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April 21, 2011
The Herald-Star

Hope Players to stage 'Nunsense'

HOPEDALE - The Hope Players have announced two casts for its upcoming production of the Dan Goggin musical comedy "Nunsense," to be presented at Harrison East Elementary School in Hopedale 7:30 p.m. May 6-7 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. May 7-8.

"Nunsense" tells the story of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, who are putting on a show to raise money to meet emergency expenses. In the course of the evening, the audience gets to know the sisters and their unique personalities.

Audience members also have an opportunity to participate in some of the sketches.

Hope Players Executive Director Andrew Pelegreen III, the director of the production, explained that so many talented women auditioned for the show that he wanted to give as many of them as possible a chance to perform.

"Our actresses fell into two basic age groups, so we decided to have one cast with more mature adults and the other featuring teens and young adults," Pelegreen said. "We're calling the more mature group the 'superior' cast, and the younger group the 'novice' cast," he added.

The superior cast will perform at 7:30 p.m. May 6-7 and 2 p.m. May 8. The novice cast will perform at 2 p.m. May 7. Sarah McKibben of Cadiz, who also serves the production as technical director and set designer, will play Mother Mary Regina, the superior of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, in both casts.

"Sarah originally was only a part of the 'novice' cast, but joined the 'superior' cast when we had a vacancy in the Mother Regina part," Pelegreen said.

Michelle Turner of Wintersville will portray Sister Mary Hubert, the mistress of novices and Mother Regina's right-hand nun, in the Superior cast. Turner was in the Hope Players' first production of "Nunsense" in the group's early days. Kim Adams of Jewett will play Sister Hubert in the novice cast.

Susan L. Stepputtis of St. Clairsville will play Sister Robert Anne in the superior cast. Stepputtis is well known to theater-goers throughout the Ohio Valley, and has appeared frequently with the Hope Players, most recently as Miss Hannigan in "Annie." Cerra Atkins of Hopedale is cast as Sister Robert Anne in the novice group, but she has a long list of technical and acting credits with the Hope Players and Catholic Central High School.

Sister Mary Leo, the youngest of the nuns, whose ambition is to be the first "sister-ballerina," will be played by Tracy Kerkuta-Henthorn of Rayland in the superior cast and by Cassie Bellerive of Hopedale in the novice cast.

The childlike Sister Amnesia, who can't remember anything about her past since a crucifix fell on her head, will be played by Kathy Oxley of Rayland in the superior cast and by Claire Leek in the novice cast.

The sisters will be aided during the show by Sister Judy "G Clef," portrayed by musical director Judy Kuryn of Hopedale. Assistant technical director and lighting system operator Dhaval Pena of Cadiz will double as Sister Myopia.

The play is choreographed by Susan L. Stepputtis, Michelle Turner and other cast members. Jake Kasarda is sound designer. Keith McKibben is in charge of set construction. The technical crew includes Megan Barcroft, Jake Kasarda, Destiny Ortiz and Kydsley Riderway. Costumes are provided by Stages of Wheeling.

Advance tickets for "Nunsense" are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Prices at the door are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Advance tickets are available from any cast member or at the Hopedale Village Building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets also may be purchased by calling president Donna Runt at (740) 937-2208 or Pelegreen at (740) 937-2629.

For information, go to www. hopeplayers .org.

New exhibit on Benjamin Franklin

PITTSBURGH - Discover Benjamin Franklin - founding father, statesman, inventor and humorist as part of the Senator John Heinz History Center's newest exhibition, "Benjamin Franklin - In Search of a Better World," presented by the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, MSA, and UPMC Health Plan.

The 8,000-square-foot exhibition, which opened Saturday, immerses visitors in Franklin's world and provides new insights on many previously unknown aspects of his amazing life, including his connections to Western Pennsylvania during Braddock's Expedition.

This engaging exhibition features more than 150 artifacts on loan from nearly 50 lenders, including the Smithsonian Institution, Franklin Institute, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Library Company of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania and rarely seen objects from private family collections.

The wagons used in Braddock's Expedition include a Robert Griffing painting titled "The Wounding of General Braddock," an 18th century military encampment, and a recreated 18th century farmer's wagon designed and built by students at Burgettstown High School.

The section also includes a pewter writing desk that belonged to Josiah Davenport, who was Franklin's nephew and a local fur trader who worked at the Fort Pitt Provincial Store.

The exhibit, which is included with regular museum admission, runs through July 31 at the History Center.

For information, visit

The history center and sports museum are at 1212 Smallman St. in the city's Strip District and are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vineyard Cafe to host seminar

WHEELING - The Vineyard Cafe will host a music theory for songwriters workshop from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Vineyard Cafe.

The presenter will be Christopher Barrick, assistant professor of music at West Liberty University, where he teaches applied saxophone and clarinet and directs the jazz ensemble. Barrick performs and teaches all styles of music including classical, jazz and rock. Originally from New Jersey, Barrick holds music degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Tennessee and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The workshop will focus on giving songwriters a better understand of basic music theory.

The Vineyard Cafe is on the lower level of the Wheeling Vineyard Church, 647 Warden Run Road. For information, visit

Upcoming events at Raccoon Creek

HOOKSTOWN - Upcoming events at Raccoon Creek State Park include:

Spring wildflower walk April 30, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Visitors can join members of the Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania for a leisurely stroll through the Wildflower Reserve of Raccoon Creek State Park to see the beautiful and unusual spring wildflowers. Some uphill walking is involved along the 1.5 mile trail. Those attending should bring a camera, good hiking footwear and bottled water. This program is free and open to the public. Meet at the Parks Wildflower Reserve Nature Center on U.S. Route 30.

