West End Student Theatre Presents ’10 Minute Play Fest’

by Diane VanDyke

PDC_10minfestMontgomery County Community College’s West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “10 Minute Play Fest,” a collection of short, fantastic and foolishly humorous plays April 9, 10 and 11, at 7 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

Faculty member Jessica DalCanton leads student directors Zach Clark for “9 Hours to Fallujah” by Craig McNulty; Jeff Chernesky for “Median” by John Stinson; and Thomas Keller for “Black Paintings” by Neil Olsen. Additionally, DalCanton directs “The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From” by Christopher Durang.

The production ensemble includes Joseph Ricci, Rianna Isbell, Finbarr O’Connor, Ron Quay, Kendra Houck, Austin Moyer, Carly Watson, Ryland X. Beck, Leyna Gilleland, Zac Goodling and Michael Fitzpatrick.

The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre under the guidance of Tim Gallagher and Jessica DalCanton.

The community is invited to this fun-filled evening of entertainment. Tickets cost $8 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518.

Civil Rights Advocate Judy Shepard to Present 2014 Presidential Symposium

by Diane VanDyke

Judy Shepard, mother of Mathew Shepard

Judy Shepard, mother of Mathew Shepard

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard who was the victim of a fatal anti-gay hate crime, will be the guest speaker at Montgomery County Community College’s Annual Presidential Symposium on Thursday, March 27 from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The program will be simulcast to the College’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The community is invited to come and hear Judy Shepard speak about how to make schools, workplaces and communities safe and accepting places for everyone. The lecture is free, but tickets are required. For tickets, call 215-641-6518 or visit mc3.edu/livelyarts.

Since 1998, autumn has been most difficult time for the Shepard family, as they are haunted by the events of Oct. 6 when their son Matthew, a student at the University of Wyoming, was attacked by two men, tortured and beaten near Laramie, Wyoming. He later died on Oct. 12 from severe head injuries. During the trial, it was revealed that Matthew Shepard was targeted because he was gay.

In the aftermath of this dark tragedy, the nation reacted in shock, while the Shepard family mourned the death of their oldest son and brother. Compelled by their grief and motivated by a desire to prevent other hate acts, Judy and Dennis Shepard started the Matthew Shepard Foundation and became vocal advocates for civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community.

As part of her advocacy efforts and as a tribute to Matthew, Judy Shepard wrote and published a book in 2009, The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed.  In October 2009, the U.S. Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

While some progress has been made since the law was enacted, Judy Shepard continues to travel across the country advocating for the acceptance and equality of the LGBTQ community.

“We go to schools and companies and community groups to implore everyone there to embrace diversity,” Judy Shepard writes in a blog post published in The Huffington Post. “We try to give young people hope, despite their parents’ or peers’ rejection of them, that they have a bright future. We keep Matt’s story alive and look to turn bystanders into activists.”

The play and subsequent critically acclaimed HBO movie, “The Laramie Project,” by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, was written about Matthew and is performed frequently to increase awareness of equality for the LGBTQ community and to end hate crimes.

Montgomery County Community College’s Drama Club and Theatre Arts program will present “The Laramie Project,” on April 3, 4, and 5 at 8 p.m.; April 4 at 12:30 p.m.; and on April 5 and 6 at 2 p.m. in the Blackbox Theater, Lower Level Science Center, Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $5. To order, call 215-641-6518 or visit mc3.edu/arts/lively-arts.

The Presidential Symposium and its civil rights advocacy mission is one of the many events scheduled by the College this year relating to its 50th Anniversary celebration. In 1964, the year the College was founded, the Civil Rights Act was signed and enacted into law. This landmark legislation strives to outlaw the major forms of discrimination and provide equal opportunities for all. Additionally, the students’ performances of “The Laramie Project” will highlight the significance of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, as an extension of the 1964 legislation.

For more information about the Matthew Shepard Foundation, visit matthewshepard.org.

Drama Club, Theatre Arts Program to Present Docu-Drama, ‘The Laramie Project’

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College’s Drama Club and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. The play is a drama based on the real-life testimonies and accounts of the community of Laramie, Wyo., in response to the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Show dates are April 3, 4, and 5 at 8 p.m.; April 5 and 6 at 2 p.m.; and a special lunchtime performance Friday, April 4, at 12:30 pm. All performances will be held in the College’s Blackbox Theater, Science Center 107 (lower level) at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA.

