Parkland thespians to enter in-person through the ‘Stage Door’
By Susan Bryant
Parkland High School actors will present “Stage Door,” on Oct. 8 and 9, the first in-person performance on stage in almost two years.
“Stage Door,” written by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, is set in 1930.
The play tells the story of struggling actresses who live in a New York City boardinghouse.
Rachel Kanter, who plays Kaye Hamilton, and Emily Bachl, who plays Judith Canfield, commented on their characters.
Kanter said Kaye, who comes from an abusive relationship, hopes to create a new life as an actress.
“She is a woman of strength and depth, who is so much more than what happened to her,” Kanter said.
“I like being in this play because, as a cast, I think we can all relate to the show.
“The passion each character feels about theater, we feel it, too, and that bonds us.
“I love this show especially for that reason.”
“Stage Door” deals with serious issues such as abuse.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please start having this conversation now,” Kanter said.
Bachl’s character, Judith, is a contrast from the other girls in the house.
“She is quite sarcastic and very witty,” she said. “Judith doesn’t hold back and isn’t afraid to say what’s really on her mind.
“I love playing Judith because she’s so entertaining and outgoing.
“I’m so excited to get back on stage and perform.”
Grace Werteen commented on her character, Terry Randall.
“Terry is a headstrong, confident woman who knows what she wants,” Werteen said. “She is hardworking, resilient and is willing to put her all into her work.
“Likewise, she honors her values and refuses to change for anyone or anything.
“Throughout the play, we can see Terry’s devotion and infatuation with the theater. She dreams of making a career on the stage and doing what she loves for the rest of her life.”
Werteen enjoys playing Terry because she teaches her how to be a better person.
“Terry is so kind, strong and determined,” Werteen said. “She shows moments of such bravery while also demonstrating compassion.
“Her characteristics are so admirable, and I feel like it is a great learning opportunity for day-to-day life.”
Andrew Sachse, who plays Keith Burgess, and Marcus Shin, who plays David Kingsley, also commented on their roles.
Sachse said Keith is a playwright who is trying to make it big with his plays about the masses, but later in the show his priorities change.
“Keith is a really fun character to play because I get to show how much change occurs in his character through the span of the show,” he said.
Sachse said he enjoys being in this show because it is such a great play, and he has made many bonds in the process.
“I would just like to thank Mr. Stutz and the entire crew who have made the show possible,” Sachse said. “I am also really excited to put on live theater again after a year and a half.”
Shin plays Kingsley, a big time Hollywood producer who has a deep love for the theater.
“He left working in the theater for monetary purposes and holds a deep guilt for it,” Shin said. “Over the course of the show, we see him decide to go back to the theater and leave Hollywood.”
Shin enjoys playing Kingsley because he has the same love and appreciation for the theater that he and many of his peers have.
“It’s been very fun playing a more nuanced character and getting to slowly show more of their true colors, and playing Kingsley really helps put things in perspective for me on the struggles that I may face in the future, since I plan on pursuing a career in theater,” he stated.
The play is directed by Parkland Director of Visual and Performing Arts Mark A. Stutz and Music Director Frank Anonia with assistance from Damon Gelb, as technical director and Michael McDonald, as costume designer.
Stutz said McDonald, who was born and raised in Allentown, is a Tony Nominated costume designer.
“He has designed for Broadway and many regional theaters,” he said. “He also teaches at NYU and Rutgers among other places.”
Stutz also said this is his last show at Parkland.
“I am retiring in January 2022 after 22 years of working with the district,” he stated.
Stutz explained why he chose “Stage Door.”
“I wanted to give a lot of students a chance to get back onstage. For many it has been almost two years since they have performed in front of a live audience,” Stutz said. “The show is about a group of young women determined to succeed in the theater. It has a real importance in our current situation.”
“Stage Door” performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 in the high school auditorium.
To purchase tickets, go to parklandsd.org/tickets.
All patrons must wear face coverings to be allowed to enter the auditorium.