Thursday, August 30, 2012


  Check out this production written by today's teens featuring music of the1930s -- Cheryl

Genesius Teens write BEAT! A 1930’s Musical Review playing 8/31-9/1
 in Reading

Every day at Genesius Theatre holds encounters with the many ghosts that are said to occupy the theater.  Some say the spirit of the theater’s founder Jane Simmon Miller walks the balcony watching rehearsals and sending signals communicating her thoughts via cigarette smoke.  Others believe the ghosts of several men killed during a bar fight and stored in the freezer in the speakeasy which was once housed in the basement of Genesius Theatre during the 1920’s and early 1930’s are to blame for the many missing props, footsteps on the basement stairs, flashing lights, and strange apparitions. 

So one evening during a rehearsal of the Genesius Theatre Simmon Miller Acting Company, a group that is sponsored in part by the Berks Arts Council and PA Partners InThe Arts, the teens noticed the freezer in the basement and asked their director, Christine Cieplinski, what it was.  Cieplinski told the teens the story of the speakeasy and the freezer. 

The kids were energized by the story and decided to develop a script for a musical review that might help audiences catch a small glimmer of that time when Prohibition and the Great Depression reigned supreme and people used places like the basement of Genesius Theatre to drink what they weren’t supposed to and play in an atmosphere where they could forget the rigors of daily life in such an oppressed time.

Hence, BEAT! A 1930’s Musical Review was concocted.  The teens picked out their favorite 1930’s songs and wrote a script that incorporated all of them into a storyline that features siblings Billy and Ella as they try to make money to enter a talent contest held by promoter Bombastic Betty.  They earn money as street performers, but that money is stolen by a no good thievin’ rotten type named Frank.  With the help of a friendly speakeasy operator, they play a couple of sets in his bar and he pays them just enough to enter the contest.  They meet interesting folks along the way to what they believe will be their fame and survival including the trio of singing girls called Andrew’s Little Sisters, a very young wannbe starlet named Marilyn Baker, and a sweet little girl named Shirley Church who sings songs about her soup.  Can they do it?  Can they beat all the competition while the audience enjoys fan favorites such as Singin’ In The Rain, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and seventeen more songs?  Come see BEAT! A 1930’s Musical Review playing Friday August 31 and Saturday September 1 at 8:00pm at Genesius Theatre, 10th and Walnut Streets, Reading.  Visit or call 484-332-0098 for tickets and information.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Upcoming auditions

Alpha/Omega Players

The Alpha/Omega Players will hold public auditions for their Kidz production of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.,” Saturday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. in their performing arts center located at 301 E. First St., Birdsboro. Auditions are open to anyone ages 8 thru 15, there is no audition fee and no prepared audition is needed. For more information you can contact the players at 610-404-4849 or or on the web at

Reading Community Players

Reading Community Players will hold auditions for “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” Aug. 27-29. The first two days will be single, 20-minute auditions consisting of a prepared monologue (pieces with comedy/ dark humor will be ideal), a monologue from the show (if necessary), and two songs from the show. The 29th will be callbacks. Please be aware that this show contains strongly offensive language, sexual scenarios, bigotry, violence, and rock music. The show will run Nov.16-26

Fleetwood Community Theater
Fleetwood Community Theater will hold auditions for "Spaghetti & Song - Love is in the Air,"  Sunday August 26 at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s UCC in Fleetwood. The annual event is an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner where the waiters and waitresses are the performers. It is directed by Jeannette DeAngelo. Songs this year are to be about "LOVE" or have "Love" in the title.
Performances are September 28 & 29, 2012 from 5PM-8PM at St. Paul's UCC in Fleetwood. Call Jeannette at 484-695-2017 with questions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Genesius delivers a powerful, memorable ‘Titanic: The Musical'

From left, Michael Corcoran, Madeline Corcoran, Kira Apple and Katie Ott.
By Cheryl Thornburg

Genesius Theatre has delivered yet another spectacular concert performance with ‘Titanic: The Musical” this past weekend at Alvernia University. The production featured a huge cast with numerous songs that gave many of the cast members an opportunity to shine on their own.

