We are back and planning a full season starting in October.  Read our COVID policies and precautions here.  

Most Valuable PERFORMERS

Over the years the Co-Founders, Cheryl & Joe Doyle, have singled out a few company members to honor as our Most Valuable Performers (MVPs). They come from the ranks of onstage and backstage talent: actors, singers, dancers, technicians, costumers and set builders who go above and beyond to help us achieve excellence.

Renée Root had no idea what was in store for her when she walked through our doors. “I was wondering if there was something I can do to help out?” she innocently asked. Was there ever!

Stage managing is perhaps the most demanding task in theatre. In rehearsals, they take blocking notes, shout out “lines” when actors skip or forget dialogue and keep track of what props and special set needs might be required. Once the direction is done, the show belongs to the stage manager-whose task is to ensure all runs smoothly. They control it from the wings-speeding onstage and off for set changes and coordinating with actors and the front office.

Renée learned quickly, from this season’s opening show, Is He Dead?, to this final production of The Winter’s Tale. Her boundless enthusiasm and devotion to ActorsNET made her a natural choice for MVP.

 

Chris Root quickly followed, walking in days later and volunteering. Again, “How can I help?” Silly question. Possessing knowledge in all things electrical (or so it seems), Chris stepped right in to designing and running sound-and was soon elevated to the role of Technical Director . He excels in finding the right sound effects for shows-background music and sound effects, from big booms to little babies crying and gurgling. His eye for detail, keen ear for the perfect sound, and gung ho spirit to tackle all our technical needs made Chris’ selection as an MVP a “sound decision.”

 

George Agalias joined our troupe for Season 19’s My Favorite Year and quickly became one of our favorite actors. This season he turned in three memorable portrayals. As Papa Leroux in Is He Dead?, he hilariously pursued the “twin sister” of a “deceased artist” who was actually the artist himself in women’s clothes. A hoot and a half! Next he was the lawyer in The Crimes of Diana Eastlake, advising a distraught socialite on how to deal with ransom demands from terrorists who had kidnapped her daughter. And finally, in our previous show, Ionesco’s absurdist Exit the King, George frolicked as a madcap royal court physician/scientist/executioner! He is a joy to work with – and fearless in his approach to roles.

 

Renée RootChris Root & George Agalias, we thank you for your countless hours on service – onstage and behind the scenes. Without people like you, there is no ActorsNET.

When he came to act in our ensemble of last season’s The Man Who Came to Dinner, neither Tom Stevenson nor we knew he would dominate our stage to open this season with the performance of his life as Doremus Jessup; a small-town newspaper editor who becomes a resistance leader in the stage version of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. Onstage throughout most of the show, he electrified audiences as his humble character rose to heroic action in this fictionalized account of Americans resisting the establishment of a fascist dictatorship in our country.

 

A few months later, Tom returned to don the wig and gown of a British defense barrister – Sir Wilfrid Robarts in Agatha Christie’s courtroom mystery, Witness for the Prosecution. Again, his solid presence anchored the production, as he championed a man accused of murder when the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly pointed to his client’s guilt. It was a masterful portrayal.

 

Finally we come to Romeo and Juliet, in which Tom plays Montague-the proud nobleman whose son woos and wins the daughter of a rival. Once more Tom delivers a sterling performance. He is a director’s dream – an actor who forces the best out of himself onstage and who backstage, during the rehearsal process, sets an example of professionalism to inspire co-players. Bravo, sir!

 

Em Ricciardi is a marvel. Whether stage managing or working tech, Em is a solid pro – approaching duties diligently, with an eye for detail. And the demands on stage managers require them to ensure all cast members, set pieces and props are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be.

Stage managers must know the show forward, backward and inside-out. They need to be diplomats, reassuring cast members and, at times – when the pressures of rehearsals and the hell week leading to show runs are fraught with stress – enduring the occasional complaint about this, that or the other thing – and then finding ways to resolve those and other problems as they arrive.

