Profiles /Blithe Spirit Review/Open House / Drama Camp Update

June 2014

Message from the Editor
Volume 2: Edition 6

June is truly "bustin' out all over" and the Pinewood Players 2014 season has burst out of the starting gate with the fantastic opening of "Blithe Spirit" ala Munds Park. Read the review in this months newsletter below and if you haven't seen "Blithe Spirit" yet, get your tickets for the Special Father's Day Matinee now (drawing for valuable prizes, see notice below)! After Sunday there is only one more weekend to experience this hilarious adaptation. Believe me, you don't want to miss it! This month we are continuing the feature entitled Profiles which gives you the opportunity to learn more about those creative folks who sit in the Director's chair. This month we are profiling our Drama Camp Directors. Also, a special thanks to Clyde Morrison, Penny Peterson and Susan Liberty for their contributions to this month's letter. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Click on the SUGGESTIONS button in the sidebar to give us your input. 

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Debi Ryder

Debi is returning this year as our 2014 Kidz Kamp Director of Cactus Pass Jamboree.  Having directed Toy Camp in 2012 and Doo Wop Wed Widing Hood in 2013, she is excited to see the growth in all the returning campers and meet the new campers.

Debi has her National Administrators Credential through the National Child Care Association and her experience working with children is extensive.  She grew up dancing and then taught at Kay's Dance Studio, coached Phoenix area high school baton twirlers for state competition, was a summer camp counselor for Oasis Gymnastics and worked for Plaza Three Modeling and Acting Academy as a teaching assistant and office manager.  Debi served at Desert Sage Elementary School in many capacities and turned those skills and her passion for encouraging children to love learning, into teaching preschool for 11 years to date.   Debi created a preschool program for Choice Academies, Inc. and is gearing up to open another preschool for them on a new high school campus. There she will offer child development classes to students as aides to her preschool children. She has been very active as a Leader with Girl Scouts, assisting over 16 girls in earning their Bronze and Silver Awards.  Her latest endeavor has been to introduce the Performing Arts by way of a Drama Club at Jefferson Preparatory High School which guides the teens through all aspects of their first production .

She is very appreciative of those families that found ways to help out and make this years camp run smoothly.  She and the staff she was blessed to work with will surely make the final product and performances huge successes.  Miss Deb’s message: “Thank you to everyone behind the scenes, and especially to this great group of kids.  You are all shining stars, each in your own unique and special way.  Keep finding ways to shine brightly”

Matt Dearing

Matt is returning for his third season with Pinewood Players having previously directed the Tweens in "There's a Monster in My Closet" in 2012 and "Aladdin" in 2013. He will direct the Tween Camp production of "Rock Around the Block" this season.

Matt is a Phoenix native and a graduate of Arizona State University. Three years into his medical major he realized he wanted to act and hasn't looked back since. He has a bachelors degree in film making and photography from ASU. Matt has been a professional actor, writer and director.He trained with famed acting coaches Terry Schreiber and Larry Moss and he has appeared in numerous local and national TV commercials, films and TV shows. In addition to his film and television credits, Matt is a seasoned director having directed numerous plays including "The Lonesome West," "The Boys Next Door," Bluefish Cove" and "Dreamer Examines his Pillow." He has also co-written and directed two original children's productions, "The Greatest Play in the World" and "Bomb in the Ratings." He also served as director for the Del E. Webb Center's highly acclaimed summer program CAMP IMAGINATION

Matt currently owns and operates an acting school with his wife, Leeann, in Phoenix where he also directs Chaos Comedy Improv, one on Phoenix's top improvisational comedy troupes. Their stated mission for their acting school is to "guide actors to excellence." Some of their students and graduates can be seen acting regularly on a national level. 

June News Clips


Review: Blithe Spirit

By Clyde Morrison

Blithe Spirit is a play by Noel Coward.  It is about a man who has lost his first  wife through a fatal car accident.  He marries a second wife years later.  Problems start when he brings a psychic to his home in order to find out what types of fakery they use.  He intends to put this into a book he is writing about psychics.  Interestingly, the psychic is able to bring back the ghost of his first wife.  Much of the humor comes when no one can see or hear the first wife and his current wife assumes he is either drunk or insane.

I am sorry that this review is coming out too late for many of you to see the most professional performance we have seen on the Munds Park stage.  Blithe Spirit is a pleasant drawing room type of play.  What was seen on the Munds Park stage was a brilliant, fantastic job of direction and acting to make the play a hilarious and wonderful evening.  If you did get a chance to see this play, you got a chance to see what a director like Doug Pusateri can do with the raw material.  Wow!  As one of the audience told me  - “That was BOFFO!”

