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Armstrong Community Theater ‘lets the sunshine in’ |
Theater & Arts

Armstrong Community Theater ‘lets the sunshine in’

Rex Rutkoski
Armstrong Theater Company presents “Peace, Love and the ’60s.”

The cast of Armstrong Community Theater (ACT) is about to “let the sunshine in” in “Peace, Love and the ’60s” on Feb. 22-24 at Worthington Community Center.

It was an easy choice to focus this tribute to an era, says Paul Wright of ACT, and, along with Karissa Lloyd, director of this variety show.

It opens the 2019 season and is the year’s major fundraiser for the community theater.

“All proceeds help us to continue our mission,” he says. “We selected this theme because there is so much material from the 1960s. I love the music from the decade. There is so much history from that 10-year period.”

A lot of that history is filled with pain and challenge — civil rights issues, war, protests, assassinations, and more — Wright says,

“We want to focus on the happy and peaceful things that came from the ’60s. It was such a wonderful time for music and comedy. That is what we want to get across.”

The experience

Wright says audiences will enjoy great music and comedy from the era.

“We have jokes, songs, skits, and dances from the ’60s,” explains the Bethel Township, Armstrong County, resident. This is an all-ages show. “We hope to see the baby boomers there reliving their love of the music from the period. We also want to see the younger generations there enjoying what their parents and grandparents grew to love,” Wright explains.

“We have a cast of around 18 people. A lot of them are great singers. We will showcase their voices with solos and group numbers from the period. We are also injecting comedy into the show. We want to make people laugh,” Wright says.

Evoking a feeling

It is about trying to evoke the feel of the time period, says Karissa Lloyd of Vandergrift, who grew up in Washington Township, Westmoreland County.

“There will be a lot of the hit songs of the ’60s by artists like Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Otis Redding, Mama Cass and of course, the Beatles. And it will be sprinkled with comedic skits from popular television and movies of the times,” she says.

“I think there was a lot about the decade that resonates now; the war efforts, the political divisiveness, and the use of music to promote your feelings.”

From anyone who lived through the ’60s, to people who just have a fond affection/nostalgia for the decade, she thinks everyone will find something to like about the production.

The cast is “amazingly patient and adaptable,” she adds. “The variety show is always the brainchild of the directors, which means sometimes we put stuff in on the fly,“ Lloyd explains.

Themed shows

Decade-themed variety shows provide the opportunity to learn what life was like then, she adds, “or possibly re-live some of your memories.” Wright says this is a must see season of ACT shows. “I am looking forward to great summer musicals with ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘No Strings Attached,’ ” he says. “We will do those productions in the historic Casino Theatre in Vandergrift. Our comedies will have people splitting their sides out with laughter.”

Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: AandE | Theater Arts
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