Marta Kiesling Resigns As Steel River Playhouse Executive Director

Picture 577POTTSTOWN, PA — Marta Kiesling, the dynamic executive director of Steel River Playhouse who grew a small acting group that performed in her living room into the region’s premiere venue for live theater, has parted ways with the institution she helped found.

A Monday evening e-mail from the board of directors to community leaders announced that Kiesling’s resignation had been accepted, effective May 1.

“We’re saddened to lose such a visionary person who built the playhouse to the strong cultural and educational institution it is today,” the release said.

What started as Village Productions was grown by Kiesling into the TriCounty Performing Arts Center, which with the help of grants from Montgomery County and a variety of other sources, established a theater in the former J.J. Newberry Department store at 245 E. High St. in 2008.

Read more:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Steel River Playhouse’s New Artist Director Can Do It All

Picture 577Actor, director, producer, playwright, teacher — Steel River Playhouse’s new artist director Gene Terruso is comfortable in all those roles. But that was not always the case.

Unlike so many theater people, despite his mother’s unflagging encouragement, he was not dying to get on stage. In fact he studiously avoided it until high school.

Terruso grew up in a West Philadelphia neighborhood and back then, it wasn’t cool to be a theater geek.

Trying out for shows, “was not a manly thing to do,” he said with a bemused smile.

Read more:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Broadway Musical – Spring Awakening Sept 26 – Oct 13 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577Contains mature themes, sexual content, and adult language

Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, 4 Drama Desk Awards, and 4 Olivier Awards including Best Musical, “Spring Awakening” explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion you’ll never forget.  It’s a powerful celebration of youth and self-discovery in a world of unresponsive adults.  A rock and folk musical adaptation of the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 expressionistic play about the trials, tribulations, and exhilaration of the teen years, Spring Awakening features “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade”. (Entertainment Weekly)

For more details, click here.

New Offerings! Open House & Registration – Sept 7 & 8 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577We’ve changed things up but kept your favorites!  Join us Saturday, Sept 7 and Sunday, Sept 8 from 12 noon to 3:00 pm.  Meet the teachers, try a sample class, tour the facility, enjoy refreshments!


For our 2013-14 Education Calendar, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Group Classes, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Private Lessons, CLICK HERE.

Steel River website:

Strong Leads, Fantastic Vocals Mark Steel River’s LA CAGE

Picture 577Editor’s note:  I found this write up from about Steel River’s production of La Cage aux Folles.  I went Thursday night and agree, it was a great show.  Haven’t laughed that hard in a while.  Nice to see the Pottstown arts scene is getting recognition from outside the community!  There are some great pictures of the cast as well!

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (sponsored by Exelon Generation) opened this weekend and runs through Sunday, June 23rd, at the Steel River Playhouse (SRP) in Pottstown, PA, where the talented main cast exudes guts and glitter, while the supporting ensemble in high-heels trips through the dance numbers.

The opening night production was headlined by SRP’s Annual Gala, honoring co-Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Stimson-Snow, and benefactors Susan and Scott Bentley, owners of VideoRay of Pottstown.  Through the years the Bentleys have donated equipment, meeting, storage and lesson space, time and money.  The guests gathered on the second floor, enjoying live opera by talented singers (such as lyrical tenor Michael Kiesling), acknowledgements of the Guests of Honor and SRP’s staff and volunteers, who worked tirelessly to organize the night of revelry.  All of the food and accoutrements were donated by local businesses.  Some guests walked away with raffle prizes including season tickets to SRP, Phillies basesball, dinner for four to Maggiano’s, golf and more.

Co-Founder Marta Kiesling paid homage to her partner Stimson-Snow, the recent recipient of the 2013 Advocacy for Equal Opportunities Award from the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission, Montgomery County Advisory Council, for her influential work at SRP in advancing civil rights, equal opportunity, intergroup opportunities or human dignity.

To read the rest of this review, click here:

“Hairspray” At The Steel River Playhouse In Pottstown Is Not To Be Missed!

I had the great pleasure of attending today’s matinee performance of Hairspray at Pottstown’s Steel River Playhouse (formerly the TriPAC).  The theater was full for a Sunday afternoon show!

