Cessy Newmon

Scotty Briggs Art, mural

Keeping Company at Orange Park Community Theater

Company, a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships and is not for young audiences (cautions on language and subject matter).  To quote Sondheim, “Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems.  These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we’re going to bring it right back in their faces.”  The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six. Returning to …

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Bewitchingly 'Bell, Book and Candle' at Orange Park Community Theatre

Bewitchingly ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ at Orange Park Community Theatre

For the second show of its 50th Anniversary season, (OPCT) took on the 1950 classic, Bell, Book and Candle. In a bewitchingly fun version, the audience, to paraphrase Aunt Queenie, was giggling and giggling (and laughing) pretty consistently throughout. Considering this script is almost 70 years old and has spawned two well-known movies (its namesake and Spellbound) and a TV series (Bewitched), there is a large shadow from which they have admirably stepped. It is unusual to critique two consecutive shows by the same director. has cast this impeccably, each character bringing their own distinct personality to the stage. This …

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A Beauty of a Start to a 50th Season at Orange Park Community Theatre

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast With a rendition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast that had everyone laughing, clapping, ooh-ing and aah-ing, kicks off its 50th Anniversary season. For a small stage, this theatre touts big talent. Director brings to life a show that delights the senses of young and old alike, and I say that because the entire audience, with a fairly full house, was clearly enjoying themselves throughout. The characters are well-cast, the vocals (Jeremy McKinnies) and choreography (Javi Fernandez) are wonderful, and there are audible gasps and claps from the audience with the myriad of reveals from …

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Pride & Prejudice, Northeast Florida Conservatory

No Prejudice for this Pride-Worthy Performance by Northeast Florida Conservatory

With performances at Mandarin Presbyterian Church before moving to Atlantic Blvd., the presents the classic Pride and Prejudice, running through July 21. Based on the novel by Jane Austen, it is set in the early 1800’s England and is a romantic sparring match touching on manners and morals. It is time when women were expected to marry, because bloodlines – and money – passed only from father to son. An ever-harried Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet, whose life revolves around marrying off her daughters, are hilariously portrayed by  and . The daughters number five: Jane (Madeline Crawchuk), who is heartbroken …

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Mamma Mia, Peach State Summer Theatre

Mamma Mia, Valdosta State University’s Peach State Summer Theatre Has a Crazy Line-Up!

Peach State Summer Theatre is a professional summer stock theatre located on the lovely University campus in Valdosta, GA. Each summer, some 60 talents gather for ten-weeks to rehearse, build and present three musicals in repertoire. has produced professional summer musical theatre since 1990. Just two hours from Jacksonville, Valdosta is a thriving community with much to offer. If three musicals in a weekend aren’t your cup of tea, take in a theme park, golf course, museums, historic areas, or just relax in the lovely surroundings. For their 30th season, which includes Mamma Mia!, Little Women, and Crazy for You …

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The Music Man: 76 Trombones are on Parade at Orange Park Community Theatre

The last show of ’s season is The Music Man. This classic musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, was not only based on Willson’s boyhood in Mason City, Iowa, but the role of Marian was based on a real person, Marian Seeley of Provo, UT, a medical records librarian whom Willson met in WWII. There were over 40 drafts and 20 cut songs before the show finally made it to Broadway in 1957, where it has been so successful, it garnered five Tony awards (over West Side Story) in its first year, spawned TV and Film adaptations, …

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One Toe’s in the Funny Bone at Orange Park Community Theatre

Orange Park Community Theatre just opened One Toe in the Grave, a comedy by Jack Sharkey. You may have previously seen a Sharkey play and not realized it, as he wrote under four pseudonyms as well as his own name. He didn’t start writing for stage until in his thirties, but by the time he passed, he had over eighty published comedies, musicals, and thrillers. That the audience was laughing pretty much throughout the show is a testament not only to the cast, but to Sharkey’s wit. Jason Kingsley () is the treasurer for Murdock and Moran (M&M), a company …

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OPCT's Dixie Swim Club, Orange Park Community Theatre

Dive into Enjoyment with OPCT’s Dixie Swim Club

Orange Park Community Theatre’s third show this season is The Dixie Swim Club, a touching comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.  Even though this is a rather prolifically performed script, it remains  popular. The relevance of the characters in the story consistently cuts across generations and communities as a study in friendship and how it grows and changes through the years. Five Southern women who became friends on their college swim team set aside a long weekend each year to recharge their relationships. Free from husbands, children, jobs, they always meet at the same beach cottage on …

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NE FL Conservatory, Three's a Family

NE FL Conservatory Grows its Repertoire with Three’s a Family

This past weekend, the NE Florida Conservatory debuted its first non-musical (straight) show as they expand their artistic stage outreach beyond vocalists by adding straight plays to their repertoire, Three’s a Crowd, a comedy written by Phoebe and Henry Ephron, opened on Broadway in 1943. It has not been widely performed, which is sad, as it is a very funny script. I don’t know how director Bill Di Stanisloa found this gem. Sam () and Francis Whitaker (Ralin Trosclair) play off each other well sharing their two-bedroom apartment with Francis’ sister, Irma, for two years. Very soon it becomes a …

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A Supernatural Horror: ‘The Univited’ at Orange Park Community Theatre

Orange Park Community Theatre’s (OPCT) second production for this season,  by well-known author Tim Kelly, is Halloween-themed for the time of year.  Even the ladies at concessions are in the spirit of the season. The old house at Cliff’s End, owned by the young Stella Meredith (), has stood vacant for years.  Londoners Roddy Fitzgerald () and his sister, Pamela (), having decided life in London is too chaotic, happen across Cliff’s End in their search for a new home.  Drawn to it, Pamela convinces Roddy that she can fix up the house while he continues his writing.  They are …

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