Persimmon tree playersPersimmon Tree Players (PTP) is getting ready for a new season of shows. The future looks bright for a theater group that has been in existence for over 20 years.

The saying in some theater circles is “creativity is contagious,” and it is challenging, magical, imaginative and fun. However, turnover in community theater often arises due to time constraints and other commitments of those who participate.

“There is a tremendous satisfaction in being part of creating an enjoyable experience for my neighbors. I enjoy the company of my theater community, whether I am building a set or playing a role on stage,” said longtime PTP veteran George Gaige.

Gaige said he would like to see PTP include specialty shows such as musicals, children’s theater and variety or talent events. Gaige’s enthusiasm and energy is evident when speaking about theater and he puts that same energy into his performances and set designs. When President Warren Johnson left in February after 13 years, Beth Sherk took over, and Gaige has been supportive of building the group and keeping it moving forward.

Sherk is often found in the director’s seat. She has been with PTP since it began. Like Gaige, she is in her element in the theater, feeding off the energy of the actors and crew and giving inspiration in return.

Performers give up a lot of time doing a show, but once they take that bow, like Gaige, they are hooked. Both Gaige and Robert Strohmayer, also a long-time member, agree that putting a smile on someone’s face is worth all the time and effort.

“I love being able to make people laugh. There is a great sense of accomplishment in having a full house reacting to your words on stage,” said Gaige.

“I am excited about the shows we picked for this season,” said Sherk, who is directing The Games Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays.

“Mystery comedies are a good formula for us and have been successful in past years. We thought this one was a good choice with the added benefit of a holiday theme.”

Sherk described the hilarious whodunit that centers around an eccentric Broadway star – who often portrays Sherlock Holmes on the stage –who tries to ferret out the person who attempted to kill him when he invites his cast mates to visit him at his Connecticut castle. But then another murder occurs and everyone is suspect. The cast includes a distinctive set of characters including a bumbling female detective and a scheming theater critic.

Sherk added that next spring the show will be Dearly Beloved, another comedy about a dysfunctional family.

Theater is an experience unlike any other. Even those who work backstage feel the magic when the lights come up and they hear the applause. Theater isn’t just about being on stage, it’s about being part of something unique and special.