Date: Monday, Sep 30th, 2013
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Stuart’s Opera House
In the beginning there were the Berean Community Players (BCP), incorporated in 1973. For years, BCP’s productions under the direction of Spencer Steenrod and Tony Coleman were the cultural center of gravity in southeast Ohio. Musical directors Katy McCoy and Mary Jane McKinley, were recognized throughout Ohio for the quality of their work.
For several years, Joe Balding and Steve Haskins entertained the idea of forming a community theater group in the Athens area. In the summer of 1992, while working on an Ohio Valley Summer Theatre production of On Golden Pond, Joe outlined his dream to Spence Watson, who was also in the play. Spence and Beth Watson had previously formed an amateur theater company in another community. They shared their experiences at a meeting at the Athens Unitarian Fellowship Hall on August 3, 1992. The groundwork for Athenian Players Theatre (APT) was laid at that meeting.
APT’s first production was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, opening in the Athens Unitarian Fellowship Hall on December 10, 1992. Indeed, for our first five years, APT was a sort of nomad theatre, doing shows at such locations as the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, the Athens Middle School, the Senior Citizens Center, and the Friends’ Meeting House in Chauncey. But in March 1997, the historic Stuart’s Opera House reopened in Nelsonville. On October 3, 1997, APT presented I’ll Be Back Before Midnight in the newly restored Opera House and—except for a few special productions in other locations—APT jointly produced shows with BCP in Stuart’s Opera House.
On March 18, 2009, the membership of both organizations voted to merge into a single organization called the Athenian Berean Community Players.
Their normal season is three to five plays, performed either Thursday through Sunday in a single week or Friday through Sunday of two successive weeks. Sunday performances are matinees; all others are evening shows.
In most seasons, at least one of the productions is a musical. These have included The Sound of Music (Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II), Into The Woods (Stephen Sondheim), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Stephen Sondheim), and Funny Girl (Isobel Lennart, Jules Styne, Bob Merrill). Comedy and dramatic offerings have included such plays as Rumors (Neil Simon), Night of January 16th (Ayn Rand), Steel Magnolias (Richard Harling), Present Laughter (Noel Coward), and Flowers for Algernon (David Rogers).
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