Thankfully, the story line is not the same as the dreadfully long movie (I kept praying for the ship to sink so the movie would be over).  The musical’s script is much more interesting with more three–dimensional characters — even in concert mode. Perhaps it is because they are based on real people.

The focus is on not only the first, second and third class passengers, but also on the crew and ship’s owner and the decisions that lead to the fatal disaster 100 years ago.  The music reflects the pride and enthusiasm as the ship sets sail, the gaiety of the first part of the voyage and ultimately the chaos, anger and despair as everyone realizes that many of them are doomed.

The cast includes some of the best voices in the Berks County area and together they deliver powerful and memorable numbers from the uplifting “Godspeed Titanic” in the first act to “We’ll Meet Tomorrow” and “In Every Age” in the second.
There are also many standout individual performances, perhaps too many to mention here, but here are some of my favorites.   

As Frederick Barrett, the ship’s stoker,  Jason Denlinger delivers some memorable songs from “How Did They Build Titanic” to “Barrett’s Song” and the tender ballad “The Proposal” which is so well suited to his clear tenor.

Kirk Cremer demonstrates his acting skills as Capt. E.J. Smith, the over-confident captain who plans to retire after this voyage.  He also shows off his vocal talents in one of my favorite numbers, “The Blame,” with Greg Harwell as J. Bruce Ismay, the ship’s owner and Peter Bourey as Thomas Andrews who designed the RMS Titanic.
Harwell is perfectly obnoxious as Ismay, who keeps pushing the captain to go faster so he can brag about a 6-day crossing. He’s the one you love to hate in this show.
Bourey’s clear tenor sets the tone for the show with the opening “In Every Age,”  and helps wrap it it up with “Mr. Andrews’ Vision,” in the final act.

Jonathan Browning’s voice will be familiar to regular area theater-goers. Here he plays Murdoch, the ship’s second-in-command, and delivers the powerful
“To be A Captain.”

Now that I’ve covered many of the crew and Titanic power players, let’s get to the passengers

Kira Apple is unforgettable as the irrepressible, star-struck Alice Beane, who wants nothing more than to hobnob with the wealthy first-class passengers. Whether singing  “The First Class Roster,” with Bob Aregood as Herbert Pittman, the ship’s 3rd officer, or bantering with her caring, but pragmatic husband, Edgar, Apple is just plain fun to watch.
Dallas Mugno plays Edgar Beane with just the right subtlety to offset his wife’s exuberance and impulsiveness. Though they play second-class passengers, there’s nothing second class about their ballad “I Have Danced.”

Matching Apple in charisma on stage is Katie Ott as the outgoing and enthusiastic Kate McGowan, a third-class passenger who plans to make it big when she gets to America.  She shines in “Ladies Maid” with Heather Troxell and Erin K. Aregood as the other Kates (lots of the 3rd-class female characters are named Kate).
The Kates along with Bo Irwin as Jim Farrell also stand out in “The Staircase” as they frantically try to reach the upper decks.

Other memorable performances come from Christopher Sperat as Harold Bride, the ship’s radioman, in “The Night Was Alive;” Benjamin Long as Fredeick Fleet, the lookout, in the haunting “No Moon” and Brandon Kegerize as Wallace Hartley, the orchestra leader, in the upbeat “Doing the Latest Rag.”
Daniel Hafer uses his exquisite tenor throughout the show as Henry Etches, the first class steward. He is featured in “What a Remarkable Age This Is” in the first act and  the frantic ‘Wake Up, Wake Up,” in the second.

Michael and Madeline Corcoran deliver a touching duet, “Still” as Isidor and Ida Straus, the wealthy owners of Macy’s, who perish together when the ship goes down.

Other members of this talented cast include Amy Bourey, Ryan Katzenmoyer, Caleb Seip, Ken Cowan, James Barksdale, Kyle Feltenberger, Julia Elberfield, Colin Presby Christina Ferlazzo, Patrick Grinnage, Kaiya Lyons, Robert J. Harwell, Pat Malarkey, Elizabeth Frederick, Marjory Ewald, Pat Rehr, Alexander Bannon, Erin Brubaker, Wendy Caldwell, Regina Weaver and Kate Cremer.