 

When Em handles tech chores, they are done. Expertly. And when stage managing – whether it’s a challenge-ladened spectacle such as Twelfth Night, The Threepenny Opera or Romeo and Juliet or a small cast, prop heavy and set change demanding piece of fluff like The Charitable Sisterhood Christmas Spectacular – our amazing Em rises to all occasions, doing so with grace, good will and an ever-present smile on the face. Huzzah, Em!

The demands of theatre are many. Long hours, arduous repetition, and stretches of idleness followed by periods of intense focus and concentration. The result? Onstage magic – made possible at ActorsNET by the likes of enormously talented people like Tom Stevenson and Em Ricciardi.

Joanne Cordingley for years was content to be in the shadow of her husband, actor/director/set builder James “Jim” Cordingley (who was a 2007-08 co-MVP). But, a few seasons ago, she stepped from the sidelines onto the playing field – co-designing the set for season 18’s August: Osage County, then co-directing with Jim Season 19’s Born Yesterday and this season’s An Inspector Calls. She (and their daughter Brielle) also have assisted in building and painting sets. Her keen insights into the action onstage and the look of the sets – design, color schemes and properties – have made her invaluable to our company.

 

Joe Kemp more or less got sucked into The NET. His youngsters, Griffin and Jocelyn, have been active on our stage for a number of years – in Summer Stars and mainstage shows. Once he casually mentioned having artistic skills, he got drafted into doing scenic painting for us – greatly enhancing many of our sets. Tonight’s show, and our recent productions of An Inspector Calls, The Explorers Club, Twelfth Night, Sherlock Holmes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Groucho: A Life in Revue were all the beneficiaries of his artistry. We cannot thank him enough for his selfless donation of time and talents.

 

Mike Yager came onboard this season as Board of Directors member and Treasurer. It didn’t take long for him to become a mover and shaker on our behalf. He has spearheaded the moves to improve our facility – arranging for new air conditioning and bringing in friends and neighbors to beautify our grounds and clear and organize our overflowing storage area. hanks to Mike, our books are well-balanced and our facility is in the midst of a much-needed face lift!

 

The efforts of Joanne Cordingley, Joe Kemp and Mike Yager represent how and why ActorsNET continues to win accolades as “the little theatre that could” – because they are among the volunteers that can AND do! (And we couldn’t do it as well without them!)

A few months later, Tom returned to don the wig and gown of a British defense barrister – Sir Wilfrid Robarts in Agatha Christie’s courtroom mystery, Witness for the Prosecution. Again, his solid presence anchored the production, as he championed a man accused of murder when the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly pointed to his client’s guilt. It was a masterful portrayal.

Finally we come to Romeo and Juliet, in which Tom plays Montague-the proud nobleman whose son woos and wins the daughter of a rival. Once more Tom delivers a sterling performance. He is a director’s dream – an actor who forces the best out of himself onstage and who backstage, during the rehearsal process, sets an example of professionalism to inspire co-players. Bravo, sir!

 

Em Ricciardi is a marvel. Whether stage managing or working tech, Em is a solid pro – approaching duties diligently, with an eye for detail. And the demands on stage managers require them to ensure all cast members, set pieces and props are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be.

Stage managers must know the show forward, backward and inside-out. They need to be diplomats, reassuring cast members and, at times – when the pressures of rehearsals and the hell week leading to show runs are fraught with stress – enduring the occasional complaint about this, that or the other thing – and then finding ways to resolve those and other problems as they arrive.

When Em handles tech chores, they are done. Expertly. And when stage managing – whether it’s a challenge-ladened spectacle such as Twelfth Night, The Threepenny Opera or Romeo and Juliet or a small cast, prop heavy and set change demanding piece of fluff like The Charitable Sisterhood Christmas Spectacular – our amazing Em rises to all occasions, doing so with grace, good will and an ever-present smile on the face. Huzzah, Em!

 

The demands of theatre are many. Long hours, arduous repetition, and stretches of idleness followed by periods of intense focus and concentration. The result? Onstage magic – made possible at ActorsNET by the likes of enormously talented people like Tom Stevenson and Em Ricciardi.

