First Posted: 12/15/2014
The Waverly Community House will be the setting for the heart-warming family musical, “The Christmas Schooner,” on Dec. 19 and 20. The Wyoming County Players will present the seasonal favorite, a tale about American immigrants based on true events.
A catchy, emotionally rich score and comforting story evoke a renewed sense of “the reason for the season,” according to Kim Whipple, co-founder of the Wyoming County Players. The Dickens-style story takes the audience back in time to early Chicago, a place built on the sweat of hardworking people. The play offers a rousing score which includes period folk songs, traditional carols and pop ballads.
“We’ve put on this musical every year since 2007,” Whipple explained. “The music is just incredible. It’s a great introduction to the Christmas season and it reminds people what Christmas is really all about.”
Leading lady Katherine Curry is newly-replanted in the region to raise her family after performing on the New York stage for years. Roger Mattes plays the male lead. Mattes is a Nicholson resident, local attorney and Rotary Club member.
Ron and Kim Whipple started the Wyoming County Players 35 years ago. The then-newlyweds were theatre lovers who had both grown up on stage. Ron had been performing on stage since age 5 Kim had been dancing since age 3 and had become trained in the Cecchetti style as a serious ballet dancer. Her parents owned what is now the Dietrich Theatre, as well as the Starlite Drive-In, the first drive-in movie theatre in Northeastern Pennsylvania, opened in 1947.
The Wyoming County Players are deeply ingrained in the community. They perform 15-20 plays each year, for which actors from all over the area audition. In addition to presenting things like murder mystery dinner theatre, summer theatre under the stars and dessert theatre, they perform in historic skits at the Tunkhannock Founder’s Day event, Nicholson Bridge Day and Christmas in Our Hometown.
As if that weren’t enough, this energetic pair own the Whipple Dance Studio. Their dancers are known for their crowd-forming performances in the window of Tunkhannock’s Greenwood’s Furniture Store every year during Christmas in Our Hometown.
The couple’s next endeavor is to open the Starlite Playhouse, a dinner theatre on Route 29 in Tunkhannock. They have formed a non-profit organization and are currently seeking grants and other funding for the construction of the Shakespearian Sticks exterior architecture.
“The interior will resemble a Paris opera house,” Kim described, “and will seat 400.” The theatre is a $1.5 million project they hope to have up and running within five years.
Performances of “The Christmas Schooner” at the Waverly Community House will be at 7 p.m. on Friday Dec. 19 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20. General admission tickets are $10 with tickets for senior citizens and children 12 and under being $7. They may be purchased at the door, by calling 570-836-6986 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.