By Contributing Writer: Amanda Forker
It goes without saying that these unprecedented times are beyond tough for everyone and we’re all trying our best to figure out what a “new normal” actually looks like for the foreseeable future. A constant for many of us, however, has been finding solace in the arts while we’re at home.
Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ are thriving. Apple Music and Spotify are staples for many music lovers. Some major theater companies & productions are also staying alive (or at the very least, staying present on social media) thanks in part to financial backing and their large online followings. But what about the small professional theaters around the country? More specifically, the small, non-profit theater companies right in your own backyard?
Speaking of small (but mighty!), non-profit theaters, Playhouse on Park in West Hartford, CT may be temporarily closed, but fortunately for their community, is permanently creating. Like so many regional theaters they’ve had to close their doors and cancel upcoming productions in order to do their part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Nevertheless, they didn’t waste any time creating virtual programming for their fans & community. Even though a lone ghost light illuminates a dark stage and they had to postpone their stop/time dance theater’s Spring show, “Divas,” they still have a lot to offer fans and are constantly coming up with new ideas for this virtual reality we now find ourselves in. So, if you are in need of creative fulfillment in a supportive, fun and theatrical community, look no further!
Here is a current list (with links!) of everything going on virtually right now at Playhouse on Park:
Creative & Fun Activities:
Virtual Open-Mic on YouTube: This is for both participants and spectators! Catch actors from past productions, students from The Hartt School, the POP staff, audience members, band members, and/or folks from the community as they sing their favorite songs on their new Virtual Open Mic YouTube channel! Do YOU want to sing? They encourage anyone who is interested to send a video of themselves singing their favorite song. Make sure to include your name, where you are from and if you are connected to the Playhouse in any way! Actors – if you’ve performed there before, include what show/s! Send your video via a filing sharing site like Google Drive, WeTransfer, Dropbox, etc to Info@PlayhouseOnPark.org.
Where are They Now?: Check out and subscribe to Playhouse on Park’s “Where are they now?” YouTube Channel for a series of interviews that answers the question: Where are they now! Co-Founders/Co-Artistic Directors Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller will interview cast members from favorite Playhouse on Park productions and Playwrights on Park Curator Sasha Brätt interviews playwrights from past readings in our Playwrights on Park play reading series. Find out what everyone is up to, what they are working on, where they are working, what’s happened with the plays, and just enjoy their casual conversations
Playhouse Bingo: Click the link to print and play at home or Take a screenshot and play on social media! Share and post your results on social media and tag the POP: (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, or take a picture and email the completed card (Info@PlayhouseOnPark.org)
Dance with Darlene: Stuck at home? Want to dance? Want to exercise? Well, Co-Founder/Artistic Director, Darlene Zoller AKA “Mama D” is teaching dance/exercise classes daily on Facebook Live for all ages and skill levels! She confirms the time the evening before on both her Facebook page and the Playhouse’s Facebook page (typically noontime – 7 days a week). You can also scroll through to find videos of classes from the past few weeks. We’re better when we’re dancing with Darlene!
Behind the Scenes:
Shoot the Sh*t with Sean Harris: Join Facebook Live via the Playhouse on Park Theatre Facebook Page on Saturday’s at 11am to learn more about the role of an Artistic Director, Casting Director and so much more. Sean Harris will interact and take questions with those who join him throughout the chat. Get a cup of coffee, grab a seat and talk shop!
Crystals for a Cause on Facebook: Place your jewelry orders with Leslie Frey of Touchstone Crystal By Swarovski in this special jewelry sale where 100% of the proceeds go to Playhouse on Park! ORDER BY April 29th using this link: www.touchstonecrystal.com/J2JIYTY2 (Remember, Mother’s Day is right around the corner!)
Sean Shaves for the Stage: If Sean raises $4500 to benefit Playhouse on Park by his 45th Birthday on May 22, 2020, he will shave his head…LIVE! All donations must note: In honor of Sean’s locks! in order to be included in the total! Donations can be made online here: https://playhouseonpark.tix.com/Donation.aspx?OrgNum=2704 or By Mail: c/o Playhouse on Park; 244 Park Road; West Hartford, CT 06119
* You can choose Playhouse on Park as your designated charity on Amazon Smile. You shop, Amazon donates! Start your shopping with smile.amazon.com!
*Fleet Feet is also having a fundraiser for local businesses: You can show your support of your favorite local business by purchasing a “Beat Goes On” shirt for $20 (+ $1.27 sales tax). For each shirt purchased, you can designate a local business who will receive the proceeds from your purchase. Visit this site for more info: https://www.fleetfeet.com/s/hartford/shirt