The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 4, 2013

Raising curtain on top-notch entertainment

— Area theater-goers will tell you matter-of-factly that you don’t have to travel to Pittsburgh to see top-notch entertainment.

Our region is fortunate to have several wonderful theater venues, including, of course, Mountain Playhouse at Jennerstown and Cresson Lake Playhouse. Both have been pleasing audiences for many years and at bargain prices.

Others offering occasional comedies, musicals and dramas include Pitt-Johnstown, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and several area high schools, which feature their talented students this time every year.

First-timers, especially, to our high school plays come away awed at the high quality of performances, a result of the hard work of students and their directors, often teachers who volunteer many hours of their time away from their classrooms.

The Jennerstown and Cresson facilities soon will begin offering such favorites as the works of Neil Simon, “Squabbles,” “The Fantasticks,” “Alone Together,” “Sin, Sex and the CIA,” “Church Basement Ladies, A Second Helping” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Mousetrap,” “Aida,” and many others.

Each playhouse early on will offer nice touches – productions geared to children.

Mountain Playhouse will serve up “Click, Clack, Moo,” a production recommended for children from kindergarten through Grade 4. It runs May 12-17.

At Cresson Lake Playhouse, the community theater company opens its 39th season with its annual Children’s Theater Educational Festival. The event, which runs from late April through early May, gives children ages 5 to 10 the experience of a theatrical production coupled with an educational fair. The production is the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid.”

A real treat for many area theater-goers is the low admission prices, making these performances very family-friendly.

While individual adult ticket prices at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center for the Performing Arts and Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts range from $70-$100 and more, adult admission prices at Jennerstown and Cresson are more in the $17-$30 range (children’s productions are even less).

“We have not raised our ticket prices since 2008,” Teresa Stoughton Marafino, producer at Mountain Playhouse, told our Tom Lavis.

Added Elaine Mastalski, Cresson Lake Playhouse executive director, “We have held the line on prices for five years because we want to offer the community a great show at an affordable price.”

Mission accomplished.

And “we still offer a box of popcorn for only $1,” Mastalski said.

Both playhouses contribute greatly to our region’s quality of life by providing good, affordable entertainment. But without the support of theater-goers, volunteers and sponsors, neither would be able to survive financially year after year.

We urge residents to consider a family outing to one of our area’s many theater venues, including at our universities and high schools.

On the web

For a list of productions, dates, times and admission fees, go online to:

Mountain Playhouse: www.mountainplayhouse.org; call 629-9201. Regular season begins June 18.

Cresson Lake Playhouse: www.cressonlake.com; call 472-4333. Regular season begins May 23.

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