The concert is directed by Christopher Sperat and music directed by Peter Bourey.
David A. McConnell directed the 18-piece orchestra.
An added bonus for this show were the hors d’oeuvres, plus the cakes provided by Sweet Street Desserts, a yearlong sponsor of Genesius.

Unfortunately, the concert performances run only one weekend, so there’s no chance to see this amazing production this time around, but there’s more great theater in store.
Next up for Genesius is Agatha Christie’s “Witness for the Prosecution” Sept. 28 through Oct. 7 at the theater at 10th and Walnuts streets in Reading. For information contact the theater at 610-371-8151 or visit the website at

Monday, August 20, 2012

RCP's 'Gaslight' is chilling and charming

Julia Minotto, left, Kirk lawrence, and Peggy Orner in "Gaslight."                  Photos by Pat Perfect
Corey Donchez and Julia Minotto,

By Cheryl Thornburg
There’s plenty of thrills and mystery afoot in Reading Community Players current production,  “Gaslight.”
Set in Victorian London, “Gaslight” is the  intriguing story of a young woman, Bella Manningham, who believes she maybe going mad, as her mother did before her. Her stern and elusive husband isn’t helping matters – or is he?
Julia Minotto plays the pale and distraught Bella to perfection, evoking sympathy from the audience and Inspector Rough, a detective, who turns up at just the right time to sort out what’s happening in the house on Angel Street (the original title of the play before the classic movie came out in 1944).
Jack Manningham is one of my favorite sinister characters. Corey Donchez plays this husband from Hell with chilling suavity as he toys with his wife’s emotions, then leaves the house every night for hours and soon after he does, the gaslights dim and Bella hears noises in the attic, which has been locked and off limits to everyone in the household.  Thus the title of the movie, which gave birth to the term “gaslighting.”
Kirk Lawrence plays the inspector with an exuberance and a charm, that might make you think he’s a con man when he turns up so unexpectedly. As he gains Bella’s trust, the two work together to solve the mysterious goings-on in the household.
Julia Parsons plays Nancy, the saucy and at times, insolent, maid whose flirtations end up being integral to the plot. Parsons has fun with this playful role made famous by Angela Lansbury in the movie.
The other servant, Elizabeth, is exactly the opposite, loyal, caring and concerned about her mistress. Peggy Orner plays Elizabeth with a sincerity and believability that makes me wonder if she were a similar person in a former life.
Rounding out the cast are Jaimie Howard and Randy Miler as two stalwart policemen who make the most of their five minutes on stage in the final scene.
Director Bruce McLean chose his cast well and has created a suspense-filled evening (or afternoon) at the theater that is well worth the price of the ticket.
Tickets are a bargain at $15; $10 for seniors, and $8 for students. They are available by calling 610-375-9106 or online at
 “Gaslight” runs through Sunday Aug. 26. Remaining performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the RCP theater at 403 North 11th St. in Reading. There is a free shuttle to and from the theater from a parking lot on 12th Street between Buttonwood and Elm streets.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Alpha Omega's 'Spring Awakening' is edgy and powerful

