Hilltop Theater brings dramatic arts back to Baumholder
Hilltop Theater performers discuss their roles for the upcoming performance of "And Then There Were None."

BAUMHOLDER, Germany - "It's a wrap" is yelled over the buzz of drills and hammers, the scent of fresh paint and sawdust in the air.
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The 15-year wait is over, U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder now has a community theater. This intimate 50-seat playhouse gives audience members a chance to feel as if they are in the middle of the action, since the actors are only a few feet away.

The Hilltop Community Theater is open to all ID cardholders and local nationals. A variety of performances - mysteries, dramas, comedies, one-act plays and musicals - are on the horizon.
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The theater is preparing for the performance of "And Then There Were None." This Agatha Christie murder mystery will be the first full-length play offered in USAG Baumholder in more than 15 years and will be the groundbreaking performance by the newly founded Hilltop Theater.
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Stacy Smith, a sixth-grade Department of Defense Dependents Schools teacher at Wetzel Elementary, used to make a two-and-a-half hour trip in order to perform five nights a week with the Kaiserslautern Military Community Onstage Theater. "I'm so excited to have a theater in Baumholder," said Smith. "Eric is a wonderful addition to Baumholder and he has put so much work into this theater." The opportunity to volunteer is open to everyone. No experience is required. Just show up at the audition and decide where you would like to help. Whether it's your first play or your 51st, your contribution will make a difference.
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Hilltop Theater director, Eric Danzeiser, is a 15-year theater veteran with experience directing, acting and working backstage for the Keller Theater in Giessen. In the spring of 2009 Danzeiser began converting an old warehouse in Building 8895 on Wetzel in USAG Baumholder into a performing arts theater. "There's a demand for a stage," said Danzeiser. "A lot of people want to perform and show what they can do. Many come from community theater in the States and want to continue here. My goal is to create an award-winning program that Baumholder can be proud of."
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And they have the talent to prove it. Rebekah Ankrom-Baker, music director for the Hilltop Theater, has an extensive background in theater and has a master's degree in opera from Boston Conservatory. "Our goal is to make the Hilltop Theater the main theater for the Baumholder area. We also want to offer more opportunities for community involvement," said Ankrom-Baker.
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The theater organized a pre-opening performance in September of 2009 of "Three in a Row," a selection of three 10-minute plays. The cast consisted of students from the USAG Baumholder Middle High School participating in the Edge program. On first try at competition, the Hilltop Theater won three awards: first place for Best Teen Ensemble, first place for Best Non-Speaking Role and second place for Best Actor for the play, "Three in a Row," entered in the Europe-wide annual One-Act Festival hosted by U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern.
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Volunteers are the core of the theater and are the soul of the performances. The Hilltop offers local nationals a chance to improve their on-the-spot speaking skills while offering host nation relations and a way for Americans stationed in USAG Baumholder to touch the community. The theater relies on the dedication of volunteers who are willing to commit time and effort to creating the best possible experience for the audience.
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To Heather Gladney, a DoDDS substitute teacher and a first-time theater volunteer, "The experience is a lot of fun. I loved to watch theater before but to now be involved ... it's a lot of work but great. The cast has a great sense of camaraderie, and I have learned a lot" said Gladney. She has made acting a family affair by including her daughter, 13-year-old Natasha Gladney, a seventh-grader at USAG Baumholder Middle High School. She is also joined on stage by her husband, Capt. Jason Gladney, who serves as the USAG Baumholder veterinarian. After having recently returned from Iraq, "It's a lot of fun to get out of the daily grind and into the community. I'm nervous but having fun" said Gladney.
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The Hilltop Theater will be offer a wide selection of plays in 2010. Performances of the murder mystery "And Then There Were None" are Jan. 22, 23, 29, 30 and Feb. 5 and 6. Tickets are $8 or Ac'A!8 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Auditions for the musical "Nunsense" are Jan. 25-26 and the play runs in March. Also look for the comedy A "Bed Full of Foreigners" in May and the musical "Lucky Stiff" in late July. So if you live in the USAG Baumholder area and you are interesting in acting, working backstage or just watching a show, you need go no further than the Hilltop Theater.
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The theater is just outside Upper Wetzel in Building 8895. To get there, exit Wetzel Kaserne through the gate across from the Wetzel Child Development Center (next to the Wetzel Teen Center) and continue past the golf driving range (in the same building as the Creative Arts Center and swimming pool).
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If you have questions about volunteering, contact Eric Danzeiser at the Hilltop Theater at civ (06783) 6-7244 or email hilltoptheater@eur.army.mil. To order tickets or for more information about performances dates and times, contact the Creative Arts Center box office at civ (06783) 6-6687 or email artscenter@eur.army.mil.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16