Curtain Call Playhouse Celebrate by fjwuxn


									                   (Left) Kris Coffelt and Steven Chambers in Private Lives by Noel Coward; (Right) Aladdin children

                       Curtain Call Playhouse
                   Celebrates One Woman’s Vision

                                                              B Y S U S A N F. D AV I S

You can say “a decade” or you can               cuts, but most importantly, I knew                            touring theater company. Another
say “ten years.” But, no matter which           I had to stick with my vision.”                               city – another opportunity. “And yes,
you choose, you simply have to say                                                                            it was hard on us in the beginning –
                                                That vision changed drastically after
“Congratulations!” to Curtain Call                                                                            and a little more costly. But now, we
                                                the company’s first year in business,
Playhouse. From 1996 until today,                                                                             have learned to be flexible, and we
                                                as it became clear that the traditional
this dynamic group has thrived                                                                                have found this is a very rewarding
                                                one theater-one venue concept was
while providing quality entertain-                                                                            way of life,” Coffelt continues.
                                                not going to work as it sought to
ment for our community – and all
                                                make Pompano Beach its home.                                  This traveling performance group
because of one woman’s vision.
                                                Scheduling became very difficult in                            has certainly given the participating
Kris Coffelt was that woman with                the popular Civic Center venue and,                           artists and performers some very
a vision. And now, after having                 as artistic director, Coffelt could see                       rewarding opportunities. First, the
worked with more than 2,700 artists             that there would be no growth for                             actors get to work in magnificent
and students in Broward County                  her fledgling program without                                  venues, and second, they are afforded
and parts of Palm Beach County,                 some sort of alternative.                                     the chance to perform for a much
her vision – of bringing a theater                                                                            more diverse group of people.
                                                “The city was very helpful, and that
company to the area which would
                                                allowed us to be able to make a new                           As the area’s most active local
allow highly creative actors of all
                                                plan, without giving up our goals,”                           touring company, Curtain Call stages
ages to hone their skills and express
                                                Coffelt explains. “It became clear                            its productions in two counties –
their creativity – is as clear as ever.
                                                that other cities needed something                            Broward and Palm Beach – in part-
“Yes, it’s all about perseverance               as well – something artistic and                              nership with the cities of Pompano
and hard work,” Coffelt observes in             dramatic.” So from this slight                                Beach, Miramar, Sunrise, Hollywood,
explaining what keeps this company              complication was born the idea                                Oakland Park and Boca Raton.
going. “I learned not to take short-            that has since flourished into what                            Performances also have taken
                                                Curtain Call Playhouse is today, a                            place in the Township Center

                                    Cultural Quarterly S P R I N G 2 0 0 7   12   1987 - 2007
for the Performing Arts, the Posnack           County children to experience the                             royalties as well as presenting
Jewish Community Center and                    world of theater and to grow in all                           productions in multiple venues.
facilities in the City of Tamarac              of the ways this experience allows.
                                                                                                             Curtain Call also has a strong
and at Kings’ Point.                           Recently, the Children’s Workshops
                                                                                                             volunteer base comprising approxi-
                                               have expanded to include McNab
The goal of the group is to continue                                                                         mately 70 determined and dedicated
                                               Elementary School in Pompano
to grow by adding additional                                                                                 people. The volunteers oversee
                                               Beach and programs in Boca Raton.
touring venues. “We hope to develop                                                                          fundraising, marketing, bulk
relationships with other cities to             The Playhouse offers three 10-week                            mailings and play selection, among
establish interest in bringing theater         after-school programs. The children                           other roles. Maintaining the group’s
events to ArtsParks, and of course             first learn the basics of acting.                              busy schedule and business affairs
we are anxious to work with new                Then they learn how to audition –                             is only a small portion of what the
city personnel to develop other                ultimately auditioning for specific                            volunteers can do. Their goal, much
new programs,” Coffelt explains.               roles in their upcoming show. The                             like Coffelt’s, is simply to expand the
                                               third segment of the series allows                            programming and the reputation of
Having only recently added
                                               them to do a “real” show. Some of                             this productive, innovative group!
musicals to the Curtain Call
                                               their greatest successes have come
Playhouse repertoire, Coffelt                                                                                One has only to spend a minute in
                                               from traditional and well-loved
acknowledges that they are very                                                                              conversation with Kris Coffelt to
                                               childhood favorites – Cinderella,
successful. “Audiences still love a                                                                          quickly recognize her creativity,
                                               Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland.
show filled with good song and                                                                                her unbridled enthusiasm for the
                                               Summer camps of three weeks are
dance!” she says. The well-known                                                                             Playhouse and her love of theater in
                                               also provided, so area children have
and well-loved My Fair Lady is                                                                               general. Her energy seems boundless
                                               the opportunity to become both
its current touring production.                                                                              as she laughingly admits that her
                                               actors and good consumers
Coincidentally, this musical is                                                                              husband has become involved in
                                               of theater.
celebrating an anniversary of                                                                                the projects of the theater as well.
its own – its 50th!                            As both executive director and
                                                                                                             Not only is Coffelt a teacher at her
                                               artistic director, Kris Coffelt is
Coffelt points out that each season                                                                          own workshops, but she is an actress
                                               quick to credit Broward County
the company performs a musical,                                                                              herself. Later this spring she is
                                               for its help in nurturing her
a classic and a contemporary play                                                                            appearing in Blithe Spirit, the Noel
                                               organization. “Broward County has
or comedy. “This lets us bring                                                                               Coward classic. She does allow
                                               the best support system I have ever
something for everyone,” she                                                                                 herself a month off in the summer
                                               seen for cultural affairs. They are
notes. The formula has proven                                                                                to “recharge.”
                                               dedicated to keeping the arts moving
to be both popular and successful.
                                               forward. We appreciate them more                              So, for this birthday celebration, you
As if all of this were not impressive          than we can even say,” she says.                              don’t need to bring a present. Just buy
enough, Curtain Call Playhouse has             From the County, Curtain Call                                 a ticket; the shows are gifts enough!
developed an extremely productive              Playhouse receives a General                                  Bravo, Curtain Call Playhouse! ★
and positive program for children.             Operating Program Grant, which
                                                                                                             Susan F Davis is a writer
Its touring educational programs               funds the stipends actors receive
                                                                                                             and retired teacher.
have allowed hundreds of Broward               and helps offset the huge costs of

                          (L-R): Anne of the Thousand Days, An Ideal Husband, My Fair Lady, Blithe Spirit.

                                   Cultural Quarterly S P R I N G 2 0 0 7   13   1987 - 2007

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