Tal­is­man Play­ers per­form sold­out shows of ‘Pin­no­chio’

Di­rec­tor: ‘You look at the faces of the kids, this is good chil­dren’s theater’

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @kutz­town­pa­triot on Twit­ter

The Tal­is­man Play­ers pre­sented its first chil­dren’s pro­duc­tion, “Pin­no­chio,” to sold-out shows in Kutz­town.

All shows were sold out at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 9, Feb. 10, Feb. 11 and Feb. 17, as well as a Brunch and a Show of “Pin­no­chio” pre­sented at Kutz­town Univer­sity in the Ge­or­gian Room at Old Main on Feb. 18.

“Hon­est John is glee­fully gloat­ing over the fact that all of our shows are com­pletely SOLD OUT! Not even a small beetle, oh I mean cricket, could sneak into a cor­ner and see this show! We thank our com­mu­nity for con­tin­u­ing to sup­port this lo­cal com­mu­nity the­atre! We are more than blessed to have you all cross into our lives!” posted the Tal­is­man Play­ers on Face­book on Feb. 12.

In re­sponse to the sold out shows, di­rec­tor and chore­og­ra­pher Tom Nar­done of the Tal­is­man Play­ers said, “As a rel­a­tively new com­mu­nity the­atre in Kutz­town (es­tab­lished in 2014), we are thrilled! We are tremen­dously thank­ful for the sup­port of Trin­ity Lutheran Church and Kutz­town Univer­sity who give us re­hearsal and per­for­mance space. We are grat­i­fied that we con­tinue to gather more and more tal­ented th­es­pi­ans while au­di­ences are rec­og­niz­ing the qual­ity of our the­atre group and sup­port­ing our pro­duc­tions.”

Nar­done be­lieves the Tal­is­man Play­ers have de­vel­oped a fol­low­ing. They had 1,200 peo­ple come out to see “Fid­dler on the Roof” while “How to Suc­ceed” brought out 800 peo­ple and they had a sold out run of “Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Slept Here” last March. “Pin­no­chio” is their first pro­duc­tion geared for chil­dren with all shows sold out.

“I think all of our shows are fam­ily friendly,” said Nar­done. “These are fun shows. I think we’re try­ing to gear our­selves to fam­i­lies. Tal­is­man Play­ers has al­ways been built around fam­i­lies, fam­ily peo­ple com­ing to­gether.”

Nar­don be­lieves it is im­por­tant to present good chil­dren’s theater.

“You look at the faces of the kids, this is good chil­dren’s theater,” he said. “You don’t need all the bells and whis­tles, you just need good act­ing and it has to be hon­est and I think you’ll get the re­ac­tion you need.”

The small stage at Trin­ity Lutheran Church of­fered an in­ti­mate set­ting and brought the ac­tion out into the au­di­ence as the cast of more than 25 chil­dren and adults brought the char­ac­ters from “Pin­no­chio” to life with singing, danc­ing and hu­mor.

Kutz­town High School sopho­more Crede Cooper por­trayed Pinoc­chio, the wooden boy with a golden heart.

“It was so much fun to play,” said Cooper, ad­mit­ting that it was dif­fi­cult at first to get into the lit­tle boy char­ac­ter, “But it was so much fun and work­ing with every­one was in­cred­i­ble. It’s a re­ally good cast.”

Cooper hopes the chil­dren in the au­di­ence learned the mes­sage of the show, “Make your dreams come true, by do­ing that your­self. You have the power to do that for your­self.”

He also hopes the au­di­ence had fun watch­ing “Pin­no­chio.”

Kutz­town Univer­sity se­nior Me­gan Lau­denslager por­trayed Jiminy Cricket, Pin­no­chio’s con­scious, a role that she said was re­ally fun, though at first she was not sure how to por­tray a cricket.

For the chil­dren in the au­di­ence, Lau­denslager said, “I hope that they had a re­ally mag­i­cal theater ex­pe­ri­ence. I re­mem­ber be­ing a kid and com­ing to shows like this. It just re­ally in­spired me, so I hope we in­spired some lit­tle kid out there to want to do this. It’s al­ways fun.”

KU ju­nior Vicky Diehl loved por­tray­ing The Blue Fairy. A high­light of the show was Diehl’s mag­i­cal voice singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

“I think it’s ev­ery lit­tle girl’s dream to be a fairy or a princess and now I’m liv­ing out my dream,” said Diehl. “I hope that I can in­spire lit­tle girls to get in­volved in theater and be a fairy like I was.”

