The cast of EPAC's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" -- a perfect play to see on a summer night.
When I was a kid in State College, PA, my parents took me to a lot of theater in the summer. I thank my lucky stars so often that I had parents who gave me such a wonderful gift – a gift that has kept on giving, and led to my lifelong love of theater. If we weren’t going to see a summer-stock or student production on the Penn State campus, we were headed to the old Boal Barn Playhouse to see some entertaining, community-theater production of a drama, comedy or musical.
My dad would pick up the tickets in the silo, converted into a box office. We’d sit together in that little theater-in-the-round converted barn, and fan ourselves with our programs against the heat. If a musical was playing, the pit orchestra would perform from the old hayloft.
It was magical.
Not long after I moved to Lancaster more than a quarter-century ago, I discovered what was then called the Ephrata Playhouse in the Park – now EPAC. In its pre-renovation days, the theater reminded me a lot of the Boal Barn -- a converted barn venue that presented great summer fare for the theater lover. I was even lucky enough to perform in the ensemble of one of those shows about 20 years ago, and forged friendships with members of the EPAC family that I treasure to this day.
Now, I’m a volunteer for EPAC, as well as an audience member. Whenever I walk into the theater – even though it has been renovated and air-conditioned and its season expanded to a year-‘round performance schedule – the place still gives me a nostalgic feeling about my childhood summer nights, spent at the theater with my parents.
(Heck – I can even talk about the Boal Barn with folks like Tricia Corcoran, an EPAC regular, and mother of Quinn Corcoran – a cast member in EPAC’s current production, “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” Tricia performed at the Boal Barn Playhouse when she was a student at Penn State!)
Having a beautifully written play like Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” for older kids and their parents to see together in the summer is a true gift to the community – as is the offering of theater events appealing to a wide range of tastes, from “Guys & Dolls” to “Angels in America,” and from “Fiddler on the Roof” to “Assassins.”
The cast and crew members who volunteer hours and hours of their time to this EPAC enterprise want you to see what they’ve created together. They want you to step up to the ticket window, to buy a cold drink and a snack, to settle into your seat with your friends and loved ones, and to have a shared summer experience around the theater stage.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs” is a perfect summer show – funny and touching, and filled with well-drawn characters, the mysteries of the cusp of adulthood, and familial love and conflict.
You have five more chances to see it, in air-conditioned comfort – Wednesday through Friday nights, and both a matinee and nighttime show on Saturday. Visit the website, or call (717) 733-7966 for tickets.
Make some summer memories at the theater today. EPAC is the perfect place to do that.
-- Mary Ellen (“Merv”) Wright