TELL US YOUR STORY: Why do you love Thalian Hall?


 

We want to hear from YOU, our members and patrons. We really want to know what you think of us and if you've had an experience at Thalian Hall that you'll never forget. We hope you send a  story for us to share, and if it's selected you'll receive a $25 gift credit to the Thalian Hall gift shop!   

 


 

Guidelines: Send us a story, a paragraph or two, of your expieriences. Please send your email to Melmiedema@thalianhall.org

 


Posted on 1/25/17

 

Moms Who Act

 

(L: Maggie Miller C: Alisa Harris, R: Nina Repeta featured in the old lobby with photos of their kids)

 

By: Mary Jane McKittrick, Contributing Communications Consultant to Thalian Hall

 

Meet three women with a common bond. They balance the dicey demands of acting, with the multi-dimensional role of a lifetime – being a mom. Between them, Alisa Harris, Maggie Miller, and Nina Repeta have four sons; all under the age of ten. They’ll be appearing onstage in Thalian Halls’ Pied Piper Children’s Musical presentation of: The Adventures of Bonnie Reid, Queen of the Pirate Ants.

 

They take performing and parenting seriously, but their shared experiences and comradery spark peals of laughter. “We are changing lives with every show,” says Nina Repeta. “There are children who might not otherwise experience theater, but to be in this space, it’s unlike any other theater. It’s like being in a sacred place. Even if you can’t articulate it you can feel it.” The other women agree. Maggie Miller says, “You feel the energy of every performer who has stepped on that stage and gone before you.” Alisa Harris quips, “Some of those performers may not be gone. There’s a lot of haunted history here, too!”

 

Alisa plays Bonnie Reid, Queen of the Pirates. She says the theme of this play is, Sharing. And then, in her best pirate voice she explains, “Bonnie seeks this treasure, and then, she doesn’t want to share it. But then she realizes it’s more important to share, because treasure is best when it is shared.” Fortunately, some 6,000 children are expected to share in this interactive, life lesson. First and second graders from New Hanover county schools will be bussed to the downtown landmark theater for 10 performances over 5 days.

 

“I dare any actor to tell me there’s a better sound than when you hear 400 children at a time giggling and laughing,” says Maggie Miller. Alisa agrees. “It’s just magic.” “They really get into it, and it never gets old,” says Nina.

 

Sometimes, the actor/moms must remind themselves of those delightful moments when the demands of motherhood, evening rehearsals, and morning performances, create a constant state of sleep deprivation. “But you know that’s something you learn by being in theater. The show must go on,” says Maggie. She recalls the time she had to step in and replace an actor who didn’t show up. “You preach this stuff to your kids. You show up. You fight through your fear. You must be brave. You do your job.”

 

Integrating their two worlds is very important to these women. They sometimes bring their sons to rehearsals to better understand what mom does outside the home.  “My son, Ashton (4yrs old) is adopted and I am a single mom,” says Alisa. “So, making sure he sees me having friends and doing other things, is important to me.” As for Nina’s 8yr old son, Banks, she says he’s getting into the act. “He actually found a way to sort of audition after watching what goes on here. Now I’m riding the coattails of my son!” It’s important to these women that the quarter of a century tradition of Pied Piper Theater be viewed as a family event. Maggie’s 2 yr old son, Mac, is not quite old enough to tag along. On the other hand, she says, Henry is fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. “I think even as Henry (5 yrs old) and Ashton sit and watch us rehearse, this place creates a reverence that keeps them in line. You’d think having all those children in the audience at one time, there’d be chaos. But, even they behave.”

 

When you ask these performers to explain the magic of the Pied Piper experience they’ll tell you it’s not like watching cartoons on a flat screen. They say it’s not just that it’s specifically geared for young children. They claim it’s funny and true in a theatrical sense with sound, music, a curtain, and a setting like no other. You won’t find Thalian Hall on Netflix.

 

“This is a historic monument to what we represent,” says Nina. “It’s the whole history of Wilmington, NC. This theater is the only one of its kind this side of the Mississippi River.” Take it from these moms who act, a Pied Piper performance will lead you to a theatrical experience of pure enchantment.

