Tag Archives: Janet Bixler

Theatrical showcase ‘Passions’ set to premiere on campus

By Darren Greene

Knightly News Reporter

Students, staff and community members are working on a theatrical showcase called “Passions,” set for Sept. 6-9, in the Capital BlueCross Theatre, discussed at length in our most recent podcast, episode #37.

A free preview for the Central Penn community will be presented at 5 p.m. on Sept. 6.

The rest of the shows, on Sept. 7, 8 and 9, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 general admission.  Tickets for the individual shows are available by clicking here.

A dinner-and-a-show combination will be available on Sept. 9, starting at 6 p.m., in the Knight and Day Café Lounge. The cost for the Italian-food dinner is $10 for students and $15 general admission.  Tickets for the dinner-and-a-show are available by clicking here.

This is a production of monologues and short plays on the theme of passion. Each performance lasts 10-15 minutes. The overall play will be 75 minutes long, without an intermission.

The cast consists of eight students. There are also three staff members and three community members, for a total of 14 people acting in this play.

When asked if this showcase is similar to the monologue play “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant And A Prayer,” performed in the winter term, Theater Director Janet Bixler made it clear that it is not.

Bixler explained that the monologue done in the winter term “consisted of a production of staged readings that was written from public authors and it was to raise awareness of violence (against) women and children.”

 

“Passions” consists of monologues, scenes and short plays from a variety of famous authors on the theme of passion.

There is going to be content from Shakespeare to contemporary playwrights.

This will also be a more playful and comedic showcase but also have serious moments.

When asked why make a theatrical showcase, Bixler explained why this was a better idea for productions in the future.

“The creation of a traditional-run play has … become difficult due to … students’ daily schedules,” Bixler said.

By making a theatrical showcase, not all students involved have to rehearse together as they would in a traditional play. This makes it flexible for the students to be able to come to practice and not have it conflict with their other commitments.

In the second segment of our podcast, Adrienne Thoman joins the show with Knightly News Reporters Ian Kemmerer and Michael Ademola discussing September events.

Thoman is also starring in the upcoming “Passions” production, and features this in Adrienne’s Featured Three.

For more information on “Passions,” visit the Capital BlueCross Theatre at Central Penn College’s Facebook page.


To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

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The Knightly News Debuts New Podcast Studio with Episode 17

The new studio is housed in the historic Boyer House on the Summerdale Campus.

By Paul Miller

Media Club Co-adviser

After months of long-awaited preparation, the Knightly News Media Club at Central Penn College has officially moved into their new podcast studio, located in the Boyer House at the Summerdale campus.

The Knightly News is honored to be able to have the podcast studio in such an area with such rich history.  To learn more about the rich history of the property, go to the Central Penn website.

The club will also be holding an open house to celebrate the opening of the new studio, taking place at Boyer House on Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.

On the first podcast from our new studio, we were delighted to be joined by Student Activites Director Adrienne Thoman, Theatre Director Janet Bixler, and News Correspondent Norman Geary.

 

In the first segment, Thoman reviews upcoming events in February, including several events happening on Valentine’s Day, USCAA Bid Day, and the upcoming production at the Capital Blue Cross Theatre of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer.

In the second segment, Geary reviews some news from the club, including moving into our new studio, our upcoming soup sale, and recent elections for board positions in our club.

In the final segment, Thoman returns with Bixler to talk about the shift from the Vagina Monologues to  A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer. 

For more information on this production, please visit the links below.

Purchase tickets and learn more about the show on Eventbrite.

For more information about the Capital Blue Cross Theatre.

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Knightly News Podcast Previews Two November Events

“Christmas Shorts” to Open This Week

By Paul Miller

Knightly News co-adviser

In the most recent Knightly News podcast, two major events on the Summerdale campus are featured, including a look at the fall play “Christmas Shorts”.

On the show, we were pleased to have Capital BlueCross Theatre Director Janet Bixler and Bob Zaccano.  During their segment, they discuss much about the creative process that went into creating the play, as well as discussions about the overall themes presented.

For more information about the play and to buy tickets, you can check out their Facebook page or on the Centralpenn.edu website.

The showtimes are: Thursday, Nov. 10 – Saturday – Nov. 12 (7:30 p.m. curtain), Friday, Nov. 18 (7:30 p.m. curtain), Sat. Nov. 19 (2:30 p.m. curtain).

In the second segment of the podcast, Nasir Harris takes over as the host and turns that tables on Professor Miller, previewing his upcoming workshop entitled “Blogging 101:  The Importance of Blogging While in College”.

