A brand new drama company is preparing to make its debut at the refurbished Cultural Center at the Opera House in Havre de Grace. Scottfield Theatre Company will present "Tuck Everlasting, the Musical," the first community theatre production of the show, with music by Chris Miller.
"Tuck Everlasting" runs weekends from October 6-15. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. upstairs at the Opera House, 121 N. Union Avenue in Havre de Grace. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children up to age 12 and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door or from the website, www.scottfieldtheatrecompany.org. A limited number of opening night gala tickets cost $40 and include a champagne reception with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and a post-performance meet-and-greet with the cast.
More about the founders of Scottfield and how they snagged a community theatre premiere, but first, about the show.
If you could, would you choose to live forever? The Tucks—Mae and Angus and their sons Miles and Jesse—have found a way to make the choice. When romance enters the picture, will young Winnie Foster decide to join them?
Josh Robinson, 16, makes a lively Jesse Tuck, who is attracted to Winnie, played by Sofia Bordner, 13. He describes his character as "spunky, adventurous, optimistic, and excited about life." The John Carroll junior is also in rehearsals for his school's production of "Grease," in which he plays Kenickie. Other roles for John Carroll include Shrek in "Shrek" and Burt in "Mary Poppins."
Talented Sofia Bordner, an eighth grader at Southampton Middle School, fairly sparkles in the role. She describes Winnie as "very curious, sweet, and funny." No stranger to the stage, she began as a lamb in a church play when she was just three. At seven, she was in the ensemble of "The Sound of Music," and last year she was Jane Banks in Phoenix Festival Theater's "Mary Poppins."
The whole Bordner family is involved in theater. In "Tuck," her father, Ralph, plays the Man in the Yellow Suit, a carnival worker and con artist, and her brother Gabriel, 8, is in the ensemble. Her older sister, Isabela, played Ariel in PFT's "Little Mermaid" in September.
Jesse's mother, Mae, is played by Elizabeth Marion of Belcamp. She describes her character as the person who has to take care of all of her boys—including her husband, Angus, played by Donovan Murray from Fallston. He may be remembered as the bank chairman in PFT's "Mary Poppins," and she, for her role as Mrs. Brill in the same show.
Winnie's mother, Betsy Foster, is played by Jill Murray, a music teacher at Prospect Mill Elementary and Donovan's wife. She explained that Betsy is very protective of Winnie because, having lost her husband a year ago, she is worried that something will happen to someone else she loves. Pam Provins of Bel Air completes the Foster family as Winnie's feisty but loving grandmother.
Gabriel Webster, who shaved his head to play Uncle Festus in John Carroll's 2016 production of "The Addams Family" and portrayed Injun Joe in the HCC Actors Guild production of "Tom Sawyer," assumes a different kind of character as Miles, the sad brother of Jesse Tuck.
Jesse Hutchinson provides comedic relief as Hugo, son of the town constable, played by Chuck Hamrick. Matt Tart plays Carny.
"Tuck" boasts some serious dance talent as well as notable moves by supple Ellie Ford, 12. The North Harford Middle School seventh grader first experienced gymnastics at 16 months of age when her mother took her to Mommy and Me classes. At five, she began ballet and tap lessons.
The ensemble includes Lisa Rigsby, Stephanie Atha, Gemma Menges, Maddie Saldana, Michelle Hosier, Phil and Jimmy Hansel, and Braeden Waugh.
The production staff includes director Al Herlinger, choreographer Becky Titelman, vocal and musical director Rick Hauf and Niki Tart, scenic designer Chuck Bowden, lighting designer Bill Price, and costume designer Gay Lynn Price.
And now for the backstory of the Scottfield Theatre Company.
Scottfield's founders are Al Herlinger, Becky Titelman and Chuck Bowden, who combine years of experience on and off the stage..
Al Herlinger, veteran actor-turned director, has directed shows like "The Sound of Music" for Phoenix Festival Theater and "Wait Until Dark" at Vagabonds. The production of "Mame" at Spotlighters was named one of DC Metro Theatre Arts Best Musicals of 2012.
Chuck Bowden, director of the Bel Air Drama Company, has been involved in theatre at Bel Air High School for more than 25 years. He also works as technical director and scenic designer there. He has a BFA in theatre from West Virginia University and a master's degree in education from the College of Notre Dame in Maryland. A member of the Harford County Cultural Arts Board, he is also an adjunct faculty member in the theatre department at Harford Community College .
Becky Titelman appeared in her first musical at age six, and has continued acting and dancing locally as well as at venues like Hershey Park and Allenberry Playhouse in Pennsylvania. She teaches tap, jazz, and voice at E-Street Dance Academy, as well as advanced tap and musical theatre dance for Harford Dance Center. She got her BFA in musical theatre at Elon University in North Carolina, where she appeared in the senior thesis show of fellow student, Chris Miller, who composed the music for "Tuck Everlasting, the Musical."
She sent him a video of young Sofia Bordner singing some of Winnie's songs from the show.
"He loved it so much that he gave us the opportunity to be the first community theatre to do the show," she said, adding that he also provided background tracks of the music for the company to use in rehearsals.