BEHIND THE GREASEPAINT

Welcome to the all new Tidewater Players website!  We have redesigned this entire experience with our new partners at Focus 4 Digital Marketing to bring you a site that is not only more up to date and attractive but much easier to navigate and infinitely more informative than our former one.

What can you expect from the new www.tidewaterplayers.com? All the old features such as current shows, audition notices, and the convenient seat yourself ticket purchases will still be available, but with the addition of more news, more information, more history, an archive of pictures of our many beloved productions over the years, the ability to donate to Tidewater as easily as purchasing a ticket, and this feature, Behind the Greasepaint, a new informative blog to keep in communication about everything Tidewater, and beyond.  I’ve been closely involved with Tidewater Players for the last thirteen years and welcome the opportunity given me by the board to share the experience and information I have accumulated over my career with our audience.  It is my hope to keep every one of our loyal patrons up to date and intimately connected to Tidewater Players.  I never want to hear of another loyal fan who missed out on a show because they didn’t hear about it in time.

But the new website is not the only change that is going on at Tidewater.  As most know by now, we have been displaced from our decades long home at the Opera House for extensive renovations of the facility by the city of Havre de Grace.  The new remodeled Opera House promises to have many contemporary features including brand new stadium seating, the addition of a second black box theatre on the ground floor, a reception space, and most importantly, a brand new entrance featuring a legitimate box office and full handicap access including elevators.  We have been promised that these will be completed in a one- to two-year window, but in the meantime we are indefinitely “homeless” and in extreme and constant transition as we await the results.  But during this process, we are evolving and growing in many positive ways.

What this has involved is first of all securing storage space for 28 years worth of set pieces, costumes, and props.  More importantly, it has necessitated that we find performance spaces to stay active and bring you the quality theatre that our audiences have come to expect, while trying to stay close to our home base and loyal patrons.

In October, we debuted our first show of our transient 2015-16 season, The Marvelous Wonderettes, in our first new temporary home, where we were generously hosted at the new Towson University Northeast Building at Harford Community College. Utilizing the area designed to be their future cafeteria, we presented a wonderfully received immersive musical that paid loving tribute to all the girl groups of the 50s and emerging women of rock and roll of the 60s.  Set at the senior prom of the Springfield High School senior class of 1958 and their ten year reunion a decade later, a quartet of talented, loveable young ladies (portrayed by veteran Tidewater actresses Emily Elborn, Natalie Knox, Stephanie Mahoney, and Sarah Bouton Sickles) unfolded their story of friendship, love, and loyalty as we watched them grow from prom princesses to strong young women facing life changes head on through the music of Connie Francis, Lesley Gore, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, and many others. Not limited by traditional seating, director Dickie Mahoney seized the opportunity to try a Tidewater first, envisioning a unique approach with our audience as attendees of the prom and reunion.  Instead of the usual assigned rows of seats, guests were seated at tables with balloons, decorations, desserts, prom programs, and party favors, as well as a few treats for some special audience members who became part of the show as characters from the various songs performed by the Wonderettes.  The Marvelous Wonderettes, fleshed out in incredible detail by director Mahoney with flawless period costumes designed by Mahoney and Tracy Bird, was incredibly well received by audience members in usually full houses.  Because of the limitations of our previous website and the constraints placed on the production team of moving, storing, and attempting to produce our first show in an unknown space, publicity was sparse and if you didn’t check in here, chances are you missed it.  But the good news is that reception of the show was so overwhelming, there is a very strong possibility that it will be revived at other venues in and beyond Harford County that inquired about booking it. As of now, Cockpit in Court at the Community College of Baltimore County, Essex, has been the first to host the show as their spring fundraiser on February 13, 2016 (tickets available through their website here), but check back here frequently for word on future performances of this show as well as upcoming shows in our season as we negotiate performance spaces.

In the meantime, thank you for spending the time to check out my first blog on our new website.  This is the first of many that will serve a variety of purposes.  Primarily, I will be using this venue to keep our subscribers and fans abreast of all upcoming productions and events as well as all the new and exciting developments for Tidewater Players.  In between, there will be other articles on theatre and music related subjects, perhaps critiques of Broadway and touring productions, and columns devoted to answering questions you may have about anything related to Tidewater Players or anything musical theatre.  If there are any questions you may have or topics you would like to see covered here, please feel free to email me at mark @ tidewaterplayers.com.  So please, take some time, explore our new website and all it has to offer, and give us feedback on your experience.  And if you’re in need, yourself, consider utilizing our partner Focus 4 Digital Marketing for website and digital marketing help.  I look forward to our next time together.