In October 1998, a 21-year old college student was kidnapped, brutally beaten, and left to die on the prairie outside of Laramie, Wyo. “The Laramie Project” tells the story of this hate-crime, and the affected community, by drawing on published news reports and hundreds of interviews conducted by the Tectonic Theatre Company with inhabitants of the town. This pioneering work of theatrical reportage looks at the murder through the eyes of the world watching the events unfold…and the community struggling with a violence it has to face.

“It is very clear now more than ever this is a story that needs to be heard. Good can come out of this tragedy, but only if we are willing to listen,” says director Tim Gallagher. This production contains adult themes and language.

Directed by Gallagher, assisted by Alex Haufler, the cast of “The Laramie Project” includes Brian Shim, Britney Brunswick, Dan Nguyen, Hyresh Corbin, John Lawrence, Julia McIntyre, Kelly Maguire, Khadijah Graves, Lydia Crush, Mackenzie Walters, Matt Nitchke, Phoebe Gavula, Sasha McDermott, Tim Odom and Tyler Sanderson.

The production is stage managed by Steven Buck; Mila Romero Dos Santos serves as production manager. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the Drama Club and Theatre Production Workshop, under the guidance of Tim Gallagher and Michael Whistler.

Additionally, on Thursday, March 27, from 12:45- 2:15 p.m, Montgomery County Community College will feature Judy Shepard, mother of the murdered college student and subject of “The Laramie Project,” in the College’s annual Presidential Symposium on Diversity, in a presentation entitled The Meaning of Matthew.”  This program is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and can be made by calling 215-641-6518.

“The Laramie Project” plays Thursday through Saturday, April 3, 4, and 5 at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6 at 2 p.m.; with a special lunchtime performance Friday, April 4, 12:30 p.m. All performances are in the Blackbox Theater, Science Center 107, at the Montgomery County Community College Central Campus. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518.

For information about other performances and events at Montgomery County Community College, like and follow facebook.com/DestinationArts.

Student rehearse for “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and Members of the Tectonic Theater Project. Photo by Matt Carlin

Student rehearse for “The Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and Members of the Tectonic Theater Project. Photo by Matt Carlin

Ballet Hispanico to Perform March 7-8 with Master Class March 6

by Lauren Somers

BLOG Ballet HispanicoMontgomery County Community College will bring the nationally renowned Ballet Hispanico to the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with a daytime performance geared toward schoolchildren and families on Friday, March 7, at 10:30 a.m. and an evening performance on Saturday, March 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets for the evening performance cost $30 for general admission and $15 for children under age 12, with $5 tickets for all ages available for the daytime performance. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for tickets and information.

Additionally, local dance enthusiasts, students and novices alike are invited to participate in a free master class led by Ballet Hispanico on Thursday, March 6, 3:45-5:15 p.m. the College’s Physical Education Building dance studio, 595 Cathcart Road, Blue Bell. To register, contact Dr. Melinda Copel at mcopel@mc3.edu or 215-641-6346.

Founded 42 years ago, Ballet Hispanico is recognized as America’s leading Latino dance organization, whose mission is to explore, preserve and celebrate Latino cultures through dance. In conjunction with its school of dance and educational outreach programs, it builds new avenues of cultural dialogue among the Hispanic diaspora and shares the joy of dance with all communities.

The company has performed in nearly a dozen countries on three continents for audiences totaling more than three million. Led by artistic director Eduardo Vilaro, it showcases a repertory of works created by prominent choreographers and emerging artists representing many nationalities, including Venezuela, Cuba, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. Performances highlight the diversity of Latino culture through a fusion of classical, Latin and contemporary dance powered by theatricality, athleticism and passion.

In its daytime educational performance, the company will use guajira, a form of indigenous Cuban music, as a template for learning about Cuban culture and dance styles while making connections to language arts and social studies curricula. Choreographed by Cuban-American choreographer and former Ballet Hispanico dancer Pedro Ruiz, the piece links personal expression with such dance styles as Afro-Caribbean, Spanish dance, modern dance and folkloric dances of the Americas.

The Ballet Hispanico presentations are being made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The tour is being made possible by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Follow “Destination Arts” at Montgomery County Community College on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts for information about performing and fine arts events.

August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble Celebrates Black History Month

by Lauren Somers

BLOG August Wilson danceIn celebration of Black History Month, Montgomery County Community College welcomes the prestigious August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble to the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with a daytime performance geared toward school-age children and families on Friday, Feb. 21, at 10:30 a.m. and an evening performance on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets for the evening performance cost $28 for general admission and $12 for children under age 12, with $5 tickets for all ages available for the daytime performance. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for tickets and information.

