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Providence Players Board Matter
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Supervisor Linda Q. Smyth
Chairman Gerry Connolly

Providence Players
March 21, 2005

Mr. Chairman: It is with great pleasure that I ask you to join me in this joint board matter to recognize the Providence Players of Fairfax. The Players, originally formed in 1998, is a "community theater troupe" in the truest sense. The Providence Players of Fairfax was incorporated in 2001 as a nonprofit organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The organization's mission is to provide entertaining and affordable quality theater experience in the greater Fairfax community while providing an opportunity for Fairfax area residents to participate in all aspects of theater production.

The Players are unique among Washington Area community theaters in that the company's focus extends beyond providing quality adult and family community theater productions. The Players also place a strong emphasis on educating and developing its membership, as well as building and developing strength within the overall organization. Where many community theater organizations struggle to find volunteers necessary to produce a single play, the Player's source of success has been due to its strong culture of volunteer membership building, developing directorial, acting, technical and production talents - critical to the company's ability to be an enduring source of quality and affordable theatrical entertainment. The Players actively seek out and welcome new members to whom extensive opportunities to learn and grow in all aspects of theater production are offered.

The Player's proven track record originated with their first Kaufman-Hart classic - You Can't Take It With You - as the Mantua PTA Players. The production played to an audience of 750 over a single weekend. In 1999, the company moved to the Frost Middle School stage as an affiliate of the Frost Middle School PTA and presented the comedy Macbeth Did It for a two-weekend engagement and entertained close to 1,000 people over four performances. Building on their earlier successes, in 2000-2001 the Players produced their first two-play season, presenting Gore Vidal's The Best Man and Ken Ludwig's Lend Me A Tenor. In 2001-2002, the Players staged its first three-production season of Arsenic and Old Lace, Born Yesterday, and a One-Act festival that included a never-before-performed, original, one-act musical, Let Me Sing, which was also selected to be performed this fall at the National Theater's Monday Night at the National series. With the undertaking of a three-production Season, the Players marked its arrival as an enduring source of quality, affordable theatrical entertainment in not only Providence District but in all of Fairfax County. During their 2002-2003 Season, the Players presented three plays by Pulitzer Prize winning authors: The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder; Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley; and George Washington Slept Here by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Their 2003-2004 Season opened with Michael Cooney's hilarious British farce Cash on Delivery and a winter offering of Neil Simon's The Good Doctor, a marvelously inventive series of linked dramatic sketches, each funnier than the last.

In the spring of 2004, the Providence Players of Fairfax entered into a partnership agreement with the Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services (CRS) and became the resident theater company at the newly renovated James Lee Community Center Theater. This partnership, in addition to establishing a theater home for the Players, provides CRS and the James Lee Community Center with tremendous opportunities for youth mentorship, complimentary tickets to encourage awareness and participation in Community Theater and financial support for the development of the theater as a "living and breathing" performing arts facility. The Players closed its 2003-2004 Season with the inaugural performance at the James Lee Community Center Theater presenting the Kaufman-Hart classic The Man Who Came To Dinner. The Player's 2004-2005 Season will be their first full season at the James Lee Community Center Theater - which opened with Harry Segall's Heaven Can Wait; winter production of Twelve Angry Men, which enjoyed record audiences and has solidified the company's presence in its new theater home; and the Season will close with the production of Agatha Christie's classic Witness for the Prosecution.

In 2004, the Players joined WATCH, a larger non-profit theater community in the Washington Area, to become better connected with the greater theater community in the Metropolitan Washington Area. WATCH is an alliance of more than 24 community theater companies in the metropolitan area to foster and encourage the growth of Community Theater; promote and enhance the image of Community Theater; and educate and inform the general public about the theatrical opportunities provided by the member theaters. The Player's production of The Man Who Came To Dinner has been recognized with eight WATCH nominations in both performance and technical categories. The Providence Players of Fairfax is the recipient of three 2004 WATCH Awards in the Outstanding Cameo Role, Outstanding Set Design and Outstanding Set Decoration categories.

In its relatively short history, the Player's accomplishments and commitments to Community Theater, by providing quality and affordable theater, is highly commendable and noteworthy. Furthermore, their sense of fellowship and desire to entertain will encourage and engage other visionaries, which include our youth and seniors, to the various performing arts venue in our communities. Therefore, I move that the Board of Supervisors recognition the Providence Players and invite them to come before the Board for an encore ovation to their 2004-2005 Season on April 4, 2005.


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