Port Tobacco Players mourns the passing of Rolland Oliver “Rollie” Hower, a former scenic designer/illustrator for PTP, on November 25, 2020 from cancer. Born in Fremont, Ohio June 14, 1928, the son of Oliver Nelson Hower and Maud Isabel (Stafford). He attended Toledo University from 1948-52, later achieving a Ph.D. in Cryobiology in 1977. He married Harryette R. Bradley on October 27, 1951. He worked as a Draftsman Illustrator for A.O. Smith Corp. Toledo, Ohio in 1951. He worked as an Exhibits Designer for The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. at The National Museum of Natural History, 1951-56, Chief of Research 1956-64, Chief of Exhibits 1964-74, Freeze-Dry Lab Chief 1975-83. He was a long-term substitute for Charles County Public Schools, La Plata High School, Science Department 1984-89. He served as adviser to the Port Tobacco Museum, Port Tobacco, Maryland and the Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC.
His PTP career was robust. In 1981 he painted the showcase and created the program cover art for Carousel and California Suite. 1982 he did the same for Fiddler on the Roof, The Wiz, and Destry Rides Again. In 1983 he also did the program cover and poster for My Fair Lady and Trish Kissick (Eliza Doolittle) sat for the double portrait. In 1984 he did the poster and program cover for “An Evening of One Acts,” The Sound of Music, Bye, Bye Birdie, Company and Mister Scrooge. In 1985 he painted the showcase for Charlie’s Aunt, Hello, Dolly (Lil Medas, as Dolly Levi, sat for the portrait) and Bell, Book and Candle. 1986 had him painting the showcase for Love, Sex and the IRS. In 1987 he painted the showcase for Mame (Connie Stewart, as Mame, sat for the portrait), Hot L Baltimore, Our “40th Anniversary Show of Shows” and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (his son Craig, as Joseph, sat for the portrait). In 1988 he designed the set for Show Boat and Arsenic and Old Lace and designed the showcase and program cover for A Christmas Carol. In 1992 he made his stage debut in South Pacific as an attendee of Emile de Becque’s party because “He owned his own tux.” He also painted the showcase and did the program cover for The Best Little Whore House in Texas. In 1993 he was special effects and weapons master for Deathtrap the scenic painter for A Walk in The Woods and in 1995 he was one of the scenic painters on Big River. In 1997 he acted as “Death Consultant” on Ten Little Indians coaching the cast in the different ways they would react to poisons. In 1998 he did the scenic painting for The Homecoming. In 2000 he was the set designer for The Diary of Anne Frank and since he was traveling through Europe he made a point of stopping by the “Hidden Annex” in Amsterdam and extensively photographing it so that our set could have a chillingly accurate look and feel. In 2001 he designed and painted the set for Laura, as well as painting the portrait of Laura for the mantle (Patricia Penn sat for the portrait). And in 2005 he designed the set for Singin’ in the Rain. Throughout the years he consulted on weaponry and supplied firearms for various other productions including Getting Away with Murder in 2003 and 1776 in 2004.
He is proceeded by his parents and son Nelson and survived by his wife of 69 years Harryette, sons Cary (Kristen), Chuck, Bradley, Craig, daughter Dawn, sister Bobbie Luckart of Cape Coral, Florida, thirteen grandchildren and six great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers please make donations to La Plata United Methodist Church, 3 Port Tobacco Road, La Plata, Maryland, 20646 or Hospice of Charles County, 2505 Davis Drive, Waldorf, Maryland, 20603.
Online condolences may be shared with the family at arehartechols.com.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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!
We need your help! We have had some issues in recent mailings that let us know that our database of member information is not “up to snuff.”
The Public Affairs Committee along with the Membership Chair has put together a “survey” in order to ensure we have your current information before we do our mail out in January for the election of new Board members.
We are asking ALL members to take a few minutes and click on the link below to give us your current contact info, interests in the theater, and ways you might like to help out.
The info will ONLY go into our database for OUR use and will be securely transmitted. We will diligently protect all information you provide.
Even if you think we have your information correct, please fill out the document so we can be sure.
Thanks for your help!
