Hello and welcome to Issue 7 of the Members News! As always, please be sure to let me know if you have anything you would like to include in this forum. If you want to share a special upcoming event involving our members or something theater related that might be of interest to folks, please send me a note at email@example.com.
Let’s start with information from the Winter Membership Meeting that was held on February 19, 2022.
Our new Board of Directors is:
President - Tara Water, Productions Chairperson
Vice President – Jason Klonkowski, Public Affairs Chairperson
Secretary – Carol Russell, Education Chairperson (Elected to a 3 year term)
Treasurer – Mike Gahan
Props Chairperson – Chris Magee (Elected to fill a 2 year term)
Costume Chairperson – Janice Sagers (Elected to a 3 year term)
Facilities Chairperson – Craig Hower (Elected to fill a 1 year term)
History/Library Chairperson – Kaitelyn Bauer Dieguez (Elected to a 3 year term)
Membership Chairperson - Carol Charnock
Welcome to those new to the board and congratulations to the officers and chairpersons.
Our upcoming season (2022-2023):
Fences – Directed by Craig Hower (runs September 23 through October 9, 2022)
Hello, Dolly! – Directed by Ben Simpson (runs November 25 through December 18, 2022)
Twelfth Night – Directed by Rachel Wallace (runs January 20 through February 5, 2023)
TBD – Directed by Heather Bauer (runs March 10 through April 2, 2023)
You Can’t Take it With You – Directed by Mike Gahan (runs May 5 through May 20, 2023)
Ragtime – Directed by Tessa Silvestro (runs June 30 through July 23, 2023)
Congratulations to all these great directors and their show. Keep an eye on the website and Facebook for audition dates!
And our One Act entry from 2019 – True Colors, written by our own Kim Bessler – will compete at the Liverpool International Theater Festival in Nova Scotia, Canada in October of 2023! Best of luck!
Also coming up, Port Tobacco Players will be hosting the Maryland One Act Festival on February 10-11, 2023.
Encore Kids will resume next season under the direction of Suzanne Donohue. Camp Mockabee will run again this year – please watch the website and Facebook for application information and dates for each session.
We opened our 2021 – 2022 season with a well-received production of 12 Angry Jurors. In November we put on a musical revue entitled All Together Now!, which was a great fundraiser. This was followed by a One Act show for Christmas – Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol. Although a “short” show, it was enjoyed by the audience and got our folks into the Christmas spirit. January brought an enthralling performance of Macbeth. We welcomed some new-comers to our performers and saw a lot of new faces in our audience – a win/win for everyone!
March has seen the opening of our first full length musical since our shut down. Little Shop of Horrors will opened on March 11, 2022 and will run for 4 weekends. This will also be our first show at full capacity in the theater. Masks are optional, but you must show proof of vaccination (or negative test result) for audience members. Get your ticket soon for this great, campy show!
Have you seen the new lobby area? It is beautiful! The Construction Team Extraordinaire really out-did themselves. The Art Deco detail work is so gorgeous, and the extended lobby is fabulous. If you get a chance, come by and see the “new look”!
We will be cleaning up several areas in the theater this spring – the props loft, the set building area and the rehearsal hall for sure. We will need many hands to make the work go quickly. Dates haven’t been set yet, but we will be putting out an “all call” for help this spring to get a start on clearing out items that we no longer need. Please lend a hand if you can. We’ll need folks for everything from going through bins, hauling items to the dumpster, taking inventory of items in the props loft, etc. Help us get re-organized!!!!
There are a couple of new Children’s Theater groups in the tri-county area. It’s always wonderful to find new opportunities for our young actors and tech stars to learn and shine.
The Children’s Theatre of Southern Maryland (located in Calvert County) is up and running. It’s open to children age 8 through graduating seniors. For more information, you can check out their website at ctsmd.org.
Also in the area is the Actin’ Up Theater Troupe at the Upward Thrive Academy in La Plata. They offer different sessions during the year for youth and teens, ages 8-17. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember our membership year ends on June 30, 2022. If you are a current member, you will be receiving a reminder letter and envelope to renew your membership.
Please let me know if you have anything you would like included in the next Members News!
