“All the world’s a stage”: Consider making the Fredericktowne Players your stage

Cast+members+Alex+Prete%2C+Brooke+Donald%2C+Sydney+Austin%2C+Katie+Johnson%2C+Mackenzie+Berry%2C+and+Sam+Fox+rehearse+a+number+in+a+dress+rehearsal+for+this+past+summers+production+of%2C+Hairspray

courtesy of Donald Plugge

Cast members Alex Prete, Brooke Donald, Sydney Austin, Katie Johnson, Mackenzie Berry, and Sam Fox rehearse a number in a dress rehearsal for this past summer’s production of, “Hairspray”

by Mackenzie Berry, Reporter

“All the world’s a stage.”

This line is from William Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It. Are you aware that there are many opportunities to get involved in theater outside of high school? Due to the increasing number of drama students throughout the county, it is important to look beyond–to the strong world of community theater in Frederick. Students may not have any idea that the stage extends beyond their school auditorium, and may be oblivious to the opportunities to be involved in productions with actors, directors, musicians and “techies” of all ages.

One of the main local companies is the Fredericktowne Players. Their most recent shows have included Company, directed by Alex Prete (an LHS Graduate); Into the Woods, directed by Zachary Harris; and Hairspray, directed by Matt Kopp, all of which have been performed at the Jack B. Kussmaul Theater at Frederick Community College. 

Other theater companies in the area include Other Voices Theater, Way Off Broadway Theater, and the Maryland Ensemble Theater, all of which present opportunities for creative individuals.

The Fredericktowne Players was born in Frederick in 1969, when they produced their first show, Barefoot in the Park. Since then, the company has produced over 100 plays and musicals.

What makes the Players unique is their ability to take a show and make it their own while simultaneously creating a product that strikes nostalgia in the hearts of theater veterans. Community theater grows a sense of camaraderie and is a wonderful environment for those seeking positive relationships with others, revolving around a common interest: a love for theater. 

Vice President of the Fredericktowne Players, Matt Kopp has produced, directed and acted in a few of their recent productions.  He said,  “We have all learned together, grown together, danced, sung, and played together. We have created, explored, laughed, and cried. But most importantly, we did it together, as one, and we have formed bonds that will last a lifetime.”

In addition, Charlotte Cooper, an active member of the Players whom you may have seen as Tracy’s swing (an actor who plays a part in a designated amount of performances, and shares a role with someone else) in Hairspray said, “My favorite part of working backstage is watching the actors get out their final nerves before getting onstage to do the opening number. It’s so neat being on the other side of things.”

What Cooper highlights is the fact that volunteers do not have to be actors to get involved. There are many aspects of a show that piece it all together, whether it be lighting, set design, costuming, directing, backstage work, props, makeup, even playing in a pit band or pit orchestra. For some, theater is a lifestyle, and for others its a hobby.

Samantha Buntman, Class of 2018 and an active actor and assistant producer for the Players said, “The best part of community theater is meeting other people my age who are really into theater and seeking adults continuing their passion with theater and working in their other jobs. It really shows that music, theater, and any art form can stay in your life no matter what.”

A show develops in three to five months, from auditions to the final curtain call. Community theater tends to suffer from small audiences, which can be due to the time of year, familiarity of the show, and marketing. Support your local theater by going out and purchasing a ticket to a show, or by donating to the companies themselves. 

Future shows with the Fredericktowne Players will include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat directed by Peter Jackson, the president of the company, and auditions will take place Saturday, March 24th, and Sunday, March 25th.  Show dates are July 13th – 15th, and  20th – 22nd. The following season of shows has yet to be decided, but should be announced within the next few months.