 

There is one public performance of, The Adventures of Bonnie Reed, Queen of the Pirate Ants on Sunday, January 29th at 3:00pm. Tickets are $10 each. For ticket information visit www.thalianhall.org or call 910 632-2285

 

 


Posted on 1/12/2017

 

 

A Ticket to a World of Experiences

 

(L. Victor Allocci, R. Judy Greenhut)

 

By: Mary Jane McKittrick, Contributing Communications Consultant to Thalian Hall

 

 

Everything at Thalian Hall is just right. That’s what Victor Alocci will tell you. He discovered the Port City landmark theater on a whim. “A few years ago, I started getting books about Wilmington and its history. I used to come downtown and walk the streets to see where these places were and what was going on. I wandered in here and took a good look around, and that was it.”

 

Victor was single at the time, but he was determined to get in on the act. So, he started buying tickets to everything Thalian Hall had to offer.  Plays, musicals, opera, concerts, movies, performances for charities – you name it – Victor was there. The rich history of the place was a draw, but the intimacy of this theater experience keeps him coming back.  “Believe it or not, the quality of the sound, the lighting is very good here. Whether it’s just one person on stage talking, or a concert, it’s always good. I’ve been to another, larger, theater in town. I went to some concerts and the sound was either too loud or too soft.”

 

Victor says there’s yet another important perk you discover at this venue. The quality of the local talent knocks him out. When he first started coming to shows, Victor didn’t know any of the actors. “But after a while, you see the same people performing and you see the range they have. Sometimes they’re the lead; other times they’re part of an ensemble cast. But they’re always amazing.”

 

These days, Victor knows many of the people who work at Thalian on a first name basis. He says he now feels like a member of their extended family. “Everyone who works here makes you feel at home.”

 

He believes this is a place that appeals to people of all ages. “No matter if you’re someone who’s retired and wants to get back into something, or a young person sampling the arts for the first time, Thalian has something for everyone. Here you can interact with everyone from the people who sell you a ticket to the actors on the stage.”

 

Victor makes a clear distinction between the appeal of live theater as opposed to interacting with a TV or a movie screen.  He points to a recent tribute to Carole King as an example of spontaneous participation. “That’s one show where everyone started to sing along. I think it’s easy to engage the audience because it is an intimate setting. You feel like you’re part of the performance.”

 

Clearly Victor Alocci has been bitten by the theater bug. By the way, he’s got the art of buying tickets in bulk down to a science. We don’t want to give away his trade secrets. But you can ask him yourself next time you attend an event at Thalian Hall!

 


POSTED 12/21/2016

 

Feels Like Home

(L: Melissa Miedema, Development Director and R: Regina Steeneck)

By: Mary Jane McKittrick, Contributing Communications Consultant to Thalian Hall

 

As far as Regina Steeneck is concerned, Thalian Hall is the gift that keeps on giving. For nearly a decade, she continues to be impressed with the diversity of programming that’s available. Whether she attends a musical, a play, or a classic film or sees a touring star, Regina says the setting and the people make the Wilmington landmark feel like home.

 

“First, it’s a historical gem. It’s been around since 1858. You have the beauty of the exterior with those majestic columns. And inside, the paint, the décor, all of it is so classic and yet comfortable. And, the acoustics are remarkable!”

 

Regina hails from Virginia but spent her working years in Connecticut. Even there, she tended to support the smaller theaters rather than go into New York where the larger stages beckoned. She just prefers the more intimate setting that a 550-600 seat theater like Thalian provides.

 

“There’s a familiarity you get here. You almost feel a part of the production. You’re not lost in a huge crowd. I have even had a chance to sit in one of the opera box seats. It felt like the actors were there with you.” Regina is awestruck by the quality of local talent that Thalian attracts. “It’s totally amazing that people from this community who appear in these productions, have such incredible voices and acting talent. The choreography is unbelievable and so are the costumes. The whole thing is wonderful.”

 

Regina says she also values the above-and-beyond customer service she encounters. “It’s the same when you’re dealing with the box office, talking with the ushers, meeting the actors after a performance, or being offered the wonderful food in the Joseph Jefferson VIP Club. Everyone makes you feel like you matter; like you’re part of a family.”