Hello and welcome to issue 6 of the Members News! As always, please be sure to let me know if you have anything you would like to include in this forum. If you want to share a special upcoming event involving our members or something theater related that might be of interest to folks, please send me a note at email@example.com.
I want to remind everyone that a new membership year began on July 1, 2021. Membership information was sent out to all previous members and I hope, if you haven’t already, you will consider renewing your membership for this membership year (2021-2022)
The membership cycle runs from July 1 to June 30. Regardless of when you join (or renew your membership), the period of membership will end on June 30. Membership dues are $20 per year for Adult (16 and older) and $15 per year for Junior. Your Adult membership in PTP allows you to vote each year for the people who will run this organization. And your continued membership allows you run for the board of directors and have input into the way we move forward.
There have been several changes since I last put out a Members News. New Board members were announced at the Winter Membership Meeting. Going off the board were Melissa Gilpin Ball and JaNeene Sanders. New members to the board were Ben Simpson and Kaitelyn Bauer Dieguez.
In June of 2021, Neil Twohig resigned from his position on the board and JaNeene Sanders was asked to return to the board – she agreed. She was voted back onto the board at the July Board Meeting.
In August of 2021, Stacey resigned from the board since she had moved to Arizona. Carol Russell was asked to serve on the board, and she agreed. She was voted on to the board at the September Board Meeting.
In October of 2021, JaNeene Sanders resigned from the board due to other commitments. Craig Hower was asked to serve on the board, and he agreed. He was voted on to the board by vote on Facebook. He attended his first meeting in November.
The people asked to serve on the board were selected based on the tallies from the Elections at the beginning of 2021. They were asked in the order of the voting. Their willingness to run for the board previously made them the best candidates to fill the vacated positions as they arose.
The current board of the Port Tobacco Players is as follows:
President/Facilities – Chris Magee
Vice President/Productions – Tara Waters
Secretary/Membership – Carol Charnock
Treasurer – Mike Gahan
Public Affairs – Jason Klonkowski
Costumes – Ben Simpson
Education – Carol Russell
History/Library – Kaitelyn Bauer Dieguez
Properties – Craig Hower
Updates from recent meetings:
Financially, we are still doing well. Thanks to several grants, including a Shuttered Venue grant that gave us funds to support many of the repairs to the building, such as the roof. We were contacted by Merle Turner (a past PTP supporter) who has made a $1,000 donation to the scholarship fund in the name of Norma Neergaard, a past member of PTP and a frequent actress on our stage. We have almost $82,000 in our Scholarship fund.
Our new season opened with 12 Angry Jurors, which was well received by our audiences. All Together Now! – a musical revue – is in rehearsal and will open on November 12, 2021. It will only run for 4 shows (1 Friday night, a Saturday afternoon and evening, and a Sunday afternoon). Ticket prices are $15 across the board. I hope you can get to see this talented group and since we are not paying any royalties for the performances, this is a great fundraiser for the theater.
Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol is in rehearsal. It is a wonderful family show and only runs about 45 minutes, so it’s a great show to introduce our younger audiences to live theater. Ticket prices are $10 across the board.
With our opening of the theater, came new requirements for our audience members. In order to try and keep everyone safe, we are requiring all attendees to provide proof of vaccination and wear masks while they are in the theater. These changes went into effect for 12 Angry Jurors. We had a few audience members who were not in agreement with the changes and we refunded the price of their tickets. In general, patrons were happy to comply with the requirements.
Our Winter Membership Meeting will be in person this year. It is scheduled to be held on February 19, 2022 at the American Legion Hall in La Plata. Details are still to be finalized, but it will be wonderful to see everyone again!
Along with the winter membership meeting comes the election of new officers to the board. Because of the resignations during the year, we have a total of 5 positions open for this year. There are 3 positions that will be for 3 years, 1 position for 2 years and 1 position for 1 year. The slots will be filled by the number of votes received. If you are interested in running for the board, you must have been a continual member of PTP since January of 2020 and must have participated in 2 shows since September of 2019 (time extended due to COVID shut down) or have been a member of a standing committee. Our nominating committee this year is led by Tara Waters and her committee members are Kathy Mead and Kyle Bailey. If you are interested in running for one of the open positions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee will verify your qualifications and then put you on the ballot.
