Where do you find the next generation of Broadway stars? Right here at the Kelsey Theatre, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor. Many actors from their resident companies and students from the innovative Tomato Patch Visual and Performing Arts Workshops have gone on to the Great White Way.
The talented actress Lianach Sta: Ana, who starred in last season’s Miss Saigon, is now starring in the same show on Broadway. Nicole Bridgewater has been on Broadway in Chicago for almost 20 years, and other Kelsey Alumni have been leading performers in Mary Poppins, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The King and I.
The Kelsey Theatre is home to 12 different resident community and semi-professional theater companies: The Kelsey Players, the Yardley Players, the Pennington Players, Playful Theatre Productions, Pierrot Productions, Maurer Productions OnStage, M&M Stage Productions, Theater To Go, PinnWorth Productions, the James Tolin Memorial Fund, Forte Productions and Stars in the Park, and the talented Academic Theater and Dance Student company.
“We have a range of vibrant productions coming. Maurer Productions will present Fiddler on The Roof, M & M will present Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and the Pennington Players will present the area premier of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, based on the Disney film and Victor Hugo’s novel,” says M. Kitty Getlik, Kelsey’s artistic director. “Our 2017-2018 season includes the hilarious new Sylvia, celebrating a dog, the couple who adopts her, and the comedy that results.”
Getlik says proudly: “As a community college theater the Kelsey Theatre has a three-part mission: first, to serve our community by offering a diverse series of arts events, suitable for the whole family, focused on expanding the young people’s awareness of the arts of many cultures, increasing the accessibility of classic literature, and highlighting the many different forms of performing arts.
“We also educate the college students and staff by providing exposure to the many different genres of theater and affording them the opportunity to produce theater themselves while working with more experienced semi-professional and professional performers and directors.
“And finally, we support the area theater community by providing serious and meaningful performance opportunities necessary to their development as artists.”
The Kelsey Theater is also home to the longest running, most successful summer arts program in central New Jersey, now in its 44th year. Tomato Patch Visual and Performing Arts Workshops is a multi-disciplinary summer arts program. Junior and senior high school students spend several weeks exploring the visual arts, dance, theater, and vocal music under the guidance of a highly qualified staff of teaching professional artists.
“Our new season promises to be full of the classics, new works, children’s theatre, and a surprise. I’ll only say we are pleased to present one of theater’s most beloved musicals, bringing 1950s New York to life,” says Getlik. “Be sure to book your tickets early. Our Sunday matinees often sell out.”
See the whole season’s lineup at www.kelseytheatre.net or call the box office at 609-570-3333.