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Local community groups combine for inaugural theater showcase

Local theater groups recruit actors, organize shows and entertain while making sure they still make budget.

Usually, the groups are on their own, having carved out their own niche in the community.

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For the first time, the theater organizations are coming together for the inaugural Carroll County Theater Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster. Six community groups are taking part, and will perform short scenes, monologues or musical numbers from past or future shows.

The groups will each get a roughly 15-minute segment to show what they can do. Expect a little bit of everything: musical numbers, improvisational theater, Shakespeare and comedy.

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The show will be broken up into two acts. During an intermission, representatives from the groups will be available to discuss ways for new actors and volunteers to get involved.

The Carroll Players will be performing snippets of "Big Bad," its summer production in which the The Big Bad Wolf, played by Zach Small, gets in legal trouble for past wrongdoings.

"I think the great thing about this is you're going to get a chance to get some additional exposure in the community and generate more interest from the public," said Carroll Players Chairman Greg Goodell, who indicated the group is planning dinner theater shows for 2013.

Dangersauce, McDaniel College's improvisational theater group, is scheduled to appear, giving the community a rare opportunity to see the student comedians perform off campus.

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They will play a few improvisational comedy games similar to those seen on the television show "Whose Line is it Anyway," that featured improv comedians and was hosted by Drew Carey.

"We act out scenes and scenarios which are completely unscripted, based on suggestions from the audience," Dangersauce performer Ben Azat said. "It's a lot of fun for the performers and the people watching."

The Rude Mechanicals, Century High School's Shakespeare troupe, will perform a scene from "As You Like It," featuring student actors Kelly Graff, Joey Marcellino and Kylie Cooley, artistic director Tom Delise said.

The Arts Coming Together in Carroll County and September Song performers will showcase musical numbers. TACTICC will perform snippets from "Hairspray," the group's summer musical. September Song's Nan Kaestner will perform a musical selection from a past fundraising performance.

"I'm excited to see the other groups I haven't seen before," said September Song producer Joan Eichhorn, who knows several participants in other community groups from their past involvement in her community theater organization.

Two youth theater organizations will be featured as well. The Carroll County School for the Performing Arts and the Carroll County Arts Council's children's theater troupe will be on the stage.

The Carroll County School for the Performing Arts will perform scenes from "Bye, Bye Birdie." The Arts Council troupe is performing a few selections from "Bugsy Malone Jr," their upcoming show.

The plan is to make the showcase an annual tradition that gives local theater companies a chance to introduce what they are working on, Carroll County Arts Council Executive Director Sandy Oxx said.

Goodell said there are lots of other organizations involved in theater in formal settings now.

"It's great to show that theater is well and alive in the community," Goodell said.

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