Music, dance, comedy and popcorn! It’s all part of the new twist on the MPB Community Players’ annual talent showcase.
This year’s production will feature songs of every style and genre, dance, and comedy. And it will also include a complimentary popcorn bar and other movie-themed snacks for all attendees to enjoy.
There will be two performances; Saturday evening, October 5 at 7:00 p.m.; and a matinee on Sunday, October 6 at 2:00 p.m., at Catholic Social Services Family Center, the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 106 S. Church Street, Hazleton. A portion of the funds raised by the production will benefit Catholic Social Services of Hazleton.
(Information from Judiann McGrogan )
“For this year’s show, we gave the performers the chance to choose some of their own music,” said producer/director Judiann McGrogan. “These are songs and dances that they love, so they’ve put a great deal of work into making it their own. We’ve collected an amazing variety of Broadway, movie, top 40 and standard songs which will showcase all of our cast members in their own way.”
The numbers included are from Broadway shows such as “Rent,” “Hamilton,” “Hairspray,” and “Nunsense.” There will also be music from movies like “Toy Story,” “Pocahontas,” “The Greatest Showman,” and the title song, from the Fred Astaire classic movie, “The Bandwagon.” And artists whose music is featured range from Tony Bennett to Pentatonix.
McGrogan credited her co-directors and the Players’ Planning Committee for the changes. “We have a group of young adults who have been performing in our shows for years, and who expressed an interest in getting involved with the planning of the showcase. They came up with the ideas for the change in format, and for the light refreshments to give our audience a more casual but still extremely entertaining night out.”
Emily Betterly, Sabrina Krupko and Matthew Seamon are serving as co-directors for the show. Betterly has done most of the extensive choreography for the production, while Seamon is sharing vocal director duties with the Players’ longtime musical conductor, Helene Seamon. He also serves as creative director. Krupko is marketing director, and is also spearheading the refreshments. In addition, Lauren Seamon, Thomas Betterly, Karen Flannery, Barbara Vilushis, Courtney Tarselli and John Zions are part of the planning staff.
“We were looking to shake things up and try something new this year by giving our audience an award show-like experience with a lighter atmosphere,” said Krupko. “Since much of our music is from Hollywood, we thought we would bring a little bit of the theatre to our performance, with a full popcorn and candy bar, because what pairs better with entertainment than snacks?”
The full company of some 20 performers will be featured in several numbers. But the remainder of the production will showcase the singers and dancers in smaller groups, duos, and even some solos. “Not only is this a new production for the audience, but it is also a new experience for the cast members,” said Betterly. “We wanted to give the ensemble the opportunity to share a little bit of themselves by choosing their own pieces to perform. Because of this, you’ll expect to see a wide range of music and some amazing talents in our show.”
The Showcase features performers of varied age and experience. Many have taken part in numerous MPB Players’ shows, while for some, it is their first show. In addition to the ensemble, MPB favorites Mike Paisley and Michael Longo are scheduled to entertain the crowds.
The MPB Community Players have been doing shows for Hazleton Area audiences since 1992, and started its Variety Show in 2007. The Players have traditionally donated a portion of the proceeds from this show to a local charity. And since the Players moved into Catholic Social Services’ Family Center, that organization has been the beneficiary. “We are so grateful to Neil Oberto, the staff and the Board of Directors of CSS for welcoming us into their beautiful facility, and are happy to be sharing our proceeds to help them continue to serve the community,” McGrogan said.
In addition to donating a portion of their proceeds, the Players will be collecting items for Catholic Social Services’ Maternal Health Program. Audience members are encouraged to bring a donation of needed items when they attend the show. Items needed include: wipes, onesies, and diapers, especially sizes 3 and 4.
C.S.S.’s Family Center is the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at Church and Chapel Streets. The hall is handicapped accessible. Seating is limited and reserved tickets are available by calling (570) 459-5076. For other information or for reservation inquiries, you can also email email@example.com. Reserved tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets will also be available at the door at a price of $7 and $4.
“That’s Entertainment” is MPB Players’ Talent Showcase. It will be a night of theatre, movies and snacks at the MPB Community Players’ talent showcase, “That’s Entertainment,” to be presented Saturday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Catholic Social Services’ Family Center, 106 S. Church Street, Hazleton. The show will feature song and dance, as well as a popcorn and candy bar, free with admission. For reserved seating or other information, call (570) 459-5076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or search “MPB Community Players” on Facebook.
Company members gathered recently for a photo. They are:
1st Row (Seated): Michael Longo, Lauren Seamon, Kiera Kupsho, Sarah Polashensi, Alexander Composto, Emily Babula, Judiann McGrogan. 2nd row: Helene Seamon, Thomas Betterly, Stella Tarselli. 3rd row: Emily Betterly, Cammie O’Donnell, Ian Composto, John Zions, Ann Marie McGrogan, Karen Flannery, Barbara Vilushis, and Matt Seamon. Absent for photo were: Mike Paisley, Natalie Paisley and Sabrina Krupko.