Open Stage of Harrisburg Founders Donald and Anne Alsedek Are Retiring
Open Stage of Harrisburg announced today that theatre mainstays Anne and Don Alsedek will retire June 30, 2017, at the conclusion of the theatre's 31st season.
Anne, current Educational Director, and Don, current Producing Artistic Director, have been the driving force behind Open Stage of Harrisburg since founding the theatre in 1983. Stuart Landon, current Associate Artistic Director, has been named as the new Producing Artistic Director. David M. Glasgow has been named the new Director of Music and Education.
The Alsedeks, along with Marianne Fischer, founded Open Stage in response to the 1982 Mayor's Task Force for the Arts for Harrisburg Report, which cited a need for theatre of a higher quality in the area. The Open Stage Studio/School opened in 1985, and the theatre's first full season opened in 1986. The first location for Open Stage was called the "Alley Theatre", located in the back of an office on Jonestown Road. The theatre has been in its current location at the Walnut Street Parking Garage, in downtown Harrisburg, since 1992.
Under the Alsedeks' leadership, Open Stage has become a cultural landmark in Harrisburg, offering thought-provoking and innovative theatre.
"I think we created a space that reaches out to the community," says Anne. "We connect the piece on stage to the lives of the people who view it."
The Alsedeks and Open Stage were also instrumental in the formation of the Capital Area School for the Arts. The school was founded in 2001 through a partnership between Open Stage and the Capital Area Intermediate Unit. The school is now a full-day intensive academic arts charter school.
Anne has been responsible for the educational offerings of Open Stage, spearheading the Studio/School and teaching classes to both children and adults. She has also starred in many of Open Stage's productions, and can be seen in the theatre's next show, Uncanny Valley. Don has been responsible for the business side of the theatre, as well as directing many of each season's mainstage shows. Don was also the force behind the development of an African-American theatre company called Sankofa, which will serve as an off-shoot of Open Stage.
Mr. Alsedek says he is proud of his work at Open Stage. "I've enjoyed doing it, and I still enjoy doing it, and I think that's the time to leave," says Don. "There are new things on the horizon. There always are."
After stepping down from her current position, Anne will continue to support the theatre's Studio/School by teaching adult acting classes. Don is taking a year off from the theatre, but may be back to direct in the future.
"More than 30 years is a long time to have started a theater from scratch. To be able to pass it on in fine working order to a new generation is a real achievement," says Nick Hughes, board member emeritus. "Don and Anne have made a difference in the lives of the people who live in and around the city."
DONALD L. ALSEDEK (Producing Artistic Director) founded Open Stage of Harrisburg in 1984, and is its Executive Artistic Director. A theatre professional and educator with over 50 years of theatre and educational experience, Alsedek studied theatre arts at Emerson College in Boston, and acting in NYC with the legendary Stella Adler. He also studied with Jasper Deeter, founder of the Hedgerow Theatre. He received his teaching certification from Penn State University. As an actor Alsedek appeared regionally with major companies including the Charles Playhouse, the American Shakespeare Festival, Theatre Impact (the prototype for Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), and Gateway Theatre. He has directed throughout central PA, at Gretna Theatre, Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg, York Little Theatre, and Harrisburg Community Theatre, now Theatre Harrisburg, where he served as Interim Artistic Director. His acting credits include roles in MEMORY OF TWO MONDAYS, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, Anouilh's ANTIGONE, CYRANO DE BERGERAC, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, THE HOSTAGE, and GALILEO. Alsedek's directing credits over the past 36 years include ANGELS IN AMERICA, ASSASSINS, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, BURN THIS, THE THREEPENNY OPERA, YELLOWMAN, THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA?, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, FROZEN, COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, THE FANTASTICKS, I AM MY OWN WIFE, BETRAYAL, CROWNS, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, RABBIT HOLE, CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS, [title of show], THE PIANO LESSON, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, A LIE OF THE MIND and MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM. Alsedek has served on the board of the Theatre Association of PA, on the theatre panel of the PA Council on the Arts, and was recipient of the 1997 Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts.
ANNE ALSEDEK (Education Director) founded Open Stage of Harrisburg Studio/School in 1985 and its Education Department in 1999. She has been responsible for developing and managing the theatre's educational programming and activities, including the school, post-performance interactives, study guides, school day matinees, school tours and residencies, and its children's theatre company, OSHKids. Anne has an extensive acting background with Open Stage of Harrisburg, and appeared in its first production, A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, in 1983. Other OPEN STAGE OF HARRISBURG credits include: DRIVING MISS DAISY (Daisy), A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (Sook), A LIE OF THE MIND (Lorraine), AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Violet), DOUBT (Sister Aloysius), RABBIT HOLE (Nat), WELL (Ann Kron), COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA (Lola), THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES (various roles), THE THREEPENNY OPERA (Mrs. Peachum), THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN (Eileen), TRUE WEST (Mom),THE DIARY OF Anne Frank (Mrs. Van Daan), ASSASSINS (Sara Jane Moore). Other Open Stage appearances include roles in DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, ANGELS IN AMERICA, and THE CHERRY ORCHARD.
Photo Credit: Haley Harned