It all began in 1979 with Chancel Drama, put on by members of the Church of the Covenant and directed by Bert McNary, retired drama coach from Averill Park High School. This led to an invitation from the Good Cheer Class (the then Seniors group) to perform at their Thanksgiving party. Bert came up with a one-act play, Take It Easy, Priscilla, with the following cast: JoAnn Smith (now Lionarons), Audrey Trupia, Joe Trupia, Shirley Clouser, Don Edmans, Carolyn Smith (now Chenot), Edwina Randall, Allan Randall, David Booth, Carol Rifenburg (now Miller) and Brad Waldorf.
We had a lot of fun with that play and started thinking bigger – a three-act play for the public as a fundraiser. Bert agreed to direct it and came up with The Night of January 16, presented in March of 1981. We named our group Circle Theatre Players because of the round building. Try-outs were held and the cast was as follows: Tom Coffey (Bert’s nephew), David Booth, Allan Randall, Joe Trupia, Nancy Davis, Audrey Trupia, Ann Waldorf, Edwina Randall, Tom Theilmann, JoAnn Smith, Shirley Clouser, Don Edmans, Fred Erickson, and Carolyn Smith. All except Tom Coffey were members of the church. The play was a success and we were off and running.
The next play was The Hollow, and we were in rehearsal at the time Bert died in October. Our pastor, Jim Clouser, knew that Joan Fuess had been involved in plays previously and asked her to fill in so the play could go on as planned in November of 1981. After the performance we formally asked Joan to be our new director – a position she still holds.
Eventually, in order to get grant money, our group had to become a community theater and not be sponsored by a church.
Our early group did everything itself – built sets, costumes, props, programs, publicity, refreshments, lights, etc. We did some pretty fantastic things with a small stage, enlarging it in every way possible. We had a lot of fun – still do.
And now we have our own space – an old church, a former town hall – now Sand Lake Center for the Arts!
35 Years of CTP Season Productions:
2016 – 3rd Original One Act Play Festival, Miracle on South Division St.
2015 – Sylvia, Peter Pan, Driving Miss Daisy, Proof, Last of the Red Hot Lovers
2014 – Almost, Maine, Fiddler on the Roof, Great Expectations, The Mousetrap
2013 – The Secret Garden, Of Mice and Men, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, An Evening of One Act Plays, Don’t Dress for Dinner
2012 – Enchanted April, Moon Over Buffalo, Deathtrap
2011 – Inherit the Wind, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Hart’s Tavern, ‘Twas the Land of the Night Before
2010 – The Nerd, Arms and the Man, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Visiting Mr. Green
2009 – Go Back for Murder, A Night at the Abbey, Smoke on the Mountain, On Golden Pond
2008 – The Sunshine Boys, The Foreigner, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Good Doctor
2007 – Steel Magnolias, Mad Woman of Chaillot, The Assassin’s New Friend
2006 – A Bench in the Sun, Murder on the Nile, To Kill a Mockingbird, And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank,
2005 – Grace & Glorie, Brighton Beach Memoirs, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Harvey
2004 – All’s Well That Ends Well, A Fine and Private Place, Luv, City Girls
2003 – Our Town, Life With Father, Over the River and Through the Woods
2002 – The Drunkard, Opal’s Million Dollar Duck, Twelve Angry Men
2001 – All I Really Needed to Know – I Learned in Kindergarten, The Fantastiks, Lost In Yonkers
2000 – Opal’s Husband, I Remember Mama, The Real Inspector Hound/15 Minute Hamlet
1999 – Woman at Dead Oaks, Light Up the Sky
1998 – Belles, Becoming Memories
1997 – Hay Fever, Design for Murder
1996 – Comedy of Errors/Twelfth Night, Whales of August
1995 – Squabbles, Breaking Legs
1994 – Waiting for the Parade, Voice of the Prairie
1993 – The Odd Couple, Ten Little Indians
1992 – The Rainmaker, Summer Dark
1991 – Towards Zero, Foxfire
1990 – Eat Your Heart Out, The Uninvited
1989 – Molière, The Dining Room
1988 – Salute to Spring, The Butler Did It
1987 – Murder in the Magnolias, Close Ties
1986 – A Murder is Announced, One Foot in Heaven
1985 – Torch Bearers, Tung and Cheek
1984 – Luxury Cruise, The Jury Room
1983 – The Potting Shed, Mornings at Seven
1982 – Silver Whistle, Missing Link
1981 – Night of January 16, The Hollow