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The show must go on

(left) Kelly Trimmer and Merry Berry practice in front of their peers at Defino’s Dance Studio for the show “ A Chorus Line”, Friday, September 9, 2011, Philadelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouchnikova)

The Chalfont Musical Players had a nice debut, producing Wedding Singer in 2009 and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? last year.

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The 2010 show was particularly successful, drawing big crowds to six performances at the 400-seat Devon Theater for the Performing Arts.

“It sold out almost every night,” said Sean Riley, a member of the adult performing arts group.

However, the Devon’s future is in limbo, and the advisory council at the Chalfont Playground already supports the Chalfont Musical Youth Players.

The decision was made in April to fold the adult group, but the curtain wasn’t closed for long.

“We still had the itch,” Riley said.

Soon, a new group emerged, with many of the former members coming aboard.

President and founder Ed Flores settled on the name Ghostlight Players.

“It’s a light that continues to burn onstage,” he said in offering a loose definition of the name. “Theater never goes dark. The theater light continues to shine bright.”

It didn’t take long for the Ghostlight Players to get back onstage.

Auditions were scheduled for A Chorus Line, with 29 of the 40 hopefuls making the cut. The cast includes a vocal and dance ensemble, with performers ranging in age from 17 to 40ish. There’s also a nine-piece band.

Flores is the director. Since A Chorus Line is a show about people, he wanted those auditioning to be able to do more than just dance.

“Without being Dr. Phil, we asked them if there was anything in the characters that they could relate to and put into the show,” he said.

Riley, the company vice president, is the assistant director and stage manager. He and Flores direct the Chalfont Musical Youth Players, a 16-year-old group that will produce The Wizard of Oz next spring at the Fitzpatrick Elementary School.

Natalie Monari is the choreographer, while Nick Raspanti is the vocal and musical director.

Besides the former members, the cast includes new talent.

“Not only is Chalfont Players re-forming, we have dancers and other groups filtering in,” said Bill Arthur, who plays the chorus-line director in the upcoming show.

The directors believe they have men and women who are “triple threats.” That is, they can act, sing and dance.

“Ghostlight Players has to be synonymous with quality productions,” Riley said.

The Ghostlight Players can be described as a group without a home, or one with many homes.

There will be six performances starting next week at the Thomas Holme Elementary School.

Rehearsals have taken place at the John M. Perzel Community Center, En Pointe dance studio, DeFino II Studio of Dance and Chalfont Playground.

The newcomers appear to have adjusted well.

Mary Berry’s background is in ballet. This will be her first speaking and singing role.

“I’m very excited. It’s been an easy transition,” she said.

Justin Kalnas will be in just his second show since graduating from Paulsboro (N.J.) High School a little more than a decade ago.

“It’s been fun. It’s more organized than I remember in high school, and our sound is beautiful,” he said.

There’s a budget for the rights to the show, rehearsal and performance space, lights, costumes and the set.

Fortunately for the group, supporters attended a beef-and-beer fund-raiser last month and donated items for raffle baskets.

“People have come out of the woodwork,” Riley said.

Flores recalls performing in a 1991 version of A Chorus Line at St. Hubert High School and believes the show will attract crowds because of its timeless storyline and the fact that it isn’t often done by community groups.

In addition, there are so many dance schools in the area.

“What a way to bring the dance community and theater community together,” he said.

Everyone is a volunteer, and the group would like to produce dramas, comedy shows and other musicals in the future.

Flores said the show is perfect for people who want to see a quality production but don’t want to spend a lot of money or travel to New York or Center City.

“We’re testing the water to see if it’s comfortable enough to take the big plunge,” he said.

Former Chalfont Players members are glad they signed on with Ghostlight Players.

Nicole Mesiano likes the friendliness of the cast.

“It started from scratch, but everyone has done a great job of building up the group,” she said.

Matt Clark, a Father Judge High School senior who at 17 is the youngest member, sees a bright future for Ghostlight Players.

“We have really great directors, and a lot of us have worked together before,” he said. “I think the company will go far.” ••

Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or twaring@bsmphilly.com

It’s show time!

The Ghostlight Players will present A Chorus Line on Sept. 22, 23, 24, 29 and 30 and Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Thomas Holme Elementary School, 9125 Academy Road.

Tickets cost $10 for senior citizens and those age 16 and younger; $12 for everyone else. There is some mature content.

Tickets will be available at the door. To reserve tickets, e-mail ghostlightplayers@gmail.com


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