Please consider helping us out by becoming a part of the team that will keep this group moving forward.
I don’t know if you are aware, but the one of the board responsibilities is to attend our shows and be there to help out, if needed, with ushering, seating issues, any questions from patrons, etc. Board membership doesn’t just mean sitting at board meetings.
I hope you have found this issue informative and welcome any input you have for including information and keeping the membership up to date on what’s going on with the community.
Carol Charnock, Membership Chair
Hello and welcome to issue 5 of the Members News! As always, please be sure to let me know if you have anything you would like to include in this forum. If you want to share a special upcoming event involving our members or something theater related that might be of interest to folks, please send me a note at email@example.com.
On January 7, 2021, the Board of Directors met for their monthly meeting. Here are some highlights from that meeting.
- Financial Reports were presented and Mike stated we have funds to support us for approximately 11 months. Donations have been steady and we received $6000 in a grant from the Charles County Arts Alliance. The new sound system is completely paid for! He is always on the look out for grant/donation opportunities, so if you hear of anything, please pass it on to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Productions – Tara has reached out to several groups to see if they would like to present a virtual performance of a play and has received positive responses. We will also put out a notice to the membership to see if anyone else might be interested. MTI has a Zoom production guide on how to put on a virtual performance. Members interested in directing a virtual show will need to present a script for approval and prepare a budget for the show. MTI has several shows that can be done virtually and use canned music (at a cost of $700). MTI will charge a percentage of the ticket price or a flat fee (nominal). See the website under Our Shows for further information.
Watch the website for upcoming performances – Encore Kids and Teens, In the Directors Chair.
- Properties – presented an SOP for the position. No further updates
- Costumes – re-organization continues. We are still getting donations in and working on a regular basis to sort and label our current inventory.
- Membership – database for members (Junior/Regular/Lifetime has been updated and ballots have been mailed to all regular members and lifetime members. We currently have a total of 109 Regular paid members, 9 Lifetime members and 7 Junior members. Be sure to contact membership@ptplayers in order to renew your membership for the 2020-2021 membership year.
- Education – we held an audition class taught by the incomparable Chad Mildenstein on January 8, 2021. Very informative and well presented! Thank you, Chad! Watch for upcoming classes.
- Facilities – the siding project is almost complete with just a few minor repairs to be done. It looks fabulous – if you’re in La Plata, drive by and take a look! Work on the bathroom in rehearsal hall will begin shortly. Other projects are proceeding as time and crew permit.
- Discussion was held with members from the production staffs of Charlie Brown and Legally Blonde regarding upcoming season and the best way to move forward. It was decided that any decisions should be tabled until the new board members are elected and can have input into the process.
Next Board Meeting will be held on February 4, 2021 at 7PM.
WINTER GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING – will be held on February 6 at 4pm. Vote will be taken on the by-law proposal and new board members will be announced. Hope to see you all there!
Feature of The Month
I want to take a few moments to talk about the upcoming membership meeting and the importance of the vote for the Board members. Maybe more important is the Board itself.
The Port Tobacco Players were founded by a group of people in 1947 who wanted to raise money for the restoration of the town of Port Tobacco. In order to raise funds for this endeavor, they decided to “put on a show” and provide live entertainment to the Community. And thus – the Port Tobacco Players was formed. And for over 70 years, we have continued to provide the Community with quality entertainment because of the dedication of a few people who take the time to serve on the Board of Directors of PTP. Over the years, this group has found locations for performances of a traveling troupe, leased a building for a “permanent” performance space, renovated the space, purchased the building, made further renovations and kept the group solvent and still “performing” during a pandemic.
We are the longest continually active community theater in the State of Maryland. This is because of those that continue to donate their talent and time to see that this legacy goes on.
These are not professional organizers or financial gurus or miracle workers. They are (and always have been) regular people who are dedicated to the theater arts and who want to see live theater continue to thrive in Southern Maryland.
They work many hours working on getting financing, making sure the building and equipment are in good working order, provide educational programming, arrange for virtual performances, keep the community informed of upcoming events, and problem solve to keep us going.
