In a World Divided, We Need a Nation United
- March 22, 2023
The Community Theatre League (CTL) was founded in 1976. They had a vision of, “creating a true community-driven organization focused on making, promoting, and supporting the performing arts.” They hoped to encourage local participation, so it was decided that there would be no membership dues or annual meetings and that auditions would be open to
The Community Theatre League (CTL) was founded in 1976. They had a vision of, “creating a true community-driven organization focused on making, promoting, and supporting the performing arts.” They hoped to encourage local participation, so it was decided that there would be no membership dues or annual meetings and that auditions would be open to anyone, whether or not they had previous performing experience. The organization is now made up predominantly of volunteers who help organize, direct, perform, market, sell, and work behind the scenes of numerous annual productions. They are considered a no-profit, 501 (C)(3) corporation.
In the beginning, the CTL operated out of various community auditoriums and parish halls, including Harmonia Hall, the Genetti ballroom, Annunciation Parish Center, Divine Providence Hospital Auditorium, and St. Boniface School auditorium. In 1979, the CTL leased a portion of the Trinity Episcopal Church’s Parish House. It then moved to the refurbished Kingdom Hall on Washington Boulevard in Williamsport, where it operated for nearly 20 years.
In 1999, with the help and generosity of local donors to their capital campaign and a grant from the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation (now First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania), the CTL had the unique opportunity to become a long-term tenant of the new McDade Trade and Transit Centre building, part of a city revitalization project. The new building allowed the CTL to design the interior of its 3,800 square foot space, which houses a three-sided stage with 170 seats, and a lower level for prop and costume storage and additional rehearsal space. The current facility is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems and is available to rent for business seminars and meetings.
CTL now regularly produces anywhere from 10-12 plays or musicals throughout the year and hosts up to 10 special concert events. It also holds a variety of summer camps for students of all ages and organizes the annual Ray of Light Awards for high school music theatre and drama programs.
The CTL is led by, Seth Sponhouse, Executive Artistic Director; Michelle Trotz, Associate Director of Advancement; Phill Haney, Technical Director; Brandy Aguirre, Director of Educational Programming; Kyle Huggins, Marketing Coordinator and Gerry Gold, Set Director.
At the CTL, participation is membership. Anyone who wants to join need only express interest! Whether you’re an actor, seamstress, musician, techie, or simply a lover of theatre, they welcome the donation of your time.
They are proud to continue the tradition of over 40 years of entertainment by and for the community.
The CTL’s 46th season has and continues to be jam-packed with some amazing productions. So far, they have performed “Newsies: The Musical,” “Cabaret,” “Clue on Stage,” and for the holiday season, “Miracle on 34th Street.” Still on the playbill are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Shrek: The Musical,” and “Grease.”
There is however another show coming up this weekend that is pretty special.
Sprouts Theater for Children
The ‘Sprouts’ program and the CTL for the little set. These are productions performed for and by kids in our community. On January 6th-8th, the CTL’s Sprout series will present “Rikki Tikki Tavi.” This production is adapted by Susan Carle and based on the story by Rudyard Kipling. “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is a short story in the 1894 anthology The Jungle Book about adventures of a valiant young Indian grey mongoose.
A mongoose named Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (from his chattering vocalizations) becomes the pet of an English family residing in India after they save him from drowning. He becomes friendly with some of the other creatures inhabiting their garden and is warned of the cobras Nag and Nagaina, who are angered by the human family’s presence in their territory and fear Rikki as a threat. That same day, a young dust brown snake named Karait threatens to bite the child of the family. This sight infuriates Rikki into challenging it unaware the smaller snake is as venomous as a cobra and faster. Despite the risk, Rikki emerges victorious and kills the snake, saving the child.
The CTL’s production features almost two dozen local kids ready to take the stage.
I have seen several productions at the CTL over the years, and they are always killer shows. We are very lucky to have such an amazing theater company in our city, and the talent locally is impressive.
“Rikki Tikki Tavi” takes the stage January 6th, and 7th at 7:30 p.m., and January 8th at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $27 for adults, $22 for seniors and $20 for students. Tickets are available at the CTL Box Office, 100 West 3rd St., in downtown Williamsport, or online at http://www.ctlshows.com.