This this segment, Miller discusses several of the reasons that he believes that students can see several positive benefits from writing a blog while in college as a way to feature writing ability, passion for subject matter, etc.

The workshop will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. in ATEC 202.

 

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Selfies with Dinosaurs, Welcoming New Knights and a Yummy Summer Cookout, Oh My!

Discussing the many August activities and plethora of ways all of Central Penn’s students can plug in and be a part of the Knights family.

By Sherri Long, student reporter

The Knightly News Media Club welcomes Student Activities Director Adrienne Thoman to their tenth podcast episode to highlight student activities at Central Penn College.

Thoman elaborates on several August happenings with host Prof. Paul Miller, co-adviser of Knightly News Media Club, and Sherri Long, student reporter.

Events included in the podcast are:  Fall course registration workshops, Fall Campus Preview day, the Knightly News summer cookout, “First Date” musical performance, and, of course, Thoman’s “Featured Three Events”.

Miller highlighted the Aug. 11 summer cookout, hosted by the Knightly News Media Club, which is a fundraiser for the club to offset costs for the purchase and setup of their new podcasting equipment, purchased in June.

Thoman, Miller and Long talk about ways in which all students, including online and evening students, can participate in the student activities, sometimes, including their families.

“There are several time options, including day, late afternoon, evening and weekend activity options that evening and online students could participate in, sometimes with family,” states Long.

Long is an online and evening student. She is also a single mom of two teenagers and works full-time as a freelance graphic designer.

Thoman recommends to contact her directly to find out the best ways to meet with a Central Penn group outing if a student does not take the shuttle from campus.

Thoman’s Featured Three Events for August are: “First Date” musical in the Capital BlueCross Theatre, final weekend of Aug. 5, 6 and 7; Central Penn’s first Mini Thon Friday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. through 6 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13; and Dino-Mite Scavenger Hunt and Ice Cream on Monday, Aug. 15.

As always, stay connected with the student activities on campus with their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CentralPennActivities/  and be sure to check back for next month’s podcast featuring September’s activities.

Background Music:  (Podington Bear) / CC BY-NC 3.0

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The Capital Blue Cross Theatre Surprise

‘First Date’ is Central Penn’s First Musical

By Yuliani Sutedjo

Media Club Reporter

The resident troupe and crew of the Capital BlueCross Theatre are working hard to present you with “First Date.”

And it is a first for Central Penn: “First Date” is a musical, the first to be produced in the theatre in the Underground.

The story is from a book by Austin Winsberg, with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. “First Date” has played on Broadway.

The comedy will include a cast of mostly members of the off-campus community. Central Penn students and staff are also involved in the production.

Dustin LeBlanc, Executive Creative Director at the Carlisle Theatre Company, directs the play, and Central Penn’s Theatre Director Janet Bixler is the producer.

LeBlanc has much experience with musical theater. He has been in the theater world since he was 4 years old. Along the way, he was in charge of the former Pennsylvania Youth Music and Theatrics Theater for five years. LeBlanc also worked at the Carlisle Theater Co. for eight years, and has been directing plays since he was about 14.

Bixler has been involved in theater since she was 10 years old. She has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational theater. Since 1992, she has taught and created theater, and has operated a business as a theater consultant and drama specialist.

For the musical, the stage of the Capital BlueCross Theatre is transformed into a bar. In the show, you will meet Aaron and Casey, and some of their siblings and friends.

Aaron is a baker. He is timid, awkward and doesn’t know how to handle dating. Casey, who is the opposite of Aaron, has more experience dating and has had many blind dates – which is what unfolds in “First Date.”

“First Date” will run July 28-30 at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Aug. 7 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $7 for Central Penn faculty and staff, and $12 general admission. The show will run for 90 minutes, with no intermission.

For more information on the production, see http://firstdatethemusical.com/about.

Background Music:  (Podington Bear) / CC BY-NC 3.0

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Dreams and Nightmares and Other Events are Coming to Central Penn College in June

By Paul Miller

Media Club Co-Adviser

The Knightly News Media Club at Central Penn College has been busy at work in recent weeks, capped off by our final podcast of the spring term.

In the podcast we welcome two guests, Student Activities Director Adrienne Thoman and Theater Director Janet Bixler, to discuss upcoming events at Central Penn, including the upcoming Dreams and Nightmares student original production.

In addition to discussion of the production, Thoman discusses Petapalooza, an upcoming field trip to the Turkey Hill Experience, and a staple of Week 11, Cram Jam.