I saw Hairspray on Broadway and wasn’t sure if this would live up to that experience.  As usual the performance was stellar!  I enjoyed Hairspray just as much in Pottstown as I did on Broadway.  That’s saying something.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, this comedic musical takes place in Baltimore, circa 1962.  Overweight teenager, Tracy Turnblad wants to dance on the Corny Collins ShowThe story demonstrates the social injustice of racism in pre-Civil Rights Act America and speaks about society’s disdain for people who are calorically challenged.  This is done mostly through humor and song.   There are some poignant moments as well but you don’t feel “preached at”.  You also realize how much has not changed since 1962!

There are some veteran Steel River actors in this show: Gregory Kasander, Bill Kiesling, Matt Kiesling, Donna Dougherty and Alexa Morefield.  The mostly youthful cast does an outstanding job!    The Director and Choreographer, Zuhairah McGill gets major kudos for another top-notch production!  As always the live orchestra is superb as were all other aspects of the production: costumes, lighting, sound, scenery etc… 

All the main characters are excellent.  Gregory Kasander nails the Corny Collins role with a lounge lizard meets Ted Baxter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show interpretation.  Matt Kiesling is very believable as Link Larkin, teenage heart-throb and love interest of Tracy Turnblad.  Donna Dougherty’s Velma Von Tussel is the character you love to hate!

Nicole Bright gives a standout performance as our heroine, Tracy Turnblad.  She embodies everything her character is supposed to represent.  Tracy’s parents, played by Bob Goretski and Bill Kiesling are hysterical.  Some very famous actors have played Edna Turnblad (Harvey Fierstein and John Travolta to name a few).  A male always plays the Edna Turnblad role.  Bob Goretski may not be famous yet, but he did the role justice.

The other two actors I would like to mention are Willie Garner who plays Seaweed J. Stubs and Britney Leigh Hines who plays Motormouth Maybelle.  Their acting, singing and dancing are exceptional.

This production is well worth the price of admission!  Congratulations and thank you to Marta Kiesling and the entire staff at Steel River Playhouse for bringing quality entertainment to the Greater Pottstown area!  I hope many people take advantage of having this gem in Pottstown!

Hairspray at Steel River runs from June 7 – 24, 2012.  For dates, times, ticket prices and to buy tickets online, click here: or call the Box Office at 610-970-1199.

Pottstown’s Tri-County Performing Arts Center Transforms Into Steel River Playhouse

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA  — You might call it their third act.

What began as a small local theater company called Village Productions, and then grew into the Tri-County Performing Arts Center has now matured into the Steel River Playhouse, the name and brand which will adorn the soon-to-be completed facade of Pottstown’s premier arts center.

As anyone who has driven or walked down the 200 block of High Street knows, the front of the former Newberry’s store has been “getting a little work done” for quite some time now.

But now that the appropriate materials have arrived, and a June 15 “grand re-opening” looms, look to see that new marquee finished in a short time, said Marta Kiesling, executive director of the Steel River Playhouse.

Read more:

Peter Pan At The TriPAC! Don’t Miss It!

I went to see Peter Pan tonight at the TriPAC.  The theater was FULL!  Lots of kids in attendance!

Great rendition of the Peter Pan story.  Tons of special effects, including flying!

Stand outs were Peter Pan, played by P.J. Schweizer, Mr. Darling/Captain Hook, played by Joe Ciresi (Joe is the Spring-Ford School District Board of Education President), Mrs. Darling, played by Rebecca Shoemaker and Wendy played by Maddie Aicher.

Many youth were involved in the production and everyone did a great job!  Deborah Stimson-Snow was the Director and did an a superb job!  The orchestra rocked as usual!

There are a few shows left before this run is over:

PETER PAN (June 2 – 19)
Friday, June 17 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 18 @ 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Sunday, June 19 @ 3:00 pm

ADULT: Thurs $19; Fri, Sat & Sun $23
STUDENT/SENIOR(65+): Thurs $17; Fri, Sat, Sun $21
CHILD (12 & under): Thurs $13; Fri, Sat & Sun $15

TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST! Please log on to to purchase your tickets online.

Another outstanding TriPAC production!