You can agree or disagree with decisions made. You can wish we had more bathroom space. You can wonder what they were thinking when they decided why to pick a particular color for the walls of the green room. But no matter what you do, you need to thank these people, past and present, who have made the Port Tobacco Players who they are today – a COMMUNITY of people who love theater, love OUR theater and work so hard for all of us to have a home where we can show our talents and be a family.
Please vote, attend the membership meeting on February 6, 2021 at 4PM and be a part of the family that is PTP
Merry Member News – Holiday Edition! I hope you are finding the information helpful and it is keeping you up to date with the goings on at PTP! Please be sure to let me know if you have anything you would like to include in this forum. If you want to share a special upcoming event involving our members or something theater related that might be of interest to folks, please send me a note at email@example.com.
Once again sad news has hit the Players. Rolland Hower passed away on November 25, 2020. He will be deeply missed.
On December 3, 2020 the Board met for its monthly meeting. Here are some of the highlights of that meeting:
-Financial Reports were presented by Mike Gahan and he advised the board that we currently have enough finances to support ourselves for another 12 months. We should be open and running before we start having to “pinch pennies”! The Players have made donations to both La Plata United Methodist Church Food Pantry and Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Mike Merritt’s honor. All expenses are currently up to date.
-Productions – Tara Waters stated that that we will be presenting a Holiday Cabaret on December 18, 2020 at 7PM. MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Should be a fantastic show! Bill Righter and the Encore Kids/Teens are putting together a 2021 Winter Cabaret which will feature so many of our talented young folks. Please watch for the announcement of the performance. We are still looking to open our doors around June – keep your fingers crossed! And will hopefully be able to provide the Camps. We have decided to cancel our performances of Dearly Beloved and Legally Blonde. Hopefully we can consider these in future seasons. The Producers/Directors meeting has been tabled until things get more finalized.
-Education - We hosted a Theater Make Up class on December 4, 2020 taught by Kaitelyn Dieguez. Hope you were able to attend! Our first presentation of “In the Director’s ChaIr” went live and if you missed it, you can see the interview with Ben Simpson on YouTube. It was interesting and informative. Thanks Ben and Stacey! We have scheduled our next virtual class on Friday January 8, 2021 -
-Costumes – the Guild is continuing to work on straightening up and relabeling items in the loft. We have set up teams to tackle specific areas and are slowly making progress.
-Public Affairs is working hard to keep information flowing. Not only with productions, but pictures of the renovations, ENews and Odeum. Please don’t forget to fill out the membership survey to help us clean up our database. The link to the survey/update page is https://bit.ly/ptpMembership
-Facilities – if you’ve driven by the theater lately, you can see the beautiful new canopies over the expanded lobby area and also over the door to the right of the ticket booth. Of course you can’t see IN the theater since our Facilities Chair has covered over all the windows so that the grand reopening is a surprise to everyone not involved in construction/planning. You’ll just have to enjoy the exterior views! Also, the siding on the rehearsal hall/loft part of the building has been removed and the new siding is being installed. This is one of the renovations we can’t keep a surprise – so go by and take a look! The canopies, patio and siding projects were all presented to the Design Review Board of the town of La Plata and were approved with a small hitch with the fencing around the patio. We will continue to address that issue.
-Nominating & ByLaws Committees – we have 12 members running to fill 5 slots. There is one ByLaw change that will be submitted to the membership for voting on at the Winter General Membership Meeting. Watch your mailbox for the information on the Winter General Membership Meeting, ByLaws and the Ballots. We hope to have them mailed out by December 20, 2020 and ballots must be returned (postmarked) by January 25, 2021.
WINTER GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING – will be held virtually on February 6, 2021 at 4PM. It will be held on Zoom, and the link will be made available closer to the date.
Next Board meeting will be held on January 6, 2021 at 7PM.
Feature of the Month
It’s been a hard year on the Players. So many people gone in such a short time. Each one a longtime member and supporter of the theater.
In July we lost Pat McConkey. Pat was a member of PTP since 1981. She was a performer (musicals and plays), a producer, a board member, props mistress, stage crew, one of the original performers of Adult Encore, and performed with them from 1986 until her passing – 34 years. She was dedicated to the theater and would do whatever was needed to keep the show going.
