A fine treasure in Ephrata

By on February 26, 2014

Editor,

Ephrata Review,

This past Sunday I had the tremendous opportunity of experiencing one of the finest treasures Ephrata has to offer: a musical at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center (EPAC). One of my friends invited my two youngest children and I to attend the “Kids for Kids” performance of The Wizard of Oz. As such, the entire cast was made up of local students.

Frankly, I was utterly blown away at the quality of the performance. As a father of four, I know how hard it can sometimes be to coral the energies of my own children, let alone over 60 of them between the ages of 5 and 16. And unlike so many school pageants, each of the children performers knew their lines, their songs and most importantly, was enthusiastic about their performance.

The set was stunning, creative and very mindfully developed to become a huge non-speaking part of the program. The props, the costumes, even the effects contributed to the fine work of these fine young thespians to offer a pure delight for all.

It’s a credit to the community to continue supporting EPAC so that such opportunities can continue well into the future. Each of those who were a part of The Wizard of Oz was granted excellent exposure to all that goes into community theater: long hours of practice, set creation, lighting, publicity and the thrill of performing in front of friends, family and piers. But for the broader community at large, groups such as EPAC offers an affordable form of entertainment a cut above the usual trip to the Cineplex. The layout of the EPAC stage almost guarantees that every seat is a great seat, where the occupant truly feels like they are part of the show. And, having a vibrant, active community theater enhances the culture of our town.

I would also mention that many stars of Hollywood and Broadway have graced the EPAC stage over the years. Most recently, two up and coming stars on the national scene have local roots to EPAC: Jonathan Groff and James Wolpert.

My hat goes off to the huge cast of characters both on and off the set of The Wizard of Oz for a job very well done. Director and choreographer Irving Gonzales was able to project his considerable energy, passion and talent to the cast and crew to fabulous result.

If any of your readers are among those who have never been to a play or musical at EPAC, I would challenge them to make 2014 the year they give it a try. They will be glad they did. And, hopefully, they will likewise find it in their hearts to make even a small donation to help keep EPAC the vibrant community treasure that it is.

Gary P. Klinger

Ephrata

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