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Coming up NXT: Plays and pride highlight Tri-State events

Coming up NXT: Plays and pride highlight Tri-State events

Totem Pole Playhouse offers summer ‘Souvenir’

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. — “Souvenir” by Stephen Temperley opens Sunday, July 14, at Totem Pole Playhouse as the third offering in its new summer subscription series.

“Souvenir” is the 2005 Broadway play based on the same true story as the 2016 film “Florence Forster Jenkins,” which earned Meryl Streep her 20th Academy Award nomination.

Jenkins, a native of Wilkes Barre, Pa., was an American socialite and amateur soprano both celebrated and mocked for her flamboyant performance costumes and excruciating, almost painful, singing.

Despite her lack of musical ability, her singing career carried her all the way to Carnegie Hall. Long-time University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music voice teacher Patricia Linhart, who has taught generations of Broadway performers, stars as Florence Foster Jenkins in the Totem Pole production.

Broadway veteran Bob Walton, who appeared in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “42nd Street,” “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Show Boat” and “City of Angels” co-stars as the show’s narrator and Jenkins’s accompanist, Cosme McMoon.

The production opens at 2 p.m. Sunday and runs through July 28.

This summer, Totem Pole has instituted a new “Date Night Special” with patrons offered 50% off a second pair of tickets when they purchase one pair at full-price.

Tickets and gift certificates are on sale now; call the box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday at (717) 352-2164.

Totem Pole Playhouse is located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pa.

Theater festival to be celebrated throughout July

Shepherdstown, W.Va. — The 29th season of the Contemporary American Theater Festival featuring artists from around the country, continues through July 28.

The annual event is the first time CATF’s 2019 company will celebrate the six new plays they are about to create.

This year’s offerings include “Support Group For Men” by Ellen Fairey, directed by Courtney Sale; “Wrecked” by Greg Kalleres, directed by Shelley Butler (world premiere); “My Lord What A Night” by Deborah Brevoort, directed by CATF Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen (world premiere); “Chester Bailey” by Joseph Dougherty, directed by Ron Lagomarsino; “Antonio’s Song/ I Was Dreaming Of A Son” by Dael Orlandersmith and Antonio Edwards Suarez, directed by Mark Clements (world premiere) and “A Welcome Guest” by Michael Weller, also directed by Herendeen (CATF commission and world premiere).

CATF’s 2019 company members include:

• Playwright Dael Orlandersmith, an actor and poet known for her plays “Yellowman” (Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Pulitzer Prize finalist); “Beauty’s Daughter” (Obie Award) and “Stoop Stories.” Working in collaboration with Antonio Edwards Suarez, Orlandersmith wrote “Antonio’s Song/I was dreaming of a son,” which will be performed by Suarez.

• Reed Birney, playing opposite his son Ephraim in Joseph Dougherty’s “Chester Bailey,” will portray Dr. Philip Cotton. Birney is known for his Tony Award-winning performance in Stephen Karam’s “The Humans” and Tony nominated performance in Harvey Fierstein’s “Casa Valentina.” His television roles include Donald Blythe in “House of Cards,” Mr. Prescott in “Gossip Girl” and Tom Connolly in “The Blacklist.”

• Returning actor Lizan Mitchell (Dead & Breathing, 2014)

• Returning actor Chris Thorn (World Builders, 2015)

• Returning actor Tom Coiner (On Clover Road and The Full Catastrophe, 2015; and Kate Udall (Wild Horses, 2017).

The acting company also includes Scott Aiello, Juan Arturo, Megan Bartle, Ephraim Birney, Rolando Chusan, Julia Coffey, Peter Kybart, Wade McCullam, Sarah Sun Park, John Leonard Pielmeier, Ken Robinson, Michael Rodgers, Reece Santos, Lou Sumrall and Angela Wildflower.

Designing this year’s collection of six plays in rotating repertory are: Brendan Aanes, John Ambrosone, David M. Barber, Therese Bruck, Victoria Deorio, Jesse Dreikosen, Tony Galaska, Beth Goldenberg, Peggy McKowen, Jared Mezzocchi, Andre Pleuss, David Remedios, Louie Rozier, Luciana Stecconi and D.M. Wood.

Returning stage managers for the 29th season are Deb Acquavella, Lori M. Doyle, Lindsay Eberly and Tina Shackleford. Paul Holmes, new to CATF, joins the stage management team.

For more information about CATF or to purchase tickets, visit CATF online at or call the box office at 800-999-CATF (2238).

Hagerstown Pride Festival returns

The 8th annual Hagerstown Pride Festival is scheduled for Saturday, July 13, from noon to 6 p.m at Hagerstown’s Central Lot. The festival highlights and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community through lively performances from bands and more on a grand stage.

There will be vendors and more than 3,000 attendees are expected.

This year’s theme is “Love Grows,” acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

The annual festival is organized by local non-profit Hagerstown Hopes, which believes in a community where all persons, regardless of age, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation should be treated with respect, grace and dignity.

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