Port Richmond: Neighborhood Theater Company Presents “Man of la Mancha.”

The Theatre Company of Port Richmond has been preparing for their spring musical “Man of La Mancha.”

The company has made plenty of progress over the years. They began 32 years ago, performing at Nativity Parish. They moved productions to the nearby Lithuanian Music Hall in 1991.

Jim McDermott, the director of this year’s production, added a special element to the show this year – dinner with the show.

“The dinner is homemade by us,” said McDermott. “The crew comes in Saturday and Sunday morning and makes the dinner downstairs. It’s more of a festive atmosphere as opposed to just coming and seeing the show.”

Buffet tables are set up in the theatre so that the audience can enjoy a meal while they watch the show.

Auditions for the production were held in December, leaving three months to assemble the musical. Despite the limited amount of time to prepare for the show, they still managed to put together an elaborate set.

“Our shows always end the week before Easter,” said McDermott. “This year Easter is so early that we were up against it on time.”

Some of the actors have been with the company for years, while others are just getting their feet wet. The youngest performer is 15-years old, while the oldest is in his 60s, said McDermott.

“We’re like a big family,” said Robert Ware, one of the lead actors, who’s been in more than 20 productions. “We care about each other a lot. When people join we really take them in.”

The company did all sorts of fundraising to help with the cost for the spring musical.

“We have a chance drive, sell ads from our ad book, sell T-shirts and concessions, fundraise and ticket sales,” said McDermott.

The Theatre Company is always looking for more people who want to get involved, and they encourage kids to join.

“You have football and basketball teams but you don’t have anything else for the kids who don’t do that,” said McDermott. “So, we like to try and do shows where we can get more kids involved.”

– Photo, video and text by Alison Kuklinski.

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