Bucks County Herald

State Street Players perform greatest hits in 40th anniversary show

CONNIE WRZESNIEWSKI



Joe Perignat and Tom McFarland as “The Honeymooners.”

State Street Players presents its 40th anniversary show, a retrospective titled “Been There Done That 39 Times,” on March 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24, reflecting on its first 39 years, which began in the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School cafeteria in 1979 before moving on to the large auditorium in 1986.

Starting out on a shoestring, State Street Players, today, have light and sound infrastructure that rivals many full-time community theater productions.

The young upstart group over the past 39 years has proven its moxie to the public with more than 100 Doylestown area residents who write, produce and perform in the annual show, building their own sets and constructing the stage itself in the OLMC Auditorium at 225 E. Ashland St., Doylestown. They attract an audience total of approximately 2,000.

The talented group spends six months in production, from initial writing in October through show time in March with volunteers Missy DeFlavees, Jen Ahr, Pat Hackett, Carol Dettman, Ashley Crossland, Beth Crone, Tina Margot, Gerry McGarrity, and Liz and Jamie Wilson sewing costumes.

Many longstanding members such as Gloria Walker and Herb Sudfeld have been with the show for all 39 prior productions and credit the group’s longevity to the creativity and enthusiasm of faithful members from a variety of backgrounds.

There are numerous second- and third-generation members, such as longtime member Debbie Biehl, director, recruited for stage crew at age 15 by her mother, Florida resident, Linda McHenry. Old friends no longer with the production will be featured in a slide show – The Rev. John Davids, Mert Corr and John Frekot, along with founders Bob Bauer, Gloria Walker and John Grogan.

“Maureen Staudenmeier from the original group is returning for an appearance with her son Joe, wife Stacey and daughter Sarah,” said Biehl. “Mary Lee Corr, longtime member and director of 10 shows is returning to reminisce with her daughter, state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, about memories of show prep in their home.”

This year’s show is a “greatest hits” of favorite skits over the past 40 years, featuring great moments from Broadway, films and TV. “The Honeymooners” are back with Joe Perignat, a local contractor, who plays Ralph Kramden opposite Tom McFarland, a real estate agent, portraying Ed Norton.

A new twist on “Star Trek” is featured ... what happens when the ship’s crew flies through an odd nebula. Musical sets include songs from Carol King’s “Beautiful,” a Motown montage, “Sing” by Pentatonix, “Give Em the Ol’ Razzle Dazzle” from “Chicago,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” as the big finale.

“State Street Players is the longest-running OLMC benefit,” said Eric Nitschke, marketing manager/actor. “Each year we give scholarships to local high school theater majors. Father John Davids is in our ‘green room prayer’ before each show.” Davids, a major player in the group, has since died.

Local businesses in Doylestown and surrounding areas support the production through advertising in the show’s program, and donations of goods and services for raffle baskets. A major part of the profit goes to the school with the remainder being recirculated within the production.

Tickets are still available for Friday nights March 9, 16 and 23 – online at statestreetplayers.org they are $21, at the door, they are $25. Show time is 8 p.m.

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