 

Even though she likes her theater to be on the smaller side, Regina lives big. Once, while travelling in China with her husband, Lee, and friends from their St. James community near Southport, NC, she met some fellow travelers from Wilmington. “One of the ways we keep in touch is by meeting here to see a performance. Thalian Hall became a common bond that has held us together over the years.”

 

An additional bonus to an evening  at Thalian, is that the entertainment value doesn’t end when the lights come up. “The whole hour’s drive back home, Lee and I are discussing what we saw. It’s just another dimension to our theater experience that keeps us coming back time and again.”

 

An avid traveler, Regina flies off to some far-flung destinations like the Taj Mahal and Dubai. Not to worry. After her return, Regina will be back, no doubt sitting in one of her favorite seats taking in a performance. That’s where you can find her, in a place where she feels at home, Thalian Hall.

 


 

POSTED: 12/21/2016

 

It really is 'A Wonderful Life'

(L: Shannon Flowers and R: Sammy Flowers)

By: Mary Jane McKittrick, Contributing Communications Consultant for Thalian Hall

 

In a time of uncertainty, there’s one thing you can count on. The evening of December 21st, Sammy Flowers and his wife, Shannon, will be exactly where you’d expect to find them. They’ll be in the audience in Thalian Hall for this year’s showing of, It’s a Wonderful Life. Like many people in town, over the years, they’ve made this event part of their holiday tradition. As far as they’re concerned, why would anyone want to be anywhere else? Sammy will tell you, “You can feel it. The Christmas spirit is in here that night. It’s really exciting.”

 

Still, some people might wonder.  Why go downtown Wilmington, to watch the classic, Jimmy Stewart film, when you can just view it from the comfort of your couch?

 

“That’s the thing. It was on TV a couple of nights ago,” says Sammy. “I asked Shannon if she wanted to watch it, and she said no, let’s wait.” As Shannon sees it, experiencing the film in the splendor of an historic theater, makes the past seem present.

 

“Thalian Hall is living history. We come here for plays and musicals and such. But with this, you have a large screen with a whole group of people to enjoy it with you. Some are seeing the film for the first time. Nothing gets better than this.” Shannon says, “We weren’t around back when the film was originally shown in 1946. But we can get a feel of what it was like to be in a theater back then.”

 

Her husband wasn’t always such an avid theatergoer. As Sammy tells it, he was something of a jock in college. But, in his senior year fate intervened. He was short on arts electives. That’s when he met and alluring music major named, Shannon. She dragged him to all sorts of arts events. He caught the bug. Later, their son did, too. When he was young, Sam played drums in the pit with the orchestra at Thalian from time to time. Now’s he’s in college in Charlotte playing in the marching band and majoring in what else? History!

 

Sammy is the Fire Marshal for the City of Wilmington Fire Department. He will be the Assistant Chief in Operations after the first of the year. Being emotionally invested in the town where he works and lives comes naturally to him. Shannon teaches music at Wrightsboro Elementary and feels the same way. They like to support local talent and businesses.

 

“We feel we have a real connection to Thalian,” says Shannon. “Because of my involvement in the arts, whether it’s someone playing an instrument, or someone on the stage, we come so often we even have favorite actors and actresses that we love to see.” For Sammy, that stage to audience connection doesn’t end at the footlights. “Because so much of the talent is local,” says Sammy, “you often see them out at dinner, or pass them on the street downtown. Where else does that happen?”

 

It’s clear that being part of the Thalian Hall experience is something that Sammy and Shannon celebrate and want to share with others. Is it any wonder why this holiday they will again pay homage to a film that reminds all of us, this is in fact, a wonderful life!

 



About Thalian Hall and THCPA

Thalian Hall is one of the oldest theatres in the United States and has been in almost continuous use since its opening in 1858. The theatre has been under the management of the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (THCPA) since 1963.

 

The vision of Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. is to create a culturally vibrant community by expanding education, entertainment, and the imagination through the arts.

 

For more information contact Melissa Miedema, Development Director at 910-632-2282 or visit us at thalianhall.org