Bucks County Herald

Theater veteran Howard Perloff starts on a new path

Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts to debut


Howard Perloff consults with his choreographer, Maria Logan during a rehearsal for “The Irish And How They Got That Way.”

There are artists and artisans, producers and playwrights, directors and actors, dancers and choreographers and costumers, set and sound and lighting designers, novelists and poets, musicians and composers – all spurred on by their passion for the visual and performing arts.

First, there was Bucks County Playhouse in 1939, and then Bristol Riverside Theatre 30 years ago, followed by the revived, rebuilt Playhouse five years ago, and now, a new, Equity (professional) nonprofit theater company has come to town: The Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts.

The new company will present three musicals in Doylestown at Delaware Valley University, the first of which is “The Irish and How They Got That Way,” written by Frank McCourt. It opens on May 24.

If anyone knows how to do start a new theater, it is Howard Perloff of Carversville, a man passionate about theater, who has been creating and producing shows for years, including the acclaimed “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding,” which played on the West Coast and in Philadelphia for 24 years. In fact, four of the cast members of “The Irish…” are reprising their roles from the Kimmel Center when Perloff produced it there 10 years ago.

A Juilliard School of Music graduate, Perloff is the force behind the performing arts center as he brings his vast experience to this endeavor. Among other theater activities, he co-produced “Legs Diamond” on Broadway starring Peter Allen, and was associate producer on Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” on Broadway.

Many years ago, he produced a summer of theater at the Deer Park campground in New Hope.
Perloff dreams big. Perloff knows how to promote and is skilled in raising money from supportive backers.

While enticing investors, he has gone out on a limb and is renting the performing center of the Delaware Valley University for three shows this summer, paying a substantial weekly fee. In addition, for his Equity company, he must provide housing and rehearsal space. He is obligated to pay the performers according to his contract with Equity.

Last week, I watched about 10 minutes of rehearsal in the comfortable converted barn next to the farmhouse he rented for the performers near his home in Carversville, and I found myself smiling and tapping my toes to the engaging music of the young adults. (Note: The Irish tenor, in particular, is a stand-out.) All signs indicate the show will be terrific.

The rousing patriotic musical, “Give My Regards to Broadway” is the second show of the BCCPA.

Appropriately, it opens June 28 and runs over the July 4th holiday for two weekends through July 9.

The perennial favorite, “My Fair Lady” closes out the season, running Aug. 3 through 13. Because of the size of the cast, half of the actors will be cast from the local talent pool.

One of the performers in all three shows is Meredith Beck, a Central Bucks graduate with a musical theater degree from Ithaca College.

Perloff is an amiable man who physically resembles Jay Leno. Often, he gets lost in his own stories as he talks passionately about his shows and his contacts.

“Life is going by too fast,” he stated. “There’s never enough time to do everything, and I am doing most of everything for this.” Perloff expects to be present for each performance to welcome audience members at the university theater. There is plenty of free parking, as well.

The cast of “The Irish And How They Got That Way” will perform beginning at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, for a total of 12 performances over two weeks through the Sunday, June 4 matinee.

Weeknight shows are at 7:30 p.m.; matinees are at 2 p.m., and Friday and Saturday evenings are at 8 p.m.

For tickets, visit buckscountycpa.org or call 215-297-8540.




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