In Bixler’s segment, she describes the creative process involved in creating an original work.

“The student’s real life experiences and their imagination helped create the material for what will be the content for the play.”  Bixler said.  “No one has created this before and no one will recreate it because it is very specific to (the students involved).”

Dreams and Nightmares will take place in the Capital Blue Cross Theater June 9 – 11 at 7:30 p.m. and on June 12 at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are on sale now at the box office, via Eventbrite, or at the door.

The podcast is hosted by professor and Media Club co-adviser Paul Miller and is joined by student reporter Yuliani Sutedjo.

Background Music:  (Podington Bear) / CC BY-NC 3.0

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Which Way Did He Go?

An ex-con shares how he got on a better path

By Christine Fusselman
Media Club Reporter

Let’s bring in the guy who’s spent 25 years in and out of prison to inspire our students!

What?

But that’s just what Business and Communications Program Chair Russell Kulp did recently. He invited Ronald L. James to speak to a group of Central Penn College students from two oral communications classes and a freshman seminar class on Nov. 20.
Since last year, James has done speaking engagements – sharing the message from his book, Choices – Lessons Learned from a Repeat Offender (2013).

Ronald L. James, author of Choices – Lessons Learned from a Repeat Offender (2013)

Ronald L. James, author of Choices – Lessons Learned from a Repeat Offender (2013)

“Ron’s book, Choices, is an incredible journey from the depths of despair and hopelessness to exhilarating heights,” Kulp said.  “Ron’s message is touching hearts and changing lives.”

Students from one of Prof. Maria Thiaw’s oral communications classes described the presentation:

“Climatic – (James) has great story telling abilities,” says business management student Darrin Zehring, 19.

Neya Beattie, 29, is a health science major. She called the presentation “Powerful. It was a wake-up call.”

James captured the attention of the audience by talking about some of the poor choices he made in his life and asking, “Who’s choice is it?”

He explained that the choices he made in his youth snowballed into increasingly poor choices as he got older, leading to smoking, drugs and alcohol. The choices got worse after that, eventually leading him to spend more than 25 years in and out of varying levels of incarceration.

During the presentation, James asked the audience, “What’s your dream?”

Students replied with mainly career-focused dreams, including being a detective or in another law-enforcement job, or being a forensic scientist or cosmetologist.

Another relayed a dream of being happy.

He then asked, “What can derail you?”

James’ answer: “Some people don’t know they’ve made a bad choice until the consequence comes.”

RonCard_1

He then gave examples of the negative results others had when they drove too fast or agreed to that second drink.

James shared about a time in his life when he was fighting an addiction to heroin, and after using up all of his other resources, he went home to his mother, whom he calls “Mi Mi.” She welcomed him home like a “prodigal son,” offering him food, a hot shower, clothes and a place to stay.

He said she used to always say: “Good, better, best. May you never rest – until the good get better, and the better best.”

Even after he stole her wedding rings to sell for drug money, she would welcome him home when he showed up. It wasn’t until years later, and after her death, that he realized his regret.

“I robbed my mom of having a son,” he said.

Criminal Justice major Brett Sherman, 19, said, “His story was shocking. He stole from his mom. When she told him, ‘You needed them more than me’ – that was painful.”

Prof. Thiaw said she knew someone who had dealt with addiction. “I never truly understood how very destructive that is to the family until hearing these stories.”

Prof. Janet Bixler wrote, “Ron James shared his story about choices. His presentation was a wonderful complement to my freshman seminar curriculum, where the students are exploring goal-setting and strategies for overcoming obstacles. Mr. James made it clear that the choices we make have the power to move us forward toward success or to create giant obstacles. His life experiences vividly illustrated our need to examine the intentions and motivations behind our actions, thoughts and desires.”

James’ decision to change came in prison.

“I saw myself for who I was,” he says.

He began to read to improve the reading skills he sorely neglected in school. He also chose to help and guide new inmates, and found that he enjoyed helping others.

Today, James is touring middle and high schools, along with colleges in Pennsylvania and other nearby states. Recent stops include The Ohio State University, and in nearby Shiremanstown, River Rock Academy, where he spoke to adjudicated youth. James says he is looking forward to taking his speaking tour to charter schools in Houston. He also uses his affinity for helping others by being a life coach.

He and his wife, Annie, welcomed a baby girl this month. Her name is Mireya, which means “miracle.”

More information about James and his book can be found at his website. It includes video links, blog entries and contact information.