Some years back Ruth Schanbacher brought her talented daughter, Olivia, to us as a Summer Star. Olivia exceled in the course and joined us in the cast of our 2012 revival of The Man Who Bought a Country. Ruth enthusiastically jumped in as a seamstress to assist in that show’s massive costuming challenge.

Ruth has an enormous heart and saw the need for costuming assistance. From that show on, she made herself available whenever called. She took on more and more challenges. Before we (and she) knew it, she was integral to our operation – sorting and organizing our costumes.

She devoted countless hours to maintaining these items. Her skill at altering to transform one costume into another is miraculous. She does it because she has grown to love ActorsNET – and we have grown to love Ruth Schanbacher!

 

Isaiah Davis came to us as a 10-year-old to study as a Summer Star, along with his 7-year-old brother, Thomas Elijah. While both lads soon became enamored of theatre, appearing together in the ensemble of 2008’s Big River, Isaiah took up our theatre as a second residence – not only exceling onstage but also eagerly assisting in shows in any way he could.

To peruse old show programs, you’ll see Isaiah’s name pop up frequently – in cast listings and among the list of tech workers, handling lights and/or sound. He grew up in Summer Stars and eventually became one of our dependable interns.

Isaiah recently turned 20-years-old. He juggles his responsibilities at work in “the real world,” while continuing to help us in any way – unobtrusively, quietly and always dependably.

 

As ActorsNET ends Season 20 and looks forward to the future, we know incredible people such as Ruth and Isaiah have enormously contributed to our reputation for presenting quality theatre. We honor them. We love them!

Barry Abramowitz joined our ranks for Bill Cain’s historical drama, Equivocation, this season’s second offering. He returned for our productions of Born Yesterday, the staged reading of 2 and this run of Laughter on the 23rd Floor. For many years a mainstay actor at the Off-Broadstreet Theatre in Hopewell, NJ, he is a superb actor. To watch Barry in rehearsal meticulously, sometimes seemingly painstakingly, develop his character is to observe a true and fearless artist , as he draws from his life experiences and imagination. Be it drama or comedy, Barry challenges himself AND his scene partners and cast mates to excel. There are few that are his equal.

 

Julie McMillan also came onboard to assistant stage manage Oct.-Nov’s Equivocation. She brought with her experience working in theatre technical positions in Michigan. Equivocation was one of the most difficult shows we’ve staged – actors changing roles, often mid-scene and locales shifting with dizzying speed. Oh! And two executions by hanging, and all sorts of mayhem! Through the insanity of rehearsing and performing this amazing show, Julie was a sea of calm. She went on this season to assistant stage manage last month’s huge musical, My Favorite Year, and now to stage manage this manic comic romp, Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Julie is a soft-spoken dynamo.

 

Jerry Smith took our stage and hearts by storm in March’s Shakespearean romp, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – playing Peter Quince, the inept leader of an equally inept band of actors. He then played multiple character roles in Groucho: A Life in Revue. His mastery of voices and mimicry made each of his stage bits a delight. Jerry hits the stage with a child-like glee. Despite impressive credits from New York and environs, his positive energy and attitude infuses rehearsals and stagings with an electric jolt that stimulates and energizes all around him. And if that’s not enough, he not only builds superb characters – he’s a carpenter!, generously helping to build sets! What more could we ask?

It may be a cliché, but they become clichés because they’re true. Season 19 was great! And we couldn’t have done it without Barry, Julie and Jerry!

Dani has been with us since Season One. Acting singing, dancing, choreographing, producing – the diminutive dynamo does it all, with style and grace. She joined us in 1997 to play (believe it or not) Tiny Tim in our first holiday production, The Christmas Carol Conspiracy: Scrooge’s Revenge.

Dani started Downstage Center Dance Studio – believe it or not – here at The Heritage Center, in our dressing room. Her skill and personality began to draw a huge following and she moved across the borough to what she and Krese have transformed into a state of the art facility.

Despite all this success, she’s never forgotten ActorsNET. For us, Dani has choreographed amazing productions of Oliver!, Gypsy, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, Finian’s Rainbow, Damn Yankees, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown., our 10th season revivals of My Fair Lady (both the Heritage Center and Open Air Theatre runs), Man of La Mancha, High Society, and our 2005 revival of the original musical The Man Who Bought a Country. And for 14 years, she was dance instructor/choreographer in our Summer Stars theatre program for young people.

