Thursday, July 19, 2012


The cast of EPAC's production of "The Who's Tommy" will dazzle you!

Liz Frank portrays Mrs. Walker in EPAC's production of "The Who's Tommy."



First it was a late-1960s concept album and Los Angeles stage show. Picking up Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and Jack Nicholson along the way, it became a trippy 1975 film. It moved to Broadway in 1993, with such Broadway notables as Norm Lewis, Alice Ripley, Sherie Rene Scott and Michael Cerveris in the ensemble.

And now, “The Who’s Tommy” hits the Sharadin Bigler Theatre stage running, as talented director-choreographer Kristin Pontz directs her young, energetic Ephrata Performing Arts Center cast in this venerable rock musical. You know Kristin’s fabulous work from such EPAC shows as “Chicago,” “Rent” and “Cats,” and from concerts by local dance troupes for which she teaches and choreographs: Rev9, Cobalt, e-dance, to name a few.

“The Who’s Tommy” will appeal to the Baby Boomers who fell in love with Pete Townshend and The Who’s music back in the Sixties, and to young adults who love seeing fabulous singing and dancing wrapped around an interesting story. And everyone else in between!!

You know the story: Young Tommy accidentally sees his father kill his mother’s lover at the end of World War II, which leaves the boy catatonic – unable to see, hear or speak. Pain awaits Tommy as his parents seek a cure. Despite – or because of – his senses being stilled, Tommy becomes a “pinball wizard,” and must deal with the consequences and the questions that arise from his fame.

This is a “PG” show; some bad things happen to Tommy that could be disturbing to children. But for everyone else, do yourself a favor and spend the evening rocking out with Tommy and a cast of talented EPAC actors, singers and dancers!

The show opens tonight (Thursday, July 19). You do not want to miss this show; you’ve got until Aug. 4 to see it, but some of the performances are filling up fast. So visit the EPAC Website or call (717) 733-7966 for your tickets!

Don’t forget that, if you’re attending opening night of “Tommy,” your ticket entitles you to enjoy a light-fare menu, light refreshments and a cash bar at the after-party at The Hilltop Inn.

EPAC would like to thank The Hilltop Inn for sponsoring the party. And a huge, HUGE thank you, as always (we can’t thank them enough!!) to Green Mountain Cyclery and the Farrington family, and to Blue Ridge Communications, for being season and show sponsors.

Thanks, also, to everyone who participated in the Pound it Park fundraiser for Parker Harley, on Wednesday’s preview night of “Tommy.” We know the Harley family appreciates your generosity.


“Central Avenue Breakdown,” a musical opening tonight at the the New York Theatre Festival, is costumed by local designer Janell Berté. Janell has costumed many shows at EPAC -- making the lovely dresses, for example, seen in this season's "Blithe Spirit." Janell was featured in a spot on WGAL today; she's headed for New York to see her costumes come to life tonight on the stage of the Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street. Read about the show here.


Can you believe EPAC is halfway through its 2012 season? It's been an amazing season so far, and there's a lot more fantastic theater to be made and seen between now and the end of the year. We appreciate our sponsors, patrons and subscribers so very much; without you, there would, literally, be no EPAC. No lights, no sound, no actors, no singing, no dancing ... no shows.

There are a few paid staff members and creative and technical professionals for individual shows. But EPAC runs on thousands of volunteer hours -- from the board, the cast and crew members and lots of miscellaneous volunteers. Those of us who watch all this fabulous theater all year long are indebted to all of them.

That said: EPAC could use more show sponsors and individual donations to keep the theater running, and to keep the wonderful productions of these plays and musicals affordable to our audiences. This theater runs on a shoestring budget; any extra expense that crops up unexpectedly can be devastating to the bottom line of a nonprofit community theater.

So, if you find a few extra dollars in your wallet that you can spare, please put them in the envelope next time you're seeing a show at EPAC, and hand that envelope to Terry Kreider, EPAC's house manager and business manager. You can also use the envelope to write a check to the theater. The folks at EPAC appreciate even the smallest donation, more than you can ever know. Thank you, in advance, for your generosity.

-- Mary Ellen "Merv" Wright, a proud EPAC volunteer.