"Rent" Sells Out Courtyard- "Deathtrap" Is Next

By Jayne Ann Bugda | jbugda@pahomepage.com

Published 03/25 2014 12:17AM

Updated 03/28 2014 12:36AM

Selinsgrove PA - Courtyard Theater Producer Art Lieberman was returning to Central PA after attending a trade show in Sturbridge, MA, when his cell phone buzzed with a message:

Accompanied by two photos of the theater, the message said "WE'VE SOLD OUT - WE EVEN ADDED A ROW".

  The seats in the Courtyard Theater, located at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, are portable and there are many that are stored for just such an event.
  RENT has easily set attendance records for the new theater in its brief existence since it opened with "Sweeney Todd" on October 11th of last year. Lieberman credits the talents of the 18 performers and the crew behind the scenes for the favorable reviews and audience appreciation of the musical.

  "This has been another 'family' event with everyone associated with the show loving what they're doing and each other" he says.
  There were lots of tears in the theater last Sunday afternoon as cast and crew of "Rent" said farewell to each other. There is a song in the show, in which several characters bid goodbye to each other and, again, it was a truly emotional moment for the cast.

  But, as it is in a busy theater, the moment the audience had filed out after an extended stay to cheer the performers in a "meet and greet", some crew members jumped up on the stage and started to dismantle the set and create a new facade designed by Artistic Director, Bob Taylor. This time it becomes a study in the Westport, Connecticut home of Sidney Bruhl, a once successful playwright, who has written several Broadway flops in a row. It is the set of the Ira Levin thriller, "Deathtrap".

  The suspense-filled play is chock full of twists and turns, which holds audiences in its grip over 2 1/2 hours. Deathtrap holds the record as the longest running comedy-thriller in the history of Broadway Theater.
  The two-act five-character, one-set play is a change of pace for the Courtyard Theater after the resounding music of Jonathan Larson's triumphant play, "Rent".

  It also presents a unique opportunity to longtime musical performer and producer Lieberman who, although has experience directing variety shows, appearing in plays and performing as a piano-entertainer for nearly 50 years, has never before directed a play.

  "It's easier when I have a talented cast and crew to work with me," says Lieberman.
  "Deathtrap" which opens on Friday, April 4th and runs on Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:00 PM and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM for two weeks, does indeed have experienced performers in all the roles. The play stars Mike Stubbs as Sidney Bruhl; Hope Kopf, as his wife, Myra; Ben Hartman as young writer Clifford Anderson; Fred Hooper as attorney Porter Milgram and Amy Resele as the psychic Helga Ten Dorf. All of them with many years of experience in theater.

  Recently, the theater announced that they had obtained the license for "1776", Sherman Edwards exciting musical tribute to the members of the Continental Congress who had the task of approving a Declaration of Independence from Britain. That play will open in June and run for 9 performances over 3 weekends just preceding the 4th of July. Now the theater is getting set to announce yet two more events to be added to its ever increasing calendar. Keep watching for announcement of these two new programs.

(Information from Art Lieberman)

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