'A CONNECTICUT YANKEE' Comes to West Cape May Elementary School Today

"Why, back where I come from I'm known as the Supreme High-yu-Mucka-muck. While you all have been jabbering away, I've been arranging for a little calamity here that will make the fur fly!" declares Hank to the villagers of Camelot in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

Hank, from Hartford, Connecticut in 1889, finds himself mysteriously in the land of King Arthur. How Hank survives in the world of the Round Table, Merlin the Magician, and the evil Morgan le Fay, is all part of the fun in Mark Twain's famous time-traveling adventure.

Today, March 31 at 7:00p.m., this Mark Twain classic adapted by East Lynne Theater Company's artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, will be performed by students at West Cape May Elementary School, 301 Moore Street, under Stahlhuth's direction.

This in-school theater residency began on Monday, March 19, with a few acting exercises, reading the script, and everyone writing down what three parts they would like to play. The next day, based on the above information, Stahlhuth assigned roles and rehearsals began. There are meetings with parents and members of the PTA to discuss props and costumes, and with the support of the 5th and 6th grade teacher, Ms. Calabro, students are encouraged to memorize lines and think about their own props and costume needs. There are only seven eighty-minute rehearsals before the show goes up, with lines learned, blocking complete, props in place and costumes done.

This is the eighth year in a row that East Lynne Theater Company has been able to provide this theater residency due to funding from New Jersey Theatre Alliances' (NJTA) "Stages Festival." NJTA is the statewide consortium of professional theaters in the Garden State, of which ELTC is a proud member, and its "Stages Festival" is the state's largest annual theatre festival, offering over 100 performances, workshops, classes, and events at the states professional theaters, performing arts centers, libraries, schools, senior centers, museums and other community venues. The program was developed to encourage New Jersey's residents to attend their local professional theaters by making the experience affordable, accessible, and fun. Since its inception 18 years ago, the program has served over 90,000 people. To receive a full schedule of events, visit www.stagesfestival.org.

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theater companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation and audience development. The Alliance provides member theaters and arts patrons a wide range of supportive services and programs. To learn more about the Alliance, go to www.njtheatrealliance.org.

Admission to "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" is free and open to the public, but donations of paper products and canned food items, as long as they have current and future expiration dates, will be gratefully accepted for The Food Closet. Reservations are appreciated, and may be made by calling 609-884-5898, or e-mailing eastlynneco@aol.com. To learn more about this and other ELTC events, go to www.eastlynnetheater.org.


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