This season, the indefatigable Dani topped herself: She produced and costarred in a hugely successful holiday run of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. In so doing, she helped make the season “merry and bright” for cast, crew and audiences alike. Dani Tucci-Juraga is an inspired and inspiring talent, receiving her long-overdue acclaim as an ActorsNET MVP.

 

For several years, Pat Brofman has been Vice-President of our Board of Directors. Back when we started Summer Stars, a youngster named Matt South came to us with desire and raw talent. His grandmother, Pat, saw the Summer Stars show(s) in which he appeared and soon became one of our biggest fans.

Fast forward to present day: Matt’s now a grown man – a music teacher, performer and a much sought-after musical director in area theatre.

Busy as Matt is these days at other venues such as Kelsey Theatre, he and his grandmother, Pat, coordinate our company’s cadre of volunteer ushers. Pat takes her normal shift as an usher and frequently steps in to usher when no one volunteers for a particular performance, or at the last minute cancels. Some weekends, she’s been our sole usher at each performance.

Pat’s always there for us. With a helping hand and a friendly smile, she’s become a familiar face and friend to so many of our patrons. When we thank her, she shrugs off her service with modesty. But, we believe such unselfishness and dedication deserve praise and public recognition.

ActorsNET isn’t just a theatre company. We’re a family: Talented people who share their natural and nurtured gifts to create theatre magic -onstage, back stage and behind the scenes.

This year an online poll at BucksHappenings.com voted ActorsNET as the Best Theatre Company in Bucks County. We didn’t earn that honor alone. Over the years many helped build our reputation for producing quality shows at an affordable price. Now, Dani and Pat join a distinguished list of exceptional artists. Please know, we thank and love them all.

We’ve known De and Kitty Landes from our early days in Bucks County. The first theatrical troupe we hooked up with in the county was Town and Country Players in Buckingham. De and Kitty were integral talents there – he, mostly onstage and she, mostly stage managing. Any director will tell you shows rise or fall not only on the strengths of their cast, but on the organizational skills and efficiency of their stage managers.

De joined The NET two seasons ago, giving a nuanced performance as Astrov in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. On the heels of that auspicious beginning, other roles quickly came his way: in Othello, then Season 16’s Terra Nova and As You Like It. He jumped into last summer’s revival of The Man Who Bought a Country and helped launch this season by playing presidential aspirant William Russell in The Best Man. He then co-directed (with Cat Miller) December’s comic romp You Can’t Take It With You and stepped back onstage in our next offering, as the blood-curdling title character in Dracula. Two shows later, he was Antonio, the title character in The Merchant of Venice (from whom Shylock wishes to extract his pound of flesh). And now you see him as the conniving lovable thief, Fagin, in Oliver!

De’s journey thus far with The NET has taken him and our audiences into the minds of an ecologically-minded doctor, an English arctic explorer, an American Revolutionary patriot, a Shakespearean lover, an idealistic politician, a Transylvanian vampire, an Italian anti-Semite and the n’er-do-well leader of juvenile pickpockets in Victorian London. As you can see, De came to us already tall – and has since stretched himself further into an actor daring to delve deep within himself and his imagination to deliver vivid and unforgettable performances.

For our final performance of the 17th Season, we selected a fanciful yet dark musical: Oliver! A large cast of adults is hard enough to handle, but then add a band of young people to it as well? No doubt Kitty could handle it alone, but why give her such a hefty lift when our legendary stage manager Kelly Allen and Matthew Whiteside (our 2 Season 8 Co-MVPs) stood at the ready to bring order to the chaos that is a large cast of adult and youthful actors & two dogs cavorting on a multi-interior/exterior set.

Kitty, Kelly and Matthew and the others in our tech crew blended together to build a smooth-running on and backstage environment. They divided up responsibilities and went to work. We think all will agree they have succeeded and in fact exceeded expectations.

 

Hayley and Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski found their way to The NET at the end of last season – in time for the challenge of the burlesque era musical comedy, Gypsy.

