to come down to see Terra Nova. I think the power and emotion of this show will leave a lasting impression on audiences.

Don’t forget to add the auditions for 1776 to your calendar. We’d love to see you at the theater and on the stage. If you’re not ready to take the stage, you can always help out with the many other aspects of the production. It’s not a huge commitment and a great way to get involved and make new friends. Contact production manager Joe Cassidy at 454-1916.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at:

Jeff Wilson – President

Give the Gift of Theater

Are you looking for a great gift for someone special but don’t have a lot of cash on hand? A pair of tickets won’t break the bank and, when coupled with a pre-show dinner, would make a very romantic Valentine’s Day gift. Gift Certificates are available from the box office and can be made for any amount. Call 298-1491 for details.

The Audition

There is no more stringent effort confronting a director than the audition process. The overall aim of CP is quality theater. This goal colors every aspect of a production, from costuming to stage lighting. Production Managers try to find the most qualified people to fill the vital technical roles. It is in the stage performers, however, where the most crucial selection must govern. Directors do not just pick the best vocalist or dancer for a particular role, but rather pick the best fit for the overall cast. The philosophy of County Players has always been to conserve the tried and true while leaving the door wide open for the gifted newcomer. That is why in many of our recent productions you will see many a familiar face while always finding someone in the cast with an asterisk (*) next to their name denoting their CP debut. This can be disconcerting to the newcomer and veteran alike for while there are many auditioning, there are few cast. Paramount to understand is that denial is not rejection. It is simply a director’s choice of one building block over another. We invite all would be performers to audition again and again.