In the beginning of October, we lost Nancy Gasparovic. Nancy was also a veteran performer, enjoying musicals most of all! She sang, danced and on occasion played piano for the Players. She helped with our set decoration, sometimes loaning furniture to “spruce up” the place. Her home was opened for many summer membership meetings – with river swimming being a highlight! She was our Title expert when it came to purchasing the theater. When the tornado hit, her office was not only damaged but her records scattered from here to Delaware! But she was still able to get new paperwork done and get us to settlement in a timely manner. What a trouper!
At the end of the month, we said goodbye to Mike Merritt. Mike has been a “staple” at PTP (pun intended) since his son’s started designing and building sets for us. He could be found paint luan “bricks”, covering nail heads with tape, stapling up wall coverings, making rocks out of styrofoam, and anything else that John or Jeff told him to do. If he wasn’t building, he was mentoring many of our younger members in how to work in the theater or just how to deal with life and how to be the best they could be. Always there, always encouraging, always smiling.
November brought us the passing of Rolland Hower. Usually in the background and not on stage, his phenomenal artistic abilities were instrumental in providing the original artwork for our showcase out front (before the days of FedEX posters!), designing program covers and scenic painting. And if that wasn’t enough, he consulted on how to die from poisoning for “Ten Little Indians”, made sure the Annex for “Diary of Anne Frank” was accurate by providing photos from his visit to the actual site, he handled special effects and was weapons master/consultant for several shows.
Each of these wonderful people were the backbone of the theater for many, many years and friends and second family to many of us. To quote the Bard “Parting is such sweet sorrow”. Gone from here, but still in all our hearts.
Hello! And welcome to the latest edition of the Members News. I hope you are finding the information helpful and it is keeping you up to date with the goings on at PTP! Please be sure to let me know if you have anything you would like to include in this forum. If you want to share a special upcoming event involving our members or something theater related that might be of interest to folks, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, let me say how heartbroken I am to say that a long time PTP Member, Harrieton “Mike” Merritt passed away on October 30, 2020. He was a staple of our community and is sorely missed.
On November 4, 2020 the Board met for its monthly meeting. Here are some of the highlights of that meeting:
New Business - By-laws Committee will be reviewing the submitted changes to ensure they are accurately worded and within the parameters of our existing structure. They will be sent out the membership to review before January 1, 2021.
Nominating/Election Committee is accepting nominations for the open positions. We will have 5 open slots on the board. There are 3 three-year posts and 2 one-year posts to be filled in this upcoming election. All interested members should email email@example.com with their name and a short bio that will be distributed to membership. Please copy two members that will act as signatures for your nomination. To be eligible as a candidate for the PTP Board of Directors a person must: 1) have been a regular member as of January 1 of the two consecutive calendar years prior to the upcoming Winter General Membership Meeting and 2) be a current Regular Member at the time of elections. During that time, the candidate must have participated in at least 2 productions, at least one of which must have been other than as a performer and/or actively served on a Standing Committee as attested by committee chair. Questions? Contact Mel Gilpin via firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter Membership meeting will be held virtually on Zoom on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 4:00. We will be voting on by-laws changes and announcing the new board members. Be sure to put this on your calendar!
The Board voted to approve 3 documents:
Feature of the Month
This is for all the set builder/ repairers/general fix-it people at the theater! Have you ever been on stage working on a set and realized you had the wrong tool? You drop what you’re doing and go over to the workbench, grab what you think you need and go back to your task, only to find it’s the wrong size, wrong screwdriver, not working right. You go BACK to the work bench to try and find what you need, but the last person to use the tools piled them all in a heap on the bench and you have to take time to dig through the pile to find that one thing you need. Same thing with screws, nails, hinges, etc. – never nearby when you need them! Well, the answer is at hand! Our ever working Facilities Chair Person has built some fantastic cabinets that can store the most needed items and they can be rolled onto the stage (or where ever we need them) so you’re not wandering all over the place trying to find the perfect tool to complete your job. Now there is a catch – you need to put back the tools you use when you’re done. Just like putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher and not dumping them in the sink for someone else to take care of (ok, maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it is the season to hope for miracles!). Here are the newly built cabinets – enjoy!!! And Thank You Chris for all your hard work!
Port Tobacco Players