2023 BEGINS! by Thomas Putnam
We are delighted to begin the 2023 Season with two wonderful productions: a Winter Theatre Arts Camp for students in the Northern Tioga School District, and an hilarious adult comedy. The camp for fourth-tenth grades will run from January 12-February 4 and will culminate with a dazzling production of the
wildly popular musical CATS (Student Edition) by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Information and registration form can be obtained by contacting the Hamilton-Gibson Productions office at 570.724.2079 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or viewing the hamiltongibson website, or the individual school offices. Registrations are due no later than January 6. The camp will be held at the Clark Wood School Auditorium in Elkland and costs only the commitment to the camp, due to a generous grant from the Deerfield Charitable Trust.
EXIT LAUGHNIG by Paul Elliott is a laugh-out-loud fun-filled story of three middle-aged women who
are all feeling lost when the fourth of their bridge club has up and died on them. For nearly three decades
the three of them have supported and encouraged each other and life just doesn't seem complete without
their fourth. One of them has the bright (and illegal) idea of “borrowing” their friend's ashes—from the
funeral home—and bringing them to the weekly bridge night. What ensues is a wild ride of an evening as
the three bare their hidden souls and explore a whole new way of approaching life—while they have it.
Add a distraught daughter who has been stood up one too many times by a boy friend, and a visit from the
law, and plenty of beverage therapy, and the night is one they—and you—will never forget.
Auditions for this welcomed bit of sunshine in the midst of a grey winter will be Friday, December 30, 1:30PM Warehouse Theatre Wednesday, January 4, 6:30 Warehouse Theatre Thursday, January 5, 6:30 Warehouse Theatre No experience is required to audition. Three middle-aged women and one college-age woman; one
college-age-looking man. All races and creeds and political persuasions are encouraged to audition. All
must be comfortable in their own bodies; the man must be in excellent physical shape (the “buffer” the
better.) Performances are March 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 at the Warehouse Theatre.
THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY CHILDHOOD
THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY CHILDHOOD By Thomas Putnam
Many infants learn nursery rhymes or a parent's favorite pop song at a very early age. I learned Handel's MESSIAH. And not just the Hallelujah Chorus. I learned it all. It was part of the air in our household. And not just at Christmas time. Pretty much from early October through May I was baptized in the choruses and solos of this great work of art.
My dad was a bass soloist. He was also a choral conductor. So a huge community men's chorus, and a large church choir, and a huge high school choir under his direction all sang portions of MESSIAH. And since he was a soloist, I heard all of bass solos almost as many times as I ate grilled cheese and tomato soup watching Walt Disney on Sunday evenings.
Mom was an alto soloist. She directed a large community women's chorus, taught in elementary schools and was part of weekday music group. Those solos were simply part of the soundtrack of our childhood. How many kids absentmindedly sing “He Shall Feed His Flock” whilst in the bathtub?
I wouldn't change that childhood soundtrack for anything. When the tenor first intoned the words “Comfort Ye” I settled in for musical soulful massage for a few hours. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” filled me with a sense of mystery that I didn't experience anywhere else. A kid woudn't have to understand or even believe the words in a Christian perspective, but this kid knew that something really great was going on, and much of that something was mystery and an awe of creation. How does a musician come up with this stuff? It's a mystery.
You can experience some of that mystery this Sunday at 2:30 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wellsboro. You can listen or you can sing along on the choruses. You can let the rich voices of MU students sing the solos. You can open yourself up to the joy and strength of community. Bring your infants and toddlers and let them be baptized in this glorious work. “Comfort ye...”
THE ADVENTURES OF AN USHER
THE ADVENTURES OF AN USHER by Barbara Biddison
I signed up to volunteer my time in the Deane Center Coolidge Theatre
where Hamilton-Gibson's A CHRISTMAS CAROL was playing. There were three performances on that "Dickens of a Christmas" day, and my noon to 2:00 slot included the 1:30 show. "So, what's so adventurous about that?" you may ask. I say it all depends on how a person views
I started out maybe 45 minutes before the show began, and it was then that the people began lining up. What to do with a couple dozen folks, ages ranging from infant to those as old as I am, as they waited, and waited, for the theatre door to open. I decided to give them programs "to read a bit in good light," as they stood patiently.
As soon as they were allowed in, a few decided they needed to know, "Do I have time to go to the bathroom?" They did, so out they went and back in again, as more joined the line..
Then as the line grew longer and fatter, it began to rain HARD. And there is a door to the outside where the line had formed. So the decision was made,to quickly bring the "costume judging" event inside. And, of course, they needed to bring all their dripping wet equipment and a few costumed people in that very door. We did a little "hallway dance of sorts" and managed all that in good spirits.
Finally we opened the door to the theatre to all who stood in line, and we had plenty of time to spare. Except that there were some who had tickets who had not shown up yet. The preshow singin' dancin' group of young people, under Thomas Putnam's direction, filled some more time before the announced !:30 beginning of the actual "Christmas Carol." With moments to spare a lovely woman with an adorable infant in arms came out and asked if she had time to "change the baby." She did as the baby continued to smile. And back she went to her seat. This is a "family show" after all.
When I left the Coolidge I walked down to the Methodist Church where Wellsboro Women's Chorus was scheduled to sing at 2:30.On the way I saw Putnam with his crowd of kids joyfully moving up Main Street!
singing and adding to the spirit of the day. After all these years the Dickens spirit shines through, snow in other years and rain and threats of rain up to this year. But I've seen smiling faces on people who live here and those who visit....since the Dickens event began. Thanks to all groups and individuals who put it all together, and to HG's Tara Gordon who is newly serving as volunteer chair for Hamilton Gibson's events.