BroadwayWorld is thrilled to introduce you to a new performing group out of York, PA. The Trick 'R Treaters specialize in shows that fall into the genres of fantasy, sci fi, horror, and gothic. Their inaugural performance was Friday, November 16th at the Wyndham Garden, York. I had a chance to talk with Jessica Crowe, who is the founder, one of the directors for the evening, and the owner of Alba Rosa Cat Parlour, which sponsors the Trick 'R Treaters. Continue reading to learn more about this brand-New Group promoting the arts in York County and to get a sneak peek into their world.

BWW: Tell us a little about yourself.

Crowe: I have been a freelance performance artist for a little over 10 years. I started in 2007 as a professional mermaid. I am also a belly dance fusion artist. After we moved to York, I decided to try out for a play at a community theatre. The Secret Garden was my first show in York, and I had the opportunity to play Mrs. Loomis. It really sparked my love for live theatre even more. I've been producing dance shows, and I decided to take my knowledge and see if I could bring that into the more theatrical side of live performance and see how it goes.

BWW Impressions: Crowe and her small but mighty team did a great job producing Bite Size: An Evening of Miniature Theatre. The unique venue was challenging, but they handled the challenge well. As a New Group with limited resources, they were able to manage their resources well to create a fun experience for the audience. I look forward to seeing how Crowe's creativity and production experience continues to grow and develop with this group.

BWW: Tell us about the Trick 'R Treaters. How and when did the group get started? If others are interested in becoming part of the group, how would they do that?

Crowe: The Trick 'R Treaters are, I believe, York's first professional performance troupe. I've done a lot of volunteer work in community theatre, and I love my experiences there. But since community theatre is volunteer driven, most of the time artists are not paid for what they do. I wanted to start something where the artists would be more overtly recognized for their work and see some compensation for their hours of hard work and passion.

The theme came out of my interest in horror and anthology style television shows and movies. The film Trick or Treat is one of my favorite movies, so I thought that would be a fun name for the group.

Right now we are mainly operating through word of mouth. If folks are interested in becoming involved or learning more about the group, they can find my contact information at As interest grows, we will be building a fan page where everyone can find information about our upcoming projects and ways to be involved. It's definitely a work in progress at this point, but it's exciting to see it growing.

BWW Impressions: The Trick 'R Treaters currently consists of a small group of theatre-lovers who have a variety of skills. There are directors, dancers, actors, sound designers, etc. The skill levels and ages of the individuals involved are quite diverse. As news of the group continues to spread and they find their niche in the community, they will be able to build on and add to this well-rounded group of performers and production specialists.

BWW: The first performance consists of six 10-minute plays. In your opinion, which play is the most interesting? Scary? Unique?

Crowe: Most interesting: I hate to be biased but I have to go with the one that inspired the show. It's called After. It is about a journalist named Cindy. She is at Disney for a backstage tour, and she wanders off the beaten path. She comes across something she isn't supposed to see. Her tour guide Glynda, an out of work fairy working part-time at Disney goes to find her. In the midst of bringing Cindy back to where she's supposed to be, Glinda teaches her an important lesson about what happily ever after really means.

Most Scary: I think if I had to pick one, it would be The Monster Under my Bed. That is an original piece. We have two young directors, and we wanted to give them room to blossom. One of these young directors wrote an original play. It talks about interesting themes related to abusive household relationships and how they can impact children. Sometimes the monster isn't always what we think it is. Seeing the way Makaela shows us that in her script is scary.

Most Unique: A Bully There Be. This is a play that our other young director is working on with her mom. There is a court jester who is being bullied by the prince of the castle. The story shows the audience how the prince is taught a lesson about how being royalty doesn't mean you can treat people badly. It's a really interesting and unique way to present the topic of bullying and to show that it isn't okay in any circumstance.

BWW Impressions: The first two performances of the evening, likely because they were the first performances of the evening, were not as engaging as I would have hoped. While the storyline of the first play, After, was very interesting and Crowe was fantastic as Glynda the out of work fairy, it was difficult to hear Shaina Lucas (playing Cindy), so it was hard to follow the storyline and to be able to really picture what Cindy was seeing and experiencing. Crowe's performance as Glynda really carried the piece, and, as the play progressed, the high energy level Crowe and Lucas displayed was infectious.

The second performance, A Bully There Be was definitely the most unique-it was unique in how it was written, being written all in rhyme, as well as in the storyline. Unfortunately, the cast seemed overly concerned with getting the lines just right and not tripping over the rhyme. Once she settled into the rhythm, Anika Budlow did a nice job with the part of the serving wench, though it would have been nice to see more emotion-especially when she was scolding the Prince, played by Claire Beamesderfer. Sharon Budlow was adorable and memorable as the Jester. It was a difficult piece to perform, and I look forward to seeing the group grow and develop so that they can better handle a piece like this.