First we met Maryalice. She walked in one day, introduced herself and started discussing her experience as an actor, director and choreographer. Before the start of our 17th season, we needed all three! Maryalice joined the cast of Gypsy – starting out her NET career by playing both male and female roles, while also serving as assistant director (due in no small part to the good fortune she was already a veteran of previous productions of the show). We billed her twice — under her own name for the woman’s role and as “M.A. Rubins” for the male role. The idea worked. Because Maryalice worked her tail off! She never tired, never flagged. She persevered! And was terrific! In both roles!

Before this season ends, Maryalice will have stepped into three roles at the last minute (first, she replaced an actor as a reporter in The Best Man, then as Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, and as Bet in Oliver!). She also stage managed Enchanted April and appeared as Mina in Dracula and Lady Margaret More in A Man for All Seasons. She also choreographed and appeared in last August’s revival of The Man Who Bought a Country. Immediately after Gypsy came The Man Who Bought a Country – another epic show.

Joining the cast was Maryalice’s wife, Hayley. At first, Hayley struck us as the quiet, more sedate half of the couple. Wrong! As she jumped into the role of “the wicked woman” in the life of patriot/financier Robert Morris, Hayley proved herself a force in her own right – ready to carve out her own niche among our growing roster of invaluable company members. Hayley stepped in at the last minute, days before opening, to replace an actress as a campaign aide in our 17th season opener, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. She next stage managed A Man for All Seasons, ran sound for Dracula and then designed and ran the sound for Enchanted April.

The way Hayley and Maryalice came into The NET was much like Grant taking Richmond. They were an overwhelming force. Whenever we had a special need, one or both seemed able to meet it. Before long, Maryalice was elected to our Board of Directors and both she and Hayley became our marketing coordinators. They are now in the process of modernizing how The NET will market our shows, and working to make our website a more flexible tool as well. Being younger than the co-founders, they are more attuned to the Internet and its many possibilities for attracting audience members.

Three days before this production of Oliver! opened, Maryalice – who often wears clothing emblazoned with Supergirl’s crest – was called upon to step into the demanding role of Nancy’s best friend, Bet. Dana Maginity – a remarkable young performer who we hope returns to us soon – was injured in an auto accident and could not perform. Without hesitation, Maryalice (who was cast in a different part in Oliver!) — agreed to step into and learn the role. From her hospital bed, Dana sent us a Facebook message about how happy she was Maryalice would be able to take on the challenge. Where’s Hayley in this show? Onstage of course, singing and acting her heart out.

So there you have our co-MVPs for 2012-2013: Congratulations to De and Kitty Landes & Hayley and Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski. What have they in common? An undying love for one another and for the magic that talented people can make in a small theatre on a postage stamp size stage!

In the short time they’ve been with The NET, De and Kitty & Hayley and Maryalice have already made an indelible mark onstage, backstage – and in our hearts.

 

Actors’ NET was founded by actors, for actors – and for singers, dancers, technicians, and stagehands — who need to exercise their artistic and creative muscles as much as all people need their hearts to beat and their lungs to breathe. This is what we do. This is who we are. We do it for all of you in the audience. And as long as there are people such as De, Kitty, Hayley and Maryalice, you can rest assured – the shows will go on!

Kyla Marie Mostello Donnelly, Brian Jason Kelly, & Joan Smith

Matthew Cassidy & John Helmke

Sarah Webster & Mitch Gerson

Susan Fowler, Ted Fletcher & Wally Colender

Jim Cordingley, J.J. Newberry,Tom Smith & Andrena Wishnie

Virginia Barrie, Dennis McGuire & Corey Stradling

Jamie Bradley & Marco Newton

Tess Ammerman & Matt South

Kelly Allen & Matthew Whiteside

Cat Miller & Ed Patton

Ryan Dethy and Carol Thompson

George Hartpence & Anne Rudisill

Chuck Donnelly & BriAnne Sudia

K.T. Tomlinson & Bill Thompkins

Joe Mattern & Phil Fagans

Nancy Denton & David Swartz

AUDITION NOTICE SIGN UP