East Lynne Theater Company Reveals Winter Offerings

Just because East Lynne Theater Company isn't currently producing shows weekly, doesn't mean the company is idle. During the winter, there are touring shows on the road, and in Cape May, the company offers Murder Mystery Weekends, lectures and workshops, and events in March sponsored by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance's (NJTA) "Stages Festival."

The Murder Mystery Weekends are on February 20 and 21; March 6 and 7; and March 13 and 14 at The Henry Sawyer Inn. Reservations are made through the Inn by phone, 609-884-5667, or online at henrysawyerinn@verizon.net. Accommodations are also available at Twin Gables across the street: phone 609-884-7332 or online at twingables@verizon.net. Contact The Henry Sawyer Inn if you would like to participate, but do not require housing.

For those who wish to learn more about ELTC and American theater history, there are two opportunities in Cape May. On Wednesday, February 18 at 5:00 p.m., Lee O'Connor, ELTC's technical director, will speak at The Kiwanis Club, and on Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m., artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth is at the Lutheran Church.

For the younger set, Stahlhuth is conducting a theater workshop for a Girl Scout Troupe in Lower Township, NJ on Tuesday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m.

In March, once more, ELTC will be part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliances' "Stages Festival," the state's largest annual theater 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. 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. ELTC is a proud member of NJTA and ELTC's artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, is a member of the board. For more information about this innovative company, visit www.njtheatrealliance.org.

As usual, ELTC provides performances and workshops both in and out of Cape May County for "The Stages Festival." The following are admission-free, except where noted, and more information may found at www.eastlynnetheater.org, by e-mailing eastlynneco@aol.com, or by calling ELTC at 609-884-5898.

ELTC's first "Stages Festival" event is "Holmes and Carter Mysteries," serving up two detective stories, with the same cast-of-six going from Sherlock Holmes' Victorian England to Nick Carter's Manhattan during World War II. Presented in the style of a radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects, the mysteries are "Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Copper Beeches" and "Nick Carter and the Strange Dr. Devolo." On Sunday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m., the performance is at the Mahwah Public Library, and is admission-free. On Friday and Saturday, March 20-21 at 8:00 p.m., the production returns to Cape May and ELTC's venue, The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for full-time students, and anyone age 12 and under, as always with ELTC, is free.

Next up, also at The First Presbyterian Church, on Sunday, March 22 at 8:00 p.m., is a staged reading of Tom Taylor's "Our American Cousin." Presented as a staged reading, a cast of 12 take on 16 roles in this British farce about Asa Trenchard, an American who comes to England to claim the family estate. It premiered in 1858 at Laura Keene's Theatre in NYC, with Keene portraying the daughter of Sir Edward who heads up the Trenchard family in England. It was her production of "Our American Cousin" that was at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C, on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. As President and Mrs. Lincoln watched the show from the President's box, John Wilkes Booth fired the fatal shot. This event was selected to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the assassination. Free admission.

Thirty-five years ago, Warren Kliewer founded ELTC after discovering that there were no professional theaters in this country dedicated to the performance, study and preservation of America's 200-year-old theatrical heritage. Gayle Stahlhuth was selected by ELTC's board to helm the company in 1999 after Kliewer passed away, and with her background in theater, literature, and history, the mission of ELTC is a natural fit for her. This country has a rich theatrical history, and Stahlhuth is ready to serve some of it up in her usual conversational and entertaining manner on Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church. Titled "Theater: As American as Apple Pie," admission is free.

On Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m., "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," adapted and directed by Stahlhuth, will be performed by students at West Cape May Elementary School, 301 Moore Street.Based on the Mark Twain classic, the story revolves around Hank, from Hartford, Connecticut in 1889, who finds himself mysteriously in the land of King Arthur. This marks ELTC's eleventh residency at West Cape May Elementary School, and admission is free.

NJTA's "Stages Festival" is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional program sponsors are Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, PSE&G Foundation, and The Smart Family Foundation. Additional program support has been provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Prudential Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation, and The George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust Foundation.


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