Based in Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center for African American Culture, the Ensemble celebrates the African diaspora while keeping black dance traditions alive. It has been praised by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for “displaying stylistic versatility and extraordinary elan” and hailed by DANCE magazine as one of 2012’s “25 to Watch.”

The Ensemble is led by artistic director Greer Reed, a native of Pittsburgh who returned to her roots after stints with the Dance Theater of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Reed works with renowned choreographers and a select group of dance artists to bring the multicultural dance community together in a professional, educational environment. With a repertoire that features a variety of works by Antonio Brown, Crystal Frazier, Terrence Greene, Christopher Huggins, Pearlann Porter and Reed herself, the Ensemble is fast becoming one of the premier contemporary dance companies in the country.

The daytime performance on Feb. 21 is part of the College’s Young Arts Explorers series, with both performances made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour. The next dance performance in this year’s Lively Arts season at the College will be Ballet Hispanico on March 7-8.

Follow “Destination Arts” at Montgomery County Community College on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts for information about performing and fine arts events.

Montgomery County Community College Celebrates 50th Anniversary

by Diane VanDyke

50 Logo OkAs 2014 begins to unfold, Montgomery County Community College’s will start to celebrate its 50th year of thinking big and providing high-quality, accessible higher education for the citizens of Montgomery County and beyond.

“Fifty years ago, Montgomery County Community College was founded on the bold belief that education has the power to transform lives and communities. The College’s early visionaries laid the framework for what we are today—a community hub for education, innovation, workforce training and cultural activity,” says MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We are proud to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This is a special time to reflect upon our accomplishments, thank the people who made those achievements possible and look forward to thinking bigger for the next 50 years.”

More than 50 years ago in 1963, Pennsylvania passed the Community College Act, which provides the legal framework for the establishment of community colleges in the Commonwealth. Even before the ink was dry on the new legislation, a Montgomery County steering committee investigated and confirmed the need for a community college in the County. The College was officially established on Dec. 8, 1964 and opened its doors in October 1966 in the former Conshohocken High School Building at Fayette and 7th streets in Conshohocken. In 1972, it moved to its current location at 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in 1996, the West Campus in Pottstown opened. In the fall 2013, the College opened its new state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Institute, 1400 Forty Foot Rd., Lansdale. For the future, the College is currently in the planning stages of transforming its existing Physical Education building into a Health Sciences Center.

The College will host a kickoff event for the anniversary year on Monday, Jan. 27, noon-1:30 p.m. in the Parkhouse Hall atrium  in Blue Bell, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. During the event, Dr. Stout will introduce a preview of the documentary film, “The History of Montco, A Documentary.” The film was created by two MCCC alumni, Joe Sapienza and Sean King, with Austin Lepri, a student at Drexel University where Sapienza now attends. The film will be shown in two parts on Feb. 14 and 19, starting at 12:20 p.m. at both campuses.

In commemoration of this golden anniversary milestone, the College will be hosting a series of events for the community throughout 2014, including performances by Madhouse Theater Company (featuring MCCC faculty) on Jan. 23 and 25; an alumni basketball game on Feb. 8; a performance by Beatles tribute band, Strawberry Fields, on Feb. 15; the Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship on March 3 featuring Todd Gitlin and his book, The Sixties and the Twilight of Common Dreams; and a Presidential Symposium featuring civil rights activist Judy Shepard on March 27, to name a few. A list of events for the spring can be viewed at mc3.edu/50.

Additionally, students, staff and faculty will perform “50 Acts of Kindness” throughout the year by volunteering with various community projects, starting with the Fourth Annual College-Wide Day of Service on Jan. 20. College volunteers will do maintenance and clean-up projects at the Elmwood Park Zoo and Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Norristown and the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Pottstown.

In the fall, the College will host a special program to honor the “Fabulous 50 Alumni,” friends and supporters of the College. The year of festivities will conclude with a birthday celebration on Dec. 8, 2014.

More About Montgomery County Community College:

Montgomery County Community College boasts a nationally recognized, award-winning faculty committed to working closely together with students in the learning process. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 degree and certificate programs, a virtual campus, and specialized workforce development and continuing education programs, all of which leverage the College’s nationally ranked use of innovative technology. The College is recognized nationally for its work in sustainability and student success and is one of only 73 institutions in the country to be designated as an Achieving the Dream Leader College.