Joe Gery and Sarah Wisser in "Spring Awakening"
By Cheryl Thornburg
I have heard really good things about the Alpha Omega Players, and Sunday I finally had the opportunity to see one of their shows.  They did not disappoint. Their final performance of the Tony-award-winning, somewhat controversial, “Spring Awakening” was edgy, polished and professional.
Based on an 1891 play by Frank Wedekind that was banned in Germany, “Spring Awakening,” is an intense and at times, disturbing, coming-of-age story that touches on many hot-button issues of today including suicide, rape, incest, homosexuality, physical abuse and abortion. It sounds like it would be a totally depressing experience, but it is not, due to the powerful, driving music of Duncan Sheik and the words of Steven Sater. 
It takes amazing actors to pull this off and this cast delivers scene after scene.
At the heart of the show is a love story between Wendla and Melchior, played by Sarah Wisser and Joe Gery. They have believable chemistry on stage and have voices perfectly suited to each role. Wisser’s “Mama Who Bore Me,” is passionate and powerful and sets the tone for the hormone-infused numbers to follow. Together, they create some of the most memorable tender moments in the show with  “The Word of Your Body” and “Whispering.”
In contrast to the intimate scenes of the lovers are some almost explosive group numbers with the teens. Most notable of these is “The Bitch of Living” headed up by Justin Monick as Moritz, Melchior’s best friend. Monick puts so much energy into the music and character that is mesmerizing.  He also has a softer side, as shown in the final act, when he joins Wisser and Gery for the exquisite “Those You’ve Known.”
Perhaps the thing I liked best about this show is that although the lead characters have many great numbers, there are also many great songs where other cast members get to showcase their talent.
Mandalee Flannery plays Martha, who comes from an abusive home and Allison Horn plays Ilsa, a victim of incest. They each get to tell their story in the haunting  “The Dark I Know Well.”
Many of the numbers have break-out solos, so each cast member gets to shine. The cast includes Corey Clark as Hanschen, Jacob Cowan as Otto, Morgan Konopelski as Thea, Andrew Hess as Ernst, Amy Swartz as Anna, Sean Lynch as Georg and Amanda Gray and Ryan Sullivam in the ensemble,
 Kirsten Heim and William Eschbach play the Adult Woman the Adult Man, which presents real challenges since they play multiple roles, often with no costume change. They both handle this well, using body language, gestures and voice changes to create the different characters.
The show was directed by Mark A. Drey with Nathan Patton as musical director.
Hats off to choreographer Jacob Cowan who put together some really big, high-energy dance routines in a very small space. Patton also manages to conduct a group of musicians on that same small stage, backing up the singers without overpowering them.
Although this run has ended, Alpha/Omega Players has much in store for the coming season, including ‘The Rocky Horror Show” in October and “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” in November.
Alpha/Omega Performing Arts Center, is located at  301 E. First Street, in Birdsboro.
For more information go to

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RCT's 'Cinderella' is delightful family entertainment

 By Cheryl Thornburg

Megan Heinrich, Christine Maziarz and Tony Perez in "Cinderella"
  There is nothing quite like seeing “Cinderella” through the eyes of a child and last weekend I did just that. I took my granddaughters, age 7 and 9, to see Reading Civic Theatre’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.
  The production, as always, has lots of talented performers, but there’s something transformative when a little girl gets to see and meet Cinderella. The magic becomes real.
  RCT’s Cinderella, Megan Heinrich, is perfection in this role. Every note, every gesture, every smile embodies the classic heroine. Her clear, sweet soprano makes “In My Own Little Corner” memorable and blends so well in duets with her godmother (“Impossible”) and the prince (“Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” and “Ten Minutes Ago”).
  Tony Perez plays the prince with an ease and assurance befitting royalty and his smooth, silky tenor is “charming.”
  Cinderella’s magical Godmother is played by Christine Maziarz with a twinkle in her eye and a playful lilt in her voice that makes this character so much fun to watch.
  Laura Stewart on the other hands gets to show her mean side as the stepmother who dotes on her own daughters and makes Cinderella's life miserable. Stewart seems to relish this role, delivering line after line with delightful wickedness. She showcases her vocal talent in numbers like “A Lovely Night.”
  Sandra Bennett and Daphne McMaster get to play some of the most fun parts in the show as the not-so-nice stepsisters, Portia and Joy. They both have a flair for comedy and are particularly entertaining in “Stepsisters’ Lament.”
  Other featured performers include Geoff Littlefield as The King, Ellen Bryan  as The Queen, and  Colin Long as the Herald. The large cast also includes Karen Levesque, Randy Miller, Gregory Boyer, Jewell A. Brown, Pete Clauser, Ken Cowan, Dean M. Fichthorn, Emily Jordan, Kathy A. Miller, Katelyn Murphy, Karleigh Patton, Shirley Pisano, Logan Stewert-Mugno, Mikayla Stratton and Danelle Wagner.
  The show is directed by Debra Silas with Amanda Delbo as musical director and Jeannette DeAngelo  as assistant director.
  "Cinderella" runs through Sunday Aug. 12. All performances are in Francis Hall Theatre located at Alvernia University. Please note that seating is reserved. Tickets for all shows are available online. Visit to purchase your tickets now or call 610-373-3311 to ensure the best seats. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices are $28 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. When available, tickets will be sold at the door.
   For more information, go to