Bluebirds of Raccoon Creek, May 15, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Join Raccoon Creek's Bluebird Trails coordinator Scott Parry for an informative program on the bluebirds of Raccoon Creek. Scott will discuss bluebird natural history, his experiences with monitoring bluebird trails and how to attract bluebirds. This program is free and open to the public. Meet at the Parks Wildflower Reserve Nature Center on Route 30.

For information, call (724) 899-3611.

Rock laser shows at Carnegie Science Center

PITTSBURGH - Carnegie Science Center isn't just for kids - there's rockin' science for people of all ages at the laser shows in Buhl Digital Dome.

Three new laser shows have just been added to the offerings - Doors and Hendrix, Radiohead and Creed.

Doors and Hendrix - It's been more than 40 years since the height of the psychedelic rock movement, but that doesn't mean it's over. Show times: Fridays and Saturdays, 8 pm

Radiohead -This show is for fans of this pivotal indie-pop band. Hear the songs that influenced generations of alternative rock fans across the world. Swim through the metamorphosis of sound that is Radiohead, and experience their transcendent style with visual laser light. Show times are 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Creed - For group bookings only. Call to register for the hour-long hard rock laser show. Call (412) 237-3434 to schedule a group visit.

The full lineup of laser shows includes A Brief Mystery of Time, a matinee for families; Laser Michael Jackson; Laser Daft Punk; Laser Sublime; and Midnight Floyd a science center staple since 1968. From psychedelic to rock and roll to synth-pop, there's a show for music lovers of any genre.Cost for laser show admission is $2 for members and $8 for non-members. Carnegie Science Center is at 1 Allegheny Ave. on Pittsburgh's North Shore next to Heinz Field. For information, visit or call (412) 237-3400.

PHOTO: 4-21 towngate contrib

CUTLINE: Cast members David Bradley, left, Justin Swoyer and Bill Cole rehearse a scene from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," which will be staged at Towngate Theatre for two weekends April 29-30 and May 1; and May 5-7.

'Rosencrantz and Guildenstem are Dead' coming to Towngate Theatre, Wheeling

WHEELING - Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theatre will present a production of the Tony Award-winning "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," a tragic-comedy based on characters from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, for two weekends April 29-30 and May 1; and May 5-7.

Written by Tom Stoppard, this bedlam of metaphysics, existentialism and vaudevillian slapstick offers a backstage retelling of Hamlet through the eyes of two bewildered innocents as they stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and caught up in events over which they have no control.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two childhood friends of Prince Hamlet, engage in philosophical discussions and fantastic comedy about scenes from "Hamlet," which is retold from their perspective. As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern struggle to avoid the tragic conclusion of "Hamlet," the sometimes-clueless duo questions fate, the inevitability of death and their very existence within the play.

Director P.D. Gregg said this high comedy includes liberal doses of "wit, irony and zaniness," and audiences will find the play both "amusing and thought provoking" as it illustrates the humor that is so much a part of our human existence.

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" is one of British playwright Tom Stoppard's most famous works. It received its New York premiere in 1967 and has since become a modern classic earning Stoppard worldwide acclaim.

Cast members for Towngate's production of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" are Vince Marshall, Jeremy Richter, Justin Swoyer, Zach Michael, David Bradley, Bill Cole, Mac Corkle, George Robbins, Mack Kale, Jenifer Canas, John E. Reilly, Melody Meadows, Tom Stobart, Jim Weekly, Jon Coffield, Lewis Willming and P.D. Gregg.

Sponsored by Whiteside Cadillac Buick Pontiac Chevrolet GMC Trucks, Towngate's curtain is at 8 p.m. April 29-30 and 2 p.m. May 1 and 8 p.m. May 5-7.

For reservations, call (304) 242-7700. For those buying seats at the door, Towngate's box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at (304) 233-4257.

Refreshments are available at Towngate Theatre and parking is curbside or in the nearby Center Wheeling Parking Garage. Located at 2118 Market St., Wheeling, Towngate is easy to find just across the street from St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in the historic Centre Market district of Wheeling.

Katherine Young exhibit, Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH - Katherine Young's exhibition of new work, "In Waiting," currently is running at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's 707 Penn Gallery.

Young's work serves as her quiet retreat from distraction and disharmony, where girlish whim finds form. Operating in her invented pageants, momentary struggles are concealed, identities are blurred and her visions of womanhood are celebrated. The works exhibited in "In Waiting" are from her new series, "Ladies in Waiting." Each individual piece is named after a variant of roses, which are named after the gardeners who pursued excellence in each rose's breed.

"In Waiting" will remain open during regular gallery hours until May 22. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For information, e-mail or call (412) 471-5605.

Pittsburgh International Children's Festival May 11-15

PITTSBURGH, - The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents the 25th anniversary of the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival May 11-15. The special anniversary programming will showcase international and local theater premieres, including two new interactive installations in the green spaces surrounding Schenley Plaza and the University of Pittsburgh.

For the anniversary the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival will extend the quality performance of a traditional theater setting to the outdoor festival grounds with two featured interactive installations - luminaria, Amococo sponsored by Equitable Gas; and Silent Disco, a collaboration with University of Pittsburgh combining electronic and music technologies.

For information and tickets, visit the box office at Theater Square;; or call (412) 456-6666.

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