Harrieton “Mike” L. Merritt, 93, of LaPlata, MD -- known to many in the PTP community simply as Mr. Merritt -- passed away on October 30, 2020 at the Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home.
Born on April 26, 1927 in Smithville, WV to the late John and Verbia Merritt, he is also preceded in death by his second wife, Carol Merritt; brother, J. Kester Merritt; sister, Maxie G. Seabolt. Mike is survived by his first wife, Ruby Godfrey; sons, Gary Merritt (Dulce), John Merritt and Jeffrey Merritt (Beverly); daughter, Susan Rison (Charles); brother, Ken Merritt; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Mike proudly served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He was employed as a Teacher and later as Assistant Superintendent for Charles Co. Board of Education. He was a devoted member of the LaPlata United Methodist Church, a Mason and Lion’s Club member. Mike will be missed dearly but never forgotten by those he loved and those who knew him.
The family will receive friends at the United Methodist Church (3 Port Tobacco Rd., LaPlata, MD) on Thursday from 5PM to 7PM, with a private family Service. A Graveside Service will be held at Ellenboro Masonic Cemetery in West Virginia.
In Lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, LaPlata United Methodist Church Food Bank or the Harrieton L. “Mike” Merritt Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 1228 LaPlata, MD 20646)
Service will be streamed on Facebook live at La PlataUmc. Due to our nation’s pandemic, CDC protocol shall be followed requiring masks for all guests and social distancing. Online condolences may be shared at arehartechols.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harrieton "Mike" L. Merritt, please visit the Arehart-Echols Funeral Home floral store.
Welcome to the second edition of the Members News!
I hope you enjoyed last month’s info. 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.
On October 8, 2020 the Board met for its monthly meeting. Here are some of the highlights from that meeting:
Board meetings are open to membership to observe. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 7PM. If you would like to observe, please contact email@example.com. Chris will send you a link to the meeting.
On a sad note, the Players lost long time member Nancy Gasparovic on October 3, 2020. She is greatly missed by her many friends in the PTP family. Here is a lovely write up of her life.
Ticket prices for Musicals have been raised to $20 for Adults and $18 for Seniors, Students and Military. This increase was made because of the rise in the cost of putting on musicals. The royalties, script/orchestral rentals and general overhead has been going up a lot in the last few years and we need to increase the prices to patrons to help cover the costs.
The 301 Derby Dames are sponsoring a “Trunk or Treat” party at the Charles County Fairgrounds on October 24, 2020 from 6-9pm. PTP will be sponsoring a “trunk”. Admission is free and it’s a drive through event. Please consider supporting the 301 Derby Dames and vote for the PTP trunk as the best!
If you are interested in running for the board, please send a brief note to firstname.lastname@example.org. The note should state who is being nominated and contain the signatures of 2 current regular members and the signature of the nominee. Please watch for more details on the nomination and election process.
Looking for ways to support Port Tobacco Players during our closure (we can sure use it!)? Here are some possibilities:
1) Regular donations can be made through our website. Any amount is certainly welcome. If you like, you can specify where your money goes. Maybe you can help pay a month’s electric bill? Telephone bill? Put the money towards the sound system? Your choice!
2) Purchase items from our Amazon Wish List (discussed last month). Go to ptplayers.com -> “Support” -> “Donate” -> and then scroll down to see the many ways you can support your theater!
3) With the Holiday Season coming up, your purchases through Smile.Amazon.com can result in a donation to PTP. Click here to set PTP as your charity on Amazon, or: set up a Smile.Amazon account (if you don’t already have one!), log in, select your charity (Port Tobacco Players) and Amazon will send us a percentage of your purchase price.
4) PayPal has identified PTP as one designated for the PayPal Giving Fund. That means that 100% of any donation given through PayPal will go to us. They will no longer deduct processing fees.
5) Brick Pavers – It’s never too late to get a brick with your name, memory, comment on it! Click here for information on how to purchase one!
6) Purchase PTP apparel! We have hats, scarves, shirts, sweatshirts – all embroidered with the PTP Logo! Great Christmas presents! Click here to shop.
Help me keep you informed. Let me know what’s happening and what you want to hear about. I will do my best to research your ideas and get you information.
– Carol Charnock, Membership Chair