Monday, August 6, 2012

Young cast captures the spirit and passion of 'Les Miz'

Pictured above are the students, Enjolras (played by Alex Barnett), Jean Valjean (played by Tyler Ravert), and as Marius (Joshua Sell) and Eponine (Sydne Lyons) in the front. Photo by Zach Frantz
By Cheryl Thornburg
From the very first note, Genesius Theatre's production of "Les Miserables" captured my attention and my heart. The unseen orchestra set the tone for what turned out to be an amazing afternoon at the theater. The cast, all middle and high school students, delivered the story and songs with a maturity and passion way beyond their years.
Based on Victor Hugo's novel and set in 19th century Paris as seeds of revolution are beginning to grow, "Les Miz" is a tale of survival, redemption, young love and the struggle for freedom.

The words and music of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg are challenging for any actor and these young performers more than met that challenge.
At the center of the story are two men, Jean Valjean played by Tyler Ravert and Inspector Javert played by Riley Pearson. Valjean was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, is paroled 19 years later, then disappears sparking a lifelong, relentless quest by Javert to recapture him.

Ravert's character ages many years over the course of the show. His soft, sensitive tenor is well suited to Valjean's songs, and he particularly shines in the second act when he sings "Bring Him Home," with its final high notes out of the range of most men.
Pearson delivers an imposing and tenacious Javert and the confrontational chemistry between him and Ravert works well. His solo "Stars" gives him a chance to show a more human side.

This show features incredible music and some of the best songs go to the ladies.
Sophie Gialloreto owns "I Dreamed a Dream," Fantine's exquisite ballad. She also embodies the tragic and frail Fantine who works in factories,and then worse, to support her young daughter, Cosette.
Sydne Lyons is perfect as Eponine, the feisty, streetwise daughter of the devious and greedy innkeepers, the Thenardiers.  Lyons'solo "On My Own" is delivered with passion and intensity fit for professional theater.
Kaley Harman plays Cosette with a softness and innocence in contrast to Eponine's outgoing and outspoken nature.  Both young women are in love with Marius, a college student involved in the revolutionary movement, played by Joshus Sell. Put all three of them together and you get a memorable love-triangle ballad, "A Heart Full of  Love."

Offsetting the seriousness of much of  "Les Miz" are the aforementioned loveable scoundrels, the Thenardiers, played by Alex Potcovaru and Emily Levan with the outrageous flamboyance befitting two of the best-loved characters from the show.

There are many notable performances, including some from very young actors. Genevieve Ganon,5, played young Cosette Sunday, giving a sweet, heart-wrenching performance  of  “Castle on a Cloud." Her sister, Margoux, played young Eponine. The two alternate the roles.
Also stealing the audience's hearts was another sister, Emerson Gagnon as Gavroche, the spunky young boy who gets involved with the revolution. Her rendition of "Little People," is a scene-stealer and actually could be a theme song for this production. To paraphrase -- it's amazing "what little people can do."

Alex Barnett as Enjolras takes the lead on some of the most powerful and stirring songs, including "Do You Hear the People Sing" and "One Day More." He is backed by a powerful and cohesive ensemble, creating the music that will run through your head long after you leave the theater.
Though not playing a major role, James Damore gives a standout performance as the bishop who helps turn Valjean's life around. His smooth, soothing tenor is unforgettable as he forgives Valjean.
The show has a huge cast, ranging in age from 5 to 18. Remaining cast members include Ben Wilder, Grayson Ziegler, Levi Sledo, Jeremy Bell, Evan Malarkey, Nick Schmoyer, Spencer Barbara, Eion Lyons, RJ Voit, Riley Feltenberger, Kyle Schumaker, Trey Petraca, Daniel  Tetrealt, Julia Bachman, Olivia Damore, Catherine Ewing, Kelly Fries, Alex Goshert, Krista Grevas, Erika Guthier, Grace Harmon, Emma Heffner, Hunter Jones, Morgan Keener, Maura Malarkey, Rachel Ohnsman, Priscilla Olivares, Emily Peffer, Kaitlyn Reber, Hannah Schreffler, Sydney Schultz, MacKenzie Siegel, Ellie Smith, Becca Snyder, Emily Snyder, Johanna Swoyer, Kira Voit, and Victoria Wagner. 

