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Tri-State Theater
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Letter to the Editor - Say What?

So this was a letter to the editor in yesterday's paper:
Area needs more theater performances

My friend Katrina and I saw the touring production of Cats that was part of the Marshall Artists Series. I thought it was fantastic! My friend and I loved it.

It reminded me of when my brother Lynn P. Howard performed in a theater production called Laugh In, Laugh Out in 1969 with co-host actor Mark Withers while both were trying to pursue an acting career and attending the drama school Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, Calif., in the 1960s.

We need more Broadway-style theater like when the Musical Arts Guild put on some of the greatest productions. There also used to be a theater group called Community Players.

I really wish someone or a group of people would work out with the Musical Arts Guild to put on yearly spring Broadway-style musicals again and someone or a group of people would try to revive the Community Players.

Huntington needs two kinds of theater groups again. It helps build acting skills for all ages if anyone wants to try to pursue a theater or movie/TV career locally and then maybe in California or New York.

Thanks again for bringing great theater to Huntington.

Teresa K. Howard
Here's my response to that letter:


Teresa, I appreciate your sentiments - but you're kidding, right?

Huntington is loaded with theatre groups and talent (which is not to say that there isn't room for more groups or more volunteers with each group).

In this city alone we have the Marshall University Department of Theatre, First Stage Theatre Company, the 5th Avenue Theatre Company, ARTS and Huntington Outdoor Theatre (among others). In other words, we have groups presenting plays and musicals of all shapes and sizes, and for all ages!

Those groups produce everything from Broadway blockbusters (Into the Woods, Man of La Mancha, Peter Pan, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and even Cats) to smaller shows (Charlotte's Web, I Love You... You're Perfect... Now Change, A Christmas Carol).

And there are lots of great shows on the horizon - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Camelot, Once Upon a Mattress, Annie and White Christmas, for example.

We're also lucky to have the Marshall Artists series bringing in professional touring shows of Broadway hits, such as Avenue Q and Cats!

Of course, most community theatre groups have little money for advertising, so you have to be on the lookout to know when the shows are being staged. The Herald-Dispatch does a great job covering those shows, and then there's (ahem) the Tri-State Theatre blog, which you can link to from the H-D's home page on the Internet. The blog covers all the newest shows along with assorted theatre news and stuff like that (end of free plug).

And believe me, with the economy struggling, community theatre needs your support - so get out there and see the shows being presented. I'm sure you'll find they live up to the legacy of the first theatre groups in the area.

I share your enthusiasm for local theatre and I agree that it's a terrific tool for learning and growing. Taking part in a play teaches many things - confidence, improved speaking skills, teamwork - and it's a lot of fun, too.

So thanks for being an advocate for community theatre, and spread the word - there's a lot of great work being done in this community right now, and for it to continue, those shows need your support!

Your pal,

Chuck Minsker
Tri-State Theatre blog