With The Purg, the performances really started to capture the audience's attention. The Purg was well directed and well-acted. Dave Unger, Andrew Texter, and Dan Gilbert made this 10 minute play feel like a complete story. They did an amazing job at drawing the audience into the story through their use of movement, emotion, and facial expressions. At the end of the play, the audience still wasn't sure if the actors were in purgatory or in an office-and really, maybe they're the same thing!

The second half of the show-The Monster Under My Bed, The Good, and The Serpent's Tale-continued the momentum with solid performances all around. The Monster Under My Bed, an original piece by director Makaela Cooper, starred Andrea Unger, Dan Gilbert, Megan Gilbert, and Kenna Harper. Dan Gilbert was appropriately scary as the abusive husband/father while Andrea Unger evoked a sense of sorrow as she portrayed the wife who still loves him. Kenna Harper and Megan Gilbert are the real stars of this play as the daughter Piper and the Monster. Megan Gilbert was perfect as the monster under the bed who is really not that scary. The playfulness she has with Kenna Harper's Piper was fun to watch and provided a stark contrast between their relationship and the relationship between Piper and her father.

The Good is an original piece written and directed by Catie Dinneen. This was one of the most interesting plays of the evening when it comes to the storyline. The question of what makes someone good and what makes them evil and of what makes someone sane or insane is explored in this fascinating tale. Erica Scott did a nice job as Margie, and she set up the story well. Chloe Lanteigne-Marrow and Scot Dinneen excelled in their roles as Dr. Quinn Conrad and Sebastian Michael "Favian". Lanteigne-Marrow performed the professional doctor quite well, and, when confronted with the murderous intent behind Favian's suave exterior, her fear was palpable. Dinneen was captivating as Favian-conflicted about what it means to be good or evil, enticed by the thrill of killing, and struggling with the decision to kill the doctor-the audience experienced all of these emotions along with Dinneen. Excellent play overall!

Finally, The Serpent's Tale was one of the most mesmerizing monologues I've witnessed. Actress Kelly Warren was the serpent. Her performance was flawless. From her slithery movements to her intense facial expressions to her control over her voice, Warren embodied the serpent. It was an emotional performance that I could watch again.

BWW: For audiences who are accustomed to a more traditional style of show, what will they experience at Bite Size: an Evening of Miniature Theatre?

Crowe: As I mentioned before, I am very inspired by anthology style entertainment-Tales from the Crypt, Goosebumps, Twilight Zone. So, I wanted it to be reminiscent of those types of things. The ballroom at the Wyndham Garden will have a haunted theme and our crew will be dressed as spirits who will help with set changes between the pieces. Even though each piece is unique and different, the entire evening will be cohesive and serve to tie all of the pieces together. Hopefully people will find it interesting and will be able to engage with each play as they experience it.

One of the cool things that I'm really excited about with this show is that I've studied a lot of how Disney does their experiences and why they're so well loved. One of the things they do is work to trigger all of your senses. So we're trying to do something similar for this first performance-we're even going to the point where we'll be burning candles that evoke the feeling of a haunted house/castle.

BWW Impressions: Crowe and her team really did a wonderful job of creating an experience for the audience. The chairs were covered with slip covers that made them look like tombstones. The Crystal Ballroom at the Wyndham Garden, while it presented them with some challenges in terms of sightlines and lighting, was the perfect atmosphere for a spooky evening with its chandelier and stained-glass ceiling. The room was decorated with cobwebs and candles that really did evoke the sense of a haunted mansion. The music that greeted the audience and filled in the spaces between the plays contributed to the feeling of eeriness and the unknown. Their goal was to try something new and give the audience an experience-I would say they accomplished their goal with this first production.

BWW: What are your plans for upcoming shows/events?

Crowe: Long term, we're looking to continue to do these types of shows as well as full performance pieces. We are a niche troupe that specializes in fantasy, sci fi, gothic, and horror, so you'll see a lot of different things from us. The next piece we're planning to tackle is a version of the elves and the shoemaker, darkened up a little. I am a fan of Tim Burton, so it'll have some of that flavor to it. We're looking for some unique options for doing small intimate performances at Alba Rosa Cat Parlor as well. We'll probably do several weeks of performances where we'll offer 3-4 days a week of interactive storytelling experiences.

BWW Impressions: I will definitely be keeping an eye on what this group does in the future, and I look forward to seeing where their creativity and passion takes them!

For more information and upcoming show dates, contact Jessica Crowe by visiting:

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From This Author Andrea Stephenson

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