A team of talented adults helped these young performers  produce such a high level of entertainment. The show is directed by Hope L. O’Pake with Meegan Gagnon as music director. Choreography was by Amanda Leam Guistwite; lights, sound and special effects design by Jeff Cusano; set design by Sabrina Hettinger and Stacy Lyons. Zach Frantz is stage manager for the show, which ran like clockwork Sunday.  The ingenious wheeled set pieces changed so quickly and smoothly that the show never bogged down.   Kudos to the many, many people who made that happen.

“Les Misérables: School Edition” continues Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m.; Friday Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. Saturday Aug. 11 at 3 p.m. and  8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 12 at 3 p.m. at Genesius Theatre, 153 Walnut St. (10th and Walnut) in Reading. To purchase tickets with all major credit cards and get more information, visit the website at or call 610-373-9500 to purchase tickets with credit cards only. If you need more information contact the theater at 610-371-8151. All tickets are $15 and credit card fees apply. Genesius Theatre is handicap accessible and there is free parking next to the theater (limited spaces available). This production is rated PG-13 for Content and Language

Thursday, August 2, 2012

On stage in August

 BIRDSBORO  – Alpha/Omega Players present the regional premier of “Spring Awakening,” Aug. 3, 4, 10, 11 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 5, 12 at 3 p.m. in the Alpha/Omega Performing Arts Center, 301 E. First St., Birdsboro, PA 19508. “Spring Awakening,” is based on a controversial 1891 German Play of the same name written by Frank Wedekind.  For reservations call 610-404-4844. Note: Parental Guidance is suggested as the show deals with sexual situations and contains strong language. Not recommended for anyone under the age of 13.

POTTSTOWN – Steel River Playhouse (formerly the Tri-County Performing Arts Center) presents  “High School Musical Jr.” Aug. 10-12 at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown where the summer campers have been  rehearsing for the show. All tickets are $8, with performances at 7 p.m. , and a special matinee on Aug. 12 at 3 p.m.  To buy your tickets online visit  You may also call the box office at 610-970-1199.

READING – Genesius Theatre continues its season of classics with “Les Miserables: the School Edition”– opening Aug. 3 at the Tenth and Walnut Theater. “Les Misérables: School Edition” has been adapted by Musical Theatre International and Cameron Mackintosh. The show is performed completely by students “Les Misérables: School Edition” opens Friday Aug. 3 at 8 p.m. and runs Aug. 4, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m., as well. It also performs on Saturday, Aug. 4 and 11 at 3 p.m, Sunday, Aug. 5 and 12 at 3 p.m., and on Wednesday/Thursday, Aug. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m., at  Genesius Theatre, 153 Walnut St. (10th and Walnut). To purchase tickets with all major credit cards and get more information please visit the website at or call 610-373-9500 to purchase tickets with credit cards only. For more information contact the theater at 610-371-8151. All tickets are $15 and credit card fees apply. Genesius Theatre is handicap accessible and there is free parking aside of the theater (limited spaces available). This production is rated PG-13 for Content and Language.