According to a 2013 Economic Impact Study by Education Modeling Specialists Inc., Montgomery County Community College provides a 16.3 percent return on investment for students during the course of their lifetime. For every dollar students invest in the College’s education, they receive a cumulative $6 in higher future income over their working careers. Further, Montgomery County Community College provides a benefit-to-tax cost ratio of 21.6 to 1, which means every dollar of state and local tax money invested in the College yields a cumulative $21.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents in terms of added taxable income and avoided social costs.

For more information about the College’s 50th anniversary, visit mc3.edu/50.

College to Host Monnette Sudler’s Philadelphia Guitar Summit Feb. 8

by Lauren Somers

Monette Sudler

Monette Sudler

Organized by Philadelphia’s “first lady of guitar,” Monnette Sudler’s Philadelphia Guitar Summit―an exciting evening of diverse musical performances by guitar virtuosos and multi-talented supporting artists―comes to Montgomery County Community College on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $30 for general admission and $15 for children under age 12. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for tickets and information.

“This is the fifth year for the Summit, and I am proud to say it is thriving and moving in a positive direction,” says Sudler, a jazz guitarist, composer, singer, poet, band leader, producer and teacher who founded the event in 2009. “The direction I envisioned offers guitarists and music lovers a way to find benefit and joy in the wealth of this diverse instrument.”

This year’s event will feature:

Sheryl Bailey’s trio, with Bailey on lead guitar, Ron Oswanski on the Hammond organ and Ian Froman on drums. Named a 2013 “Rising Star” by the Downbeat Critics, she has toured and recorded with bass virtuoso Richard Bona, David Krakauer’s Ancestral Groove, pop diva Irene Cara and many others. An associate professor of guitar at Berklee College of Music, she has taught at The Collective School of Music in New York City and several prominent guitar and jazz workshops and helped develop Guitar Sherpa, an interactive virtual jazz academy.

Sherry Butler (sherrywilsonbutler.com), a North Philadelphia-bred jazz singer and songwriter who performed internationally before starting college. She has provided backing vocals for such musical legends as Teddy Pendergrass and Patti LaBelle and gives back to the community by teaching voice lessons through the nonprofit organization Musicopia and at the Philadelphia Clef Club and Perkins Performance Arts Center in Morristown, N.J.

Tosin Abasi, a self-taught eight-string guitar virtuoso who studied jazz and classical guitar at the Atlanta Institute of Music. Known for exploring such techniques as hybrid picking, sweeping, taping and slapping, Abasi founded the Washington, D.C.-based instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders. Following his performance at the Summit he will be available for a brief question-and-answer session.

Hiroya Tsukamoto, a guitarist and songwriter originally from Japan, on acoustic guitar and vocals performing original Japanese songs with Satoshi Takeishi on percussion. Tsukamoto began playing banjo at age 13 and received a scholarship from Berklee College of Music to study in the United States. Since then he has performed with his group locally and internationally and released five albums.

Mulebone, an American blues-based duo featuring roots singer-guitarist Hugh Pool on guitar, bootboard, harmonica, percussion, vox and vocals, and John Ragusa on flute, cornet, fife, pennywhistle, conch shell, vox and Jew’s harp. The two have performed at New York City’s The Bottom Line, seen their album of traditional songs reach the American Roots Top 100 charts, and been featured along with Sweet Honey in the Rock, Maria Muldaur and David Grisman on the award-winning Ellipsis Arts compilation album, “American Lullaby.”

Philadelphia Guitar Summit founder Sudler (monnettesudlermusic.com) has been described by Guitar Player magazine as demonstrating “…a keen sensibility and a lot of perfectly executed guitar techniques.” A graduate of Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music, she has performed with such legends as Odean Pope, Hugh Masekela, Doug Carn and the late Grover Washington Jr. and is profiled in Scott Yanow’s recently released book, “The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide.”

Full bios for this year’s participating artists, who will be available for CD sales and autographs during intermission and following their final performance, can be found at philadelphiaguitarsummit.com. Follow “Destination Arts” at Montgomery County Community College on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts for information about performing and fine arts events.

Master Class Dance Workshops Open to Students, Community

by Lauren Somers

Local dance enthusiasts, students and novices alike are invited to participate in either or both free master classes at Montgomery County Community College: one led by award-winning artistic director, choreographer and instructor David Dorfman on Friday, Jan. 17, and the other by the internationally renowned Ballet Hispanico on Friday, March 7. Both master classes will be held 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the College’s Physical Education Center dance studio, 595 Cathcart Road, Blue Bell. To register, contact Dr. Melinda Copel at mcopel@mc3.edu or 215-641-6346.

