Prize-winning community theater offers variety, entertainment
Dr. Robert Schloesser, U.S Army Garrison Wiesbaden Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, presents members of the Wiesbaden Amelia Earhart Playhouse with 2011 Army Festival of the Arts awards Jan. 25. Sgt. 1st Dan Carr (from left) won two first places for Outstanding Set Design and Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play; Joseph Melicosta, second place for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role; Kimberly Carr, third place for Outstanding Director of a Play; Sanja Parkos, third place for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. The Wiesbaden theater's production of "Prelude to a Kiss" also earned third place honors for Outstanding Production; Stacey Groves, third place for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role; and Charlie Fontana, third place for Outstanding Producer of a Play.

WIESBADEN, Germany - Wiesbaden's award-winning Amelia Earhart Playhouse invites community members to "laugh and cry" at its newest productions "I Hate Hamlet" and "Songs for a New World."

"The script is well written; we have a great cast and great crew," said Spc. Jordan Lewandowski of V Corps, who plays Andrew, the lead role in the dramatic comedy "I Hate Hamlet," written by Paul Rudnick.

"The role's pretty intricate and complex. Hopefully I'll do it justice," said Lewandowski, who last performed in "A White Christmas" at the Wiesbaden military community theater.

"Andrew Rally is an LA TV star," said playhouse director Kimberly Carr, explaining that after being offered the chance to play one of Shakespeare's most popular characters in New York's Central Park and landing an apartment in the Big Apple, he finds himself haunted by the ghost of famed actor John Barrymore, a former tenant.

Opening in March
"It's a vibrant, funny play," said Carr, adding that performance dates are March 8-11 and 15-18. Show times are 7:30 p.m., except on Sundays when the play starts at 6 p.m.

"We're also rehearsing for 'Songs for a New World'" which will be featured March 29-31, April 1 and 12-15, she said.

"Basically it's just music -- each song tells a story. The basic theme of the musical is life happening -- when everything changes in one fell swoop, completely changing your life in a matter of minutes," Carr said.

With a mixture of rock, jazz and gospel, the songs depict a mother thinking about leaving her family, an individual contemplating suicide and various other life-altering topics.

"It's about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back," is how author Jason Robert Brown described the script.

"It's like a dream come true for me," said musical director Diane Schupp, who in addition to directing the musical appears as one of four cast members. "I'm really very thankful to have this opportunity and to have a great cast and crew."

Schupp, a German volunteer, said she first heard about the Amelia Earthart Playhouse from a friend, wanted to improve her English and jumped at the chance to get involved in the theater.

"I found great people to work with," she said, adding that making sure "the audience has a great time," is the important thing for the playhouse crew.

"I came here in August and I wanted to meet new people and be part of the community," said family member Carrie Hasty, who portrays Deirdre McDavey, Andrew's girlfriend, in "I Hate Hamlet."

"It's really exciting," Hasty said, describing the theater experience. "I love to portray other characters. It's kind of like a vacation from my life. I enjoy entertaining people -- making them laugh and cry."

"You meet a lot of exciting and talented people in the theater," said military family member Shelby Wardle. "It's a different atmosphere. I can be whoever I want to be. I don't have to worry about my everyday problems; I can relax and have fun."

Raking in the accolades
"It's always fun to come over to this theater," said Dr. Robert Schloesser, USAG Wiesbaden's director of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, while presenting the playhouse volunteers with a slew of awards on Jan. 25. Cast and crew of the playhouse's 2011 production of "Prelude to a Kiss" were recognized for outstanding efforts both onstage and backstage in the 2011 U.S. Army Festival of the Arts (see the Oct. 27 issue of the Herald Union Online).

Voice, dance and guest performances; radio plays and children's programs are other offerings in the works at the Amelia Earhart Playhouse, Carr said.

"If you've never performed on the stage and wanted to try, this is the time to try it," she said, encouraging all community members to get involved. "It's a relaxed, fun atmosphere. … Once you get bitten by the acting bug, you won't be able to let it go."

For reservations and more information about upcoming happenings at the playhouse, call the theater at mil 336-2473, civ (0611) 816-2473 or email ameliaearhartplayhouse@yahoo.com.

Carr said she would rate both "I Hate Hamlet" and "Songs for a New World" as PG-13 -- not recommended for young children.

Page last updated Tue January 31st, 2012 at 00:00