“Here at the Timothy Murphy Playhouse,” says Dove Karn of Cobleskill, “it really is, truly, community theater at its best.”
The theater troupe that started back in the 1970s, went dark for a couple of years and then sprang back to life in 1995, looks as if it’s here to stay. This weekend at the Middleburgh High School Auditorium, the group will put on its major production of the season, “Once On This Island,” under the direction of Joel Bramer.
“There are a lot of people who step forward and volunteer,” said Karn, who is serving as producer of this summer’s show.
“Nearly everybody associated with the company volunteers in some way if they’re not in the show, and we have a lot of parents and family members of the cast who come in and help. It really is a community-wide effort.”
‘Once On This Island’ by the Timothy Murphy Players
WHERE: Middleburgh High School, 245 Main St. Middleburgh
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $10, $8 for students and seniors
MORE INFO: www.timothymurphyplayhouse.org, 852-4099
“Once On This Island” is a musical written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The story of a peasant girl named Ti Moune on a tropical island who uses the power of love to bring people of different social classes together, “Once On This Island” didn’t win a Tony when it came out on Broadway in 1990 but it did earn eight nominations.
“It’s a family show, absolutely for all ages,” said Bramer. “Two people are in love, but there is an economic disparity between the two and as a result they have some choices they have to make. There’s very much a Greek mythology feel to the story with gods that are very flawed characters walking among humanity.”
Bramer didn’t begin acting until his senior year at Schoharie High when he played Jud in a school production of “Oklahoma!” Two years later he was in the ensemble of “Oliver!” for the Timothy Murphy Players and he hasn’t stopped being involved in some way ever since. Just last year he took on the job as general manager of the Schenectady Civic Playhouse, but still has found the time to continue to make contributions out in the Schoharie Valley.
“I met my wife and all my in-laws through this company at the very first show I did here, so it means a lot to me,” he said. “I’m grateful, and I’ve built and painted a lot of sets and have met some wonderful people. I’ve tried to stay involved, and I have in some way for 20 years now.”
His most recent acting gig came last season at Schenectady Civic in “The Understudy.”
Playing the role of the young Ti Moune is Megan Bramer, Joel’s daughter and a fourth-grader in the Middleburgh school district. Playing the older Ti Moune is Khrystina Warnstadt, while William Koeppe plays Daniel. Jonathan Meredith is the musical director.
According to Karn, the annual adult production of the Timothy Murphy Players is always well-attended. Last week the group put on its children’s production, “Once Upon a Mattress.”
“We tend to get more people with our kids’ production, but we still get a pretty good following for our big annual show,” she said.
“We get people from all over Schoharie County, and people from Delaware, Greene and Schenectady County coming to our show.
“I think a lot of people are surprised by the quality of our productions.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]