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Jekyll and Hyde – and Hyde and Hyde and Hyde: The Stage is Set

By Christine Fusselman

Media Club Reporter

Murder! Mystery! Mayhem!

This steampunk version of the Victorian era Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, playing in the Capital BlueCross Theatre in The Underground Nov. 19 and 20, promises to be unlike any you’ve seen.

Dr. Jekyll is confronted by not one, but multiple facets of his own alter ego in this adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher.

Director Janet Bixler, theater director and Central Penn faculty member, says she chose to use the steampunk style because it is a way to add elements of science-fiction from the industrial age, along with fun and creative costumes and staging.

Steampunk is a theatrical costuming and literary science fiction and fantasy genre that combines Victorian-era clothing and contemporary or old-looking mechanics, usually operated by steam.

“This [adaptation] adds a level of intrigue to the original in the way that he adds multiple Hydes,” Bixler says. “It becomes a more community story than a story of one man. Using four actors to play multiple roles symbolizes how gray our moral compass is and heightens the level of science fiction.”

Some of the players will be switching characters without switching costumes, making for quick, short scenes, according to Bixler. She says the play is very action-driven, yet very poetic.

Referring to this adaptation versus the original, Bixler says, “It has the same intention, but Hatcher broke it down to the essence of determining for oneself where you are on the (morality) spectrum of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

In this scene, Tyler Willis plays a surgical student who is trying to avoid the wrath of Dr. Carew, played by Paul Whitman. Dr. Carew is angry with Dr. Jekyll, played by Frank Butcher.

In this scene, Tyler Willis plays a surgical student who is trying to avoid the wrath of Dr. Carew, played by Paul Whitman. Dr. Carew is angry with Dr. Jekyll, played by Frank Butcher.  Photo by Christine Fusselman.

 

Sharing the stage with community members

Auditions were held in August and students, alumni and two community members were cast. When some of the cast left due to scheduling conflicts, two more community members were added, both of them experienced actors.

“I love the fact that the play calls on most of the actors to play more than one role,” says Paul Whitman, one of the community actors. “For years now, I’ve been an avid fan of Victorian melodrama as portrayed in BBC TV productions, so I’ve had huge fun trying out a cockney accent for Mr. Sanderson, the personal enquiries agent, and an Irish accent for the police inspector. It makes me wish I had taken to the stage a long time before this.”

Whitman added: “The blend of community members along with students has been great fun.”

Criminal justice student and actor Teta Gaye, 20, said she likes the community involvement.

“I feel like everything works much smoother and faster,” Gaye says “Central Penn College students should get involved more because of the opportunity, experience and the fun.”

Besides Gaye, the cast includes Central Penn students Tyler Willis, Alexis Ensley-Gregg and Jessica Grice. Besides Whitman, community cast members include Frank Butcher, Bob Zaccano and Anthony Geraci.

This scene depicts some of the same actors in different roles. (l to r) Teta Gaye is playing Poole, seated next to her is Paul Butcher as Jekyll, behind Butcher is Paul Whitman in the role of Enfield, and on the far right is Bob Zaccano as Utterson. Photo by Christine Fusselman.

This scene depicts some of the same actors in different roles. (l to r) Teta Gaye is playing Poole, seated next to her is Paul Butcher as Jekyll, behind Butcher is Paul Whitman in the role of Enfield, and on the far right is Bob Zaccano as Utterson.
Photo by Christine Fusselman.

It takes a village

“Although there are one-person shows, no production could be successful without a crew,” Bixler says.

The crew for this show includes Central Penn Students Daniel Blichasz, tech manager; Danielle Farber, stage manager; Jaida May-Woodfolk, crew; and Ashley Walker, house manager.

Community theatre member Mandi Lea Hurley is the dresser and steampunk subject-matter expert, and Aaron Lute, is the Central Penn Central technical support specialist to round out the crew.

If you go

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will begin at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20. Tickets cost $7 general admission and $3 for students.

Tickets will be available at the box office. They can also be purchased online at http://www.centralpenn.edu/college-services/capital-bluecross-theatre/.

That page also has information about the Capital BlueCross Theatre.

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Student Players Delight Youngsters at Fall Harvest

By Kimberly Crone

Media Club Reporter

 

Once again, members of the Central Penn Players Drama Club demonstrated their acting chops when they performed the play Mysterious Golden Rose during Fall Harvest on Oct. 24.

The children’s play is an annual event, and as always, the Central Penn Players did not disappoint.