Much of the comedy in Blithe was carried out by two new actresses to our stage: Kathy Abramowitz as the maid, Edith; and Lori Prescott as Madame Ascati, the psychic.  When either of these two came on the stage, their character just took over the stage.  Either they are naturally that inventive and comic, or the director had a lot to do helping them with their stage debuts. Kathy’s maid was either awkwardly running or very slowly running or curtsying in a unique style that I have never seen before.   Kathy had worked behind the stage for several plays but this was a first in front of the curtains.  Lori came to the main stage from a part in reader’s theater.   She had boundless energy and hilarious reactions to situations.  She made it seems real, but yet we knew that she was a fake.   What a complete and enjoyable performance from both of these fine actresses.

The rest of the cast was also right on.  I loved the facial expressions of Nancy Del Duca as Charles’ second wife Ruth.  She loved her husband and tried to understand him in an impossible situation.  His dead wife, as a ghost,appeared and talked only to him.  No one else could see or hear her.  So, when he said “Shut up” to the ghost or insulted the ghost, Ruth assumed he was talking to her.  Del Duca’s facial expressions , in fact her whole body expressions, let us know what a terrible time she was having.
Les Maruseth as the husband Charles and Susan Liberty as the ghostly first wife Elvira, also played their parts to the hilt.  Neither of these two actors had been in major roles in Munds Park before, but they acted like professional performers and were both outstanding.  Where did they become such seasoned performers?  Les had a huge part, as he was in every scene, and that is a lot of memorizing and emoting.  I’m guessing, again, that the director Doug  Pusater had a lot to do with developing and working with all the actors.

As usual, the stage construction, props, backstage work was what we have come to expect in Munds Park – PERFECTION.  Kudos to everyone who worked on this performance.


Open House at the Playhouse

Thanks to all who joined us to honor the Charter Members of Pinewood Players and to help celebrate the opening of the renovated Pinewood Playhouse.  There was an excellent turn-out to view the new seats, carpeting, interior paint, videographer/spot-light platform and the historical displays including the plaque and photos honoring the Charter Members,  Elaine Smart, Norma Thomas, Jim Hedberg, Joan Gorges and Hilda Buerkle. Refreshments were served on the playhouse patio and a fun time was had by all!

Drama Camp Update

Pinewood Players’ Tween Camp Explores the 1950’s

By Penny Peterson

Rock and Roll, poodle skirts, duck tails and leather jackets – all are hallmarks of the 1950s.  Many Pinewood residents can recall those days.  But the 22 campers who will perform Rock Around the Block in July weren’t even glints in their parents’ eyes.  Most,  however, have heard ‘50s music favorites like “Rock Around the Clock” and “Blue Suede Shoes.”
 The Tween group, under the direction of Matthew Dearing, will perform Friday, July 18 at 7:00 pm; Saturday, July 19 at 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm, and Sunday, July 20
 at 2:30 pm. at the Pinewood Players Theatre located behind the Pinewood Country Club clubhouse next to the pool.
The story, written by Tim Kelly and Bill Francoeur, involves Gracie, a high school dance committee chairman who has to find a new location for dances because the gym is being remodeled.  She promises to get a famous singer to entertain.  Three stuck-up high school socialites, a basketball star, motorcycle toughs, and a soda jerk complicate the plot.  A sub-plot involves a stolen motorcycle, a difficult brother and a cop.
 The featured song is “The Nifty Fifties.”  In addition, there’s “Oh, Baby”, “Teen Queen,”  “Hippity Hop,” “Rebel with a Cause” and several others.   
Tickets for “Rock Around the Block” may be purchased at the box office on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10-12 am or on-line at  Tickets are $10.