Diehl also en­joyed that par­tic­i­pat­ing in the show al­lowed her the op­por­tu­nity to spend time with her mother, Gretchen Boyer, pian­ist for the show.

“We’re fam­i­lies,” said Nar­done about the Tal­is­man Play­ers.

Nu­mer­ous cast mem­bers acted along side fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing Cooper’s brother Asher who por­trayed Gideon. Alyssa Bridges por­trayed Matches while Joshua Bridges was a Pup­pet and a Plea­sure Is­land Kid.

Kutz­town Univer­sity bi­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor Greg Setliff moved from his role as a Tal­is­man dad to por­tray Gepetto.

“This is my very first time ever on the stage ever in my life,” said Setliff, still wear­ing his Gepetto mus­tache, glasses and gray hair wig af­ter a Satur­day af­ter­noon show.

His daugh­ter Vivien Setliff por­trayed one of the Plea­sure Is­land Kids; Vivien has per­formed for Tal­is­man Play­ers in the past, in­clud­ing “Fid­dler on the Roof” and “How to Suc­ceed.” He was help­ing her read for her part and the di­rec­tor, Tom Nar­done, asked Setliff to read for Gepetto and he got the part.

“It’s fan­tas­tic,” said Setliff about his first act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “It’s a lov­ing, sup­port­ive com­mu­nity theater. It’s been a re­ally great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Setliff said there are mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits to his fam­ily par­tic­i­pat­ing in Tal­is­man Play­ers.

“They’re not on a screen. They’re out in the world which is great,” said Setliff. “We’re build­ing a com­mu­nity here. Com­mu­nity theater is great for every­one, not just the par­tic­i­pants but every­one in­volved. We’re happy to be a mem­ber of that.”

Next, in April, the Tal­is­man Play­ers will present an evening of “One Acts,” for which Brandi Falco and Rob Wei­d­man will make their di­rect­ing de­buts. Call 347-728-4459 for au­di­tion in­for­ma­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to their web­site, https://tal­is­man­play­ers.com/, the Tal­is­man Play­ers of Kutz­town orig­i­nates from The Tal­is­man Play­ers of Staten Is­land, New York, a com­mu­nity the­atre group for more than 30 years founded and di­rected by Tom Nar­done, an ed­u­ca­tor and con­sul­tant. His daugh­ter, Christine Nar­done Storch, grad­u­ate and fac­ulty mem­ber of Wag­ner Col­lege, was his Mu­si­cal Di­rec­tor. Even­tu­ally, Christine took over as Di­rec­tor and formed her own the­atre com­pany The Jr. Tal­is­man Play­ers and in Kutz­town she also owns and op­er­ates Christine’s Mu­sic To­gether. Christine and her fam­ily moved to the Le­high Val­ley area in 2012, soon fol­lowed by Tom and his wife Carol in 2013. Shortly af­ter, the Tal­is­man Play­ers of Kutz­town was cre­ated in 2014 to present com­mu­nity theater pro­duc­tions in Kutz­town.

LISA MITCHELL — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The Tal­is­man Play­ers present their first chil­dren’s pro­duc­tion, “Pin­no­chio,” at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 9, Feb. 10, Feb. 11 and Feb. 17.

The Blue Fairy (Vicky Diehl) sings “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

LISA MITCHELL — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The Tal­is­man Play­ers cast of “Pin­no­chio” dur­ing a Meet and Greet af­ter show at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 10.

The Tal­is­man Play­ers cast of “Pin­no­chio” dur­ing a Meet and Greet af­ter show at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 10.

The Tal­is­man Play­ers cast of “Pin­no­chio” dur­ing a Meet and Greet af­ter show at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 10.

The Tal­is­man Play­ers cast of “Pin­no­chio” dur­ing a Meet and Greet af­ter show at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 10.

The Tal­is­man Play­ers present their first chil­dren’s pro­duc­tion, “Pin­no­chio,” at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Kutz­town on Feb. 9, Feb. 10, Feb. 11 and Feb. 17.

Hon­est John (Matthew Lu­pac­ck­ino) en­cour­ages Pin­no­chio (Crede Cop­per) to go into a life of theater.

Pin­no­chio’s nose grows af­ter telling a lie.

Pin­no­chio be­comes a real boy.

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