In collaboration with its Lively Arts series and Department of Cultural Affairs, the College is offering these accessible master classes in an effort to engage the community and inspire people of all ages and abilities to explore their creative expression through dance. Throughout the year, students can pursue an associate degree in dance or take courses (open to all, regardless of major) in ballet, modern dance, jazz, hip hop, improvisation, composition, repertory, performance ensemble, dance wellness and dance history.

Since its founding in 1985, the David Dorfman Dance ensemble has performed extensively throughout North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe. For the past seven years it has been company-in-residence at Connecticut College, where Dorfman teaches and serves as dance department chair. A native Chicagoan who has toured internationally as a performer, Dorfman has been honored with several fellowships, choreography awards and commissions. His community-based projects continue to advance his goal to “get the whole world dancing.”

Established 42 years ago, Ballet Hispanico is recognized as America’s leading Latino dance organization. Through its professional company, school and outreach programs, Ballet Hispanico preserves Latino culture, celebrates the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic diaspora and builds new avenues of cultural dialogue while sharing the joy of dance with all communities.

Both dance companies are scheduled for full-length performances in the College’s Science Center Theater on the day following their respective master classes. David Dorfman Dance will perform “Come, and Back Again,” a poetic exploration of life’s messiness, mortality and hope inspired by the legendary Patti Smith and singer-songwriter Benjamin Smoke, on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. Ballet Hispanico will present Afro-Caribbean, Spanish dance, modern dance and folkloric dances of the Americas in two performances on March 7 at 10:30 a.m. for youth and on March 8 for general audiences. Other dance performers in this year’s Lively Arts season include the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble on Feb. 21-22. 

The master classes are made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

For tickets and more information about these and other Lively Arts performances, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518—and follow “Destination Arts” at Montgomery County Community College on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts.

Ballet Hispanic will host a free Master Dance class at MCCC on March 7.

Ballet Hispanic will host a free Master Dance class at MCCC on March 7.

Dance, Comedy on Tap for January

by Lauren Somers

David Dorfman Dance to Perform New Work Jan. 18

Award-winning artistic director David Dorfman brings his internationally experienced troupe to Montgomery County Community College to perform “Come, and Back Again,” a poetic exploration of life’s messiness, mortality and hope inspired by the legendary Patti Smith and singer-songwriter Benjamin Smoke, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $30 for general admission and $15 for children under age 12. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for tickets and information.

Through film, music and memoir, five dancers and five musicians focus on the physical and metaphoric resilience of the human spirit. In collaboration with composer/musical director Samuel Crawford, Dorfman produces a score featuring original compositions in poetic tribute to the independent, thought-provoking Smith, “godmother of punk,” as well as music from the underground Atlanta band Smoke. The performance is set against a backdrop of soulful visuals created by street/installation artist “Swoon” (Caledonia Curry).

Since its founding in 1985, the David Dorfman Dance ensemble has performed extensively in New York City and throughout North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe. For the past six years it has been company-in-residence at Connecticut College, where Dorfman teaches and serves as dance department chair. A native Chicagoan who has toured internationally as a performer, Dorfman has been honored with several fellowships, choreography awards and commissions. His community-based projects continue to advance his goal to “get the whole world dancing.”

The performance is being made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other dance performers in the Lively Arts season at the College include the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble on Feb.21-22 and Ballet Hispanico on March 7-8.

BLOG David Dorfman

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Madhouse Theater Company Presents ‘MCCC Turns 50!’ Jan. 23 & 25

In celebration of Montgomery County Community College’s 50th anniversary this year, Madhouse Theater Company is pleased to present “MCCC Turns 50” Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., at the West Campus Community Room, South Hall, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, and Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m., at the Black Box Theater, Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.  Tickets cost $20 and can be ordered online at mc3.edu/livelyarts or by calling 215-641-6518.

This evening of humor will focus on the 1960s, the decade of the College’s inception.  Through an array of comic sketches, Madhouse will lambast, poke fun and roast the events of that tumultuous decade.

Madhouse Co-Artistic Director John Stanton is happy to be back performing at MCCC for its anniversary. “It’s always a good night at Montco. Great audiences and lots of laughs,” he said.

Madhouse plans to have a live rock band to keep the audience pumped up between sketches. The Original Rays will perform some classic ’60s music, including the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix and more.

Madhouse has always been open to the participation from the College community and this time is no different. “There’s terrific talent on campus,” says Stanton. “And, we have no problem taking advantage of the pool of writers and performers.”