Kidz Kamp
Performs Cactus Pass Jamboree

By Susan Liberty

The Pinewood Players Drama Camp starts its 2014 season on June 30th. Drama Camp gives our young thespians in the Munds Park community an opportunity to come together and, in the tradition of the old Mickey Rooney movies, "put on a show." Kidz Kamp, for youngsters 7 to 10 years of age, meets in the mornings for two weeks, and Tweens, ages 11 and up, meets in the afternoons for three weeks. Kidz Kamp will present their show, Cactus Pass Jamboree, on July 11th at 7:00, July 12th at 7:00 and July 13th at 2:30. The Tweens production, Rock Around The Block, will be performed on July 18th at 7:00, July 19th at 2:30 and 7:00, and July 20th at 2:30.
Cactus Pass Jamboree Synopsis:  Trevor Barrington wants his family to see the "real America," so they are heading west in their upscale motorhome. When their RV breaks down in rustic Cactus Pass, Ariona, the snooty rich family finds itself stranded, much to the horror of Trevor's snobbish wife, Miranda, and her French maid, Fifi. Trevor doesn't mind, though, because the town's annual jamboree will give his son and daughters a chance to experience a "real American tradition." However, there is a problem. The jamboree has been cancelled every year for the past 80 years because of a feud between the Putnams and the Ludlows over stolen prize money from a hog-calling contest. The town is so divided because of this feud it has two mayors, alternate school days, and even assigned shopping times. As a result, Cassie Putnam and Luke Ludlow have to keep their feelings for each other hidden from their families, although just about everybody else in town knows about them. Luckily, Trevor Barrington is a man of action who would do just about anything to make sure this jamboree happens. So, he sets in motion events that end up resolving the feud and ultimately exposing more than one thief in an exciting climax! You'll have a rip-roarin' good time watching Lester, the deputy who is too shy to speak, play charades to reveal the secret criminal identity of one of the beloved townsfolk.
Reader's Theatre Update
New audition dates, Plays and Directors Unveiled 
Additional audition dates have been announced for Reader’s Theatre. The new audition dates are Friday June 20, 10:00 am at the Pinewood Playhouse and Saturday August 2nd 10:00 am at the Pinewood Country Club. Anyone interested in participating in the Reader’s Theatre is welcome to audition for parts. Plays and directors are: “Endless Autumn” directed by Marsha Propps, “Check Please” directed by Bill Kane, “At Halftime” directed by Marsha Propps and “Chocolate” directed by Doug Pusateri 
The first set of Cabaret Nights performances are scheduled for Thursday, July 24 and Sunday, July 27. Another production with different plays will be staged on Thursday, September 4 and Sunday, September 7. Tickets are on sale in the lobby of the Pinewood Country Club on Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm during Happy Hour. These performances are guaranteed to be “sell outs” so get your tickets now!

Father's Day Performance

Special Prizes for Lucky Dads

What better way to celebrate Dad’s Day than to treat him to Doug Pusateri’s Munds Park adaptation of Noel Coward's hilarious comedy “Blithe Spirit.”  And to make it even better Pinewood Players will give away special prizes to three lucky attendees  in appreciation for attending the Father's Day Matinee.  Two free foursomes of golf donated by Brian Obilo, Head Pro at Pinewood Country club will be given away. In addition a Fine Wine & Cheese Basket will be awarded to one lucky attendee. Tickets for “Blithe Spirit” and all 2014 Theatre in the Pines productions including Youth Theater recitals are on sale now! If you prefer the ease and convenience of purchasing tickets online, season ticket packages and single performance tickets are now available to purchase online at Just go to the web site and click on the “BUY TICKETS” icon in the right margin. Single performance tickets are $14 per ticket or save $2 per ticket by purchasing a season ticket package which includes tickets for all three adult plays. A nominal convenience fee is applied for online purchases. For those who prefer to purchase tickets by phone or directly at the Pinewood Playhouse Box Office, these options are still available. You may call the Ticket Manager at (623) 680-3369 or visit the Box Office located directly east of the pool area on the Pinewood Country Club campus. Box Office hours are 10am to 12 noon on Wednesday and Saturday.

Save the Dates

Pinewood Players General Meeting

The first General Meeting of the Pinewood Players organization this season will be held on Saturday, June 21 at 10:00am at the Pinewood Country Club. All members are invited to attend.  The meeting will be followed by a buffet lunch.  Reservations for the luncheon and more information about the event are available by contacting our Social Chairperson , Margaret Sprink at 602-290-0560.

The cost for the luncheon is $15.00.

Green Salad
Chicken Piccata w/parmesan penne pasta
Seared zucchini
Eclairs/cream puffs
Tea and Coffee

Reader's Theatre Auditions

Friday, June 20 at 10:00am at the Pinewood Playhouse Saturday, August 2 at 10:00am at the Pinewood Country Club.

Pinewood Players is a non-profit organization bringing  cultural opportunities to all ages. Each summer the Pinewood Players entertain the community by presenting live theatre and by providing various venues where children and adults learn about the performing arts through participation in workshops, drama camps and plays of all kinds.

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Drama Camps

Schedules for 2014 kids Drama Camps have been established. Click below to get the details!

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