READING – Reading Civic Theatre will bring to life the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” to Alvernia University for two weekends only, Aug. 3 through 12. All performances will be in Francis Hall Theatre located at Alvernia University. Please note that seating is reserved. Tickets for all shows are available online. Visit to purchase your tickets now or call 610-373-3311 to ensure the best seats. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays (8/3 & 8/10), p.m. on Saturdays (8/4 & 8/11), and 3 p.m. on Sundays (8/5 & 8/12). Ticket prices are $28 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. When available, tickets will be sold at the door. There is only one special opportunity for your prince and princess to join Cinderella for a Tea Party and it is before the Aug. 4 performance from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tickets for Tea with Cinderella are only $10 and are also available through the website. Visit Reading Civic Theater on the web at

READING – The Yocum Institute for Arts Education and The Berks County Department of Parks & Recreation present two outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s comedy, “Twelfth Night.” Friday, Aug. 3 and Sunday, Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. On Sunday,  the cast will present a Shakespeare for Kids Twelfth Night Pre-Show beginning at 4 p.m. The performances mark the first time the Berks County Department of Parks & Recreation has offered Shakespeare in the Park as part of its Performing Arts in the Park series.  Admission is free, $2 to park.
Rain dates are scheduled for Aug. 10 and Aug. 12. Postponements due to weather will be announced via the Parks & Recreation website, social media and will be posted at the park. Gring’s Mill Amphitheater is located at 2083 Tulpehocken Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610

READING – Reading Community Players present the classic Victorian thriller “Angel Street,” better known as “Gaslight,” Aug. 17-26 at Reading Community Players, 403 N. 11th St. (610-375-9016.)  There is a free shuttle from a parking lot on 12th Street between Buttonwood and Elm streets. For more information call 610-375-9106 or visit

READING – Genesius Theatre presents “Titanic – the Musical” in concert Aug. 17-19  Alvernia University in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS titanic. This is a concert version of the engrossing and haunting winner of the 1997 Tony-Award for Best Musical, “Titanic: The Musical,” at Francis Hall on the  Alvernia University campus.”
The musical, which does not follow the same love story as the well-known 1997 film “Titanic,” tells the story of the ill-fated voyage beginning at the boarding of the Titanic and ending on board the rescue ship Carpathia.  Using the stories of dozens of real life figures, from the Astors and Guggenheims, to Murdoch, the ship’s second in command, and Bruce Ismay, the owner of the White Star Lines, Titanic: The Musical brings a strong human element to one of the greatest maritime disasters of all time.”
Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Doors will open one hour prior to show times so the audience may enjoy the hors d’oeuvres and Champagne Cocktails/Soft Drinks in the beautiful courtyard and lobby of St. Francis Hall at Alvernia Univeristy.  The production is being produced by Genesius Theatre, and is presented at Francis Hall at Alvernia Univerisity, 400 Saint Bernandine, Reading, PA 19607. To purchase tickets with all major credit cards and get more information please visit our web site at or call 610-373-9500 to purchase tickets with credit cards only. For more information contact the theater at 610-371-8151. Tickets are $35 and includes hors d’oeuvres and Sweet Street Desserts included.  Champagne cocktails are $5 and soft drinks/water are $2. Alvernia is handicap accessible and there is free parking.  This production is rated PG – Adult Situations (ages 10 on up.

CENTER VALLEY — Tennessee Williams’ favorite among his own plays, the Pulitzer prize-winning ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ continues at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival main stage, in rep with “Much Ado About Nothing.” It runs through Aug. 5. Tickets are available at and by contacting the Box Office at 610.282.WILL . The productions alternate performances, and on Aug. 4 and 5, patrons can see both productions on the same day.

Other area theater productions

Pines Dinner Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown (610-433-2333) presents “All Shook Up,” a new musical comedy featuring the music of Elvis Presley, through Aug. 19.

Act II Playhouse, Ambler presents “Free Range Thinking” through August 12. (215-654-0200) or

Ephrata Performing Arts Center's Sharadin-Bigler Theater, Cocalico Street, Ephrata (717-733-7966) presents "The Who's Tommy" through Aug. 4

Hershey Theatre, 15 E. Caracas Ave., Hershey (717-534-3405)
"Vicki Lawrence and Mame: A Two Woman Show"; 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8

Peddlar’s Pub Mystery Dinner Theater, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 1, Peddlars Village, Lahaska.

People’s Light & Theatre, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern (610-644-3500) presents  "Mr. Hart and Mr. Brown" through Aug. 19

 “Defending the Caveman,” two shows, Saturday Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave, Sellersville.  Box Office: 215-257-5808

To have your production listed here, email information to Cheryl Thornburg at