Madhouse plans to perform a scene from MCCC’s Theater Assistant Professor and playwright Michael Whistler’s full-length play, “The Prescott Method: Easy Steps to Perfect Bread Baking, Every Time.” This play, set in 1966, displays the friendship of two very different women.

Marc Schuster, MCCC English Associate Professor, writer, and author of four published books, will share his “Gorshinmania,” a hilarious gaggle of girls waiting to see The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”; “Shaken Not Stirred,” in which James Bond is being a pain in the neck on the set (he really doesn’t like martinis); and “Selling,” a spoof of the TV series, “Madmen.”

MCCC English Senior Lecturer and writer, Thomas Powers, like Schuster, is an author and novelist.  His works will include “Hippy Van Winkle,” where a hippy wakes up after a long sleep at the sight of Woodstock only to meet a modern day slacker, and “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow,” in which a woman auditions for the Broadway production ofHair” but is terrified by the nude scene.

MCCC alumna and writer Amanda Banaszewski  with Powers wrote “Special Guest,” a spoof of “The Dick Cavett Show” featuring Andy Warhol and Batman.  Yes, Batman.

Madhouse will also bring along some of Philadelphia’s bright young actors.  Stanton said.

“Madhouse has always had a great relationship with Philly’s talent.  Their ability and timing matches the quality writing.”

Other sketches of the evening include Stanton’s “Army Shrink,” “Gin,” “Bugged,” “High Hopes,” and “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out,” as well as “Awesome Concert” by Madhouse regular and California TV writer Ralph Tropf.

Stanton, who is also an MCCC employee, founded Madhouse Theater Company in 2000. Madhouse has produced a number of his plays including “Headcase,” “No Show,” “3Sum,” and “Playing Leni.” Stanton was also a contributor and producer of Madhouse’s popular late night shows, “Saturday Night Special” and “Late Night Snack.” In his spare time, he teaches comedy writing.

The comedy show will be directed by Stanton’s long-time creative partner Karen DiLossi.

She has a B.A. in History and Drama from Washington College and an M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University. She is the co-Artistic Director of Madhouse Theater Company, and serves as the secretary of the Board of Directors for Flashpoint Theatre Company. She is also a panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and serves as the Director of Programs & Services for the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia for more than eight years.

For more information about Madhouse Theater Company, visit madhousetheater.com.

MCCC’s Marc Schuster, Thomas Powers and Amanda Banaszewksi will be sharing some of their works in Madhouse Theater Company’s upcoming “MCCC Turns 50!” Jan. 23 and 25. Photo Courtesy of Madhouse Theater Company.

MCCC’s Marc Schuster, Thomas Powers and Amanda Banaszewksi will be sharing some of their works in Madhouse Theater Company’s upcoming “MCCC Turns 50!” Jan. 23 and 25. Photo Courtesy of Madhouse Theater Company.

The William Penn Foundation Awards Grant for Lively Arts Series

by Diane VanDyke

The William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia recently awarded a 31-month grant to the Montgomery County Community College Foundation in the amount of $140,000 in support of programming for the College’s Lively Arts Series in 2015 and 2016.

The grant award will enable the College’s Cultural Affairs Office, led by Director Helen Haynes, to continue to provide performances in jazz, folk and world music genres and showcase a diverse selection of both established and emerging artists as part of its Lively Arts Series.

“We present an array of music, dance and theater that exposes the community to new styles and genres and promotes lifelong cultural learning,” Haynes said. “The performances are held in an intimate setting, where the audience feels close to the artists and will get the opportunity to meet and talk with them after the shows.

“We are grateful for the ongoing, generous support of The William Penn Foundation, which allows the College to provide these high-caliber performances, meet-the-artist receptions and educational experiences for area residents and our campus community,” she said.

Additionally, the Lively Arts Series will continue its residency activities, including master classes and workshops with renowned artists. And, through the Young Arts Explorers series, the College introduces and encourages multi-cultural experiences for children during special programming held during the day.

Montgomery County Community College values and supports the arts as part of its mission and philosophy since its founding in 1964. Throughout the decades, the College has strived to become a cultural destination through its Lively Arts Series in offering a global perspective to the community by presenting artists and performances from a multitude of cultures with the support of its funding partners, including The William Penn Foundation. For more information about the Lively Arts Series, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts.

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, works to close the achievement gap for low-income children, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. With assets of nearly $2 billion, the Foundation distributes approximately $80 million in grants annually. Learn more about the Foundation at williampennfoundation.org.