As children sat on the floor in front of the stage, the performers delighted spectators of all ages in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on campus. In addition to running among the audience members, the cast also interacted with the children during the performance, which prompted some hilarious responses.

Although the kids were energized throughout the play, several were tongue-tied afterward when asked about their favorite part or characters, but other spoke right up.

“The two girls were my favorite,” young audience member Jamel said.

He was referring to Annabelle and Anastasia, played by actors Teta Gaye and Jaida May-Woodfolk, respectively.

Danielle Farber, Daniel Blichasz, Teta Gaye, and Jaida May-Woodfolk share a laugh with the audience.

Danielle Farber, Daniel Blichasz, Teta Gaye, and Jaida May-Woodfolk share a laugh with the audience.  Photo by Christine Fusselman.

The play, written by the Central Penn Players Drama Club and inspired by classic fairy tale books, was about two friends who question whether the mysterious golden rose they discover is magical, after they face a series of peculiar adventures in Fairyland.

Daniel Blichasz, who played the roles of the troll, dragon and tree, was ecstatic after the performance. As the troll, he frightened Annabelle and Anastasia at first, but by the end of the play, he had achieved the thing he was searching for – their friendship.

“It went wonderful,” he said. “All the actors were energized. We brought it to the table, and the kids enjoyed it.”

Tyler Willis, who played the knight, agreed.

“It went spectacular,” he said.

Cast member, Tyler Willis, answers a question for an audience member during the post-show question and answer session. Seated next to him are (l) Ashley Walker and (r) DaShawn Godfrey.

Cast member, Tyler Willis, answers a question for an audience member during the post-show question and answer session. Seated next to him are (l) Ashley Walker and (r) DaShawn Godfrey.  Photo by Christine Fusselman.

Professor Janet Bixler was pleased with the children’s play as well as with the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, members of which had performed earlier in the day.

“Today’s been going really well,” Bixler said following Mysterious Golden Rose. “The Pennsylvania Regional Ballet put on a contemporary number and two ballet pieces. The dancers ranged in age from 7 to teenagers. We had almost a full house for them. The kids’ play was high energy.”

Bixler said the Central Penn Players are proud of themselves, and that they should be because of the hard work they put into the production.


 

The Cast

Annabel – Teta Gaye

Anastasia – Jaida May-Woodfolk

King – DaShawn Godfrey

Knight – Tyler Willis

Mysterious Stranger – Ashley Walker

Troll, Dragon and Tree – Daniel Blichasz

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Campus Players, Youth Ballet To Perform at Fall Harvest

By Kimberly Crone

Media Club Reporter

The Central Penn Players Drama Club is primed for the curtain to rise in the Capital Blue Cross Theatre in The Underground at Fall Harvest on Saturday.

Central Penn Theater Director Janet Bixler said she is especially excited about this year’s lineup.

Grace in Motion

Pennsylvania Regional Ballet youth between the ages of 6 and 18 will present duets and group performances from noon to 12:30.

“I think it’s great that we as an East Penn Township nonprofit can give back to the community and to the Central Penn community with this performance,” the ballet’s executive director, and Central Penn marketing and merchandising alumna, Kathryn Aumiller said.

Drama, Please!

Also, from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m., the Central Penn Players will stage a play the members created.

The play, Mysterious Golden Rose, is particularly suitable for children 2 to 8.

Ashley Walker plays "The mysterious stranger".

Ashley Walker plays “The mysterious stranger”.  Photo by Christine Fusselman.

 

Bixler said she’s especially proud of the drama club students for creating the play, and is excited about the performance.

Danielle Farber plays the antagonist in the play, the Witch and Daniel Blichasz plays the dragon in Mysterious Golden Rose.

Danielle Farber plays the antagonist in the play, the witch, and Daniel Blichasz plays the dragon in Mysterious Golden Rose.  Photo by Christine Fusselman.

In the play, two best friends take a walk through Fairyland and encounter several challenges. A stranger suddenly appears with a magical golden rose, leaving one friend to believe the rose will solve all their problems.

Will it?

Bixler’s lips are sealed, so people will have to see the play to find out.

Have a Few Laughs

Giggles and guffaws will be sure to fly when standup comic Earl David Reed returns to Central Penn, taking center stage at 1:45.

Reed, a local favorite, and also popular in cities such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, has performed at over 100 colleges and comedy clubs.

For more information on Reed, go to www.imearldavidreed.com.

Also, find more about Fall Harvest, alumni weekend and Central Penn College at www.centralpenn.edu.

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