Carroll troupes offer theatrical samples at showcase

It will be an evening full of drama, music and comedy when the Carroll County Arts Council, in Westminster, presents its first-ever Carroll County Theater Showcase on Friday, Oct. 19.

Featuring community theater groups from across the county, the showcase will highlight the groups doing what they do best, whether singing and dancing, a comedy routine or presenting Shakespeare's works with a flourish.


"It's a really exciting opportunity to try and create a sense of community for all of them. It's the first time they're altogether on the same stage," said Tabetha White, coordinator of the arts council's children's theater and stage technology programs. "It's nice for them to get to know each other and work together."

The Shakespeare Factory, Carroll Players, September Song, TACTICC (The Arts Coming Together in Carroll County), Carroll County Performing Arts School, McDaniel College's Theatre and CCAC's Children Theater, among others, will all take part in the evening, with each group granted 15 minutes on stage.


"They all know it has to be family friendly," White said of the show.

Each group is rehearsing on their own, with one dress rehearsal scheduled to bring everyone together.

On the night of the performance, each group will have a table in the lobby to offer information about upcoming productions and answer questions.

"It is a great opportunity to meet someone from that organization," White said.

TACTICC will perform a few numbers from "Hairspray," the group's Spotlighter's summer production. Lynn Grassi, business manager for TACTICC, said the group is excited to be a part of the Showcase.

"Our goal, as all of the theater organizations, is to promote the arts in Carroll County," Grassi said. "We don't really feel competition with each other. We all have the same goals."

Based in Eldersburg, TACTICC hosts theater camps for youth in the summer and has three theatre groups: The Spotlighter Theater performs a summer musical production. The Fringe Theatre performs plays for a mature audiences by a cast of adults and college-age students. ImpACT Theatre-Arts Education features youth in a production. In November, the group will perform "The Little Mermaid Jr."

"They're so excited," Grassi said, of the youth in the November production held at Liberty High School. "It is a great opportunity for children to be on a real stage."

Performing a show is expensive, Grassi said, as there are many costs involved, from purchasing the rights to a show to renting a theater and paying for costumes.

"Our expenses are beyond what you think," she said. "We have many volunteers. They come and do it because they have a love of it."

None of the groups will receive profits from ticket sales at the Oct. 19 show. Each ticket will help pay for the space and the technical staff, White said.

But profit isn't the main goal of the showcase anyway — promoting these various theater groups and their programs is the primary purpose, White said.


"These groups really deserve to present before a big audience," she said. "(The showcase) is one way to bring them all together to help grow their audience."

"We are blessed with a wealth of talent in this community, and I'm not sure residents are aware of the quality and variety of live theater available to them, so hopefully this showcase will whet their appetites and inspire their attendance and support for these troupes," said Sandy Oxx, executive director of the arts center.

"We hope to start an annual tradition with this offering," she said, "and hope that it can become the time when local theater companies introduce their upcoming season to the public."

The Carroll County Theater Showcase will be Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., at the Carroll County Arts Council, 91 W. Main St., Westminster. Tickets are $8 and $10. For more information, call 410-848-7272.

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