Old Library Theatre was announced the recipient of NJACT’s Perry Award for Community Theater of the Year at tonight’s 2017 Perry Awards ceremony, held at the Union County Performing Arts
Old Library Theatre was announced the recipient of NJACT’s Perry Award for Community Theater of the Year at tonight’s 2017 Perry Awards ceremony, held at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ.
Craig Tiede, current OLT President, accepted the award on the company’s behalf, and his remarks are below.
Congratulations to all who give of themselves to make OLT such a special place where art and memories are made!
Thank you. Receiving this recognition means a lot to all of us and we’re so grateful to those who wrote a letter of support or nomination on our behalf, to the executive board of NJACT for selecting us to receive the award, and everyone who donates their time and talents to Old Library Theatre, helping us engage, entertain, educate, and do what we love in the context of our greater lives, sharing that love to make others’ lives greater.
My name is Craig Tiede and I’ve been the president of Old Library Theatre since 2012. For those who’ve not heard of us, or for those who picture us performing finger puppet productions of The Brothers Grimm from behind book-filled stacks, here’s a primer: We are the resident theater company of the Fair Lawn Recreation Department in Fair Lawn, NJ. We perform in a beautiful 170-seat theater space that we share with a handful of other community and professional theater companies. We are in the midst of our 50th anniversary season and we produce eight shows per year – including original works and Broadway favorites. We are committed to showcasing talented performers of all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and stages of development, teaching them the art of creating live theater and bringing the joy of its creation to their community.
For many, community theater is a punch line. It’s some second-class version of a great art form, better left to the professionals, than to the part-timers who believe they could have been stars had they only not been “born too soon and started too late.” We’re seen as this collective of the ones who never made it, or never tried.
For others, community theater is a hobby. It’s just a fun place to go after school or work, where temporary, but intense, relationships are formed, memories are made, and we get to share our talents with our friends, family and coworkers.
And for others, community theater is a lifestyle, a hashtag, a second home, a first home – the partner, best friend, boss, and staff that never leaves us, even if it occasionally lets us down. It’s the blood that runs through our veins, the air we breathe, the proof of a life lived out loud.
To us, community theater is a privilege, and a calling. We choose to spend a portion of our lives engaged in this form of social intercourse and personal recreation because we know community theater matters. It makes a difference. It shapes, and transforms, lives. It brings stories and poses questions to communities they might not otherwise encounter. What we do, what we love, what we are so lucky to be celebrating here tonight, matters.
Our company, like most of yours, has its share of challenges. And in the years I’ve been involved, more than a few seemingly insurmountable obstacles. You know what I mean – the kinds of people, and situations, and tech weeks, and ticket sales – that make the joy and magic we’re trying to capture and share something only chemically possible with a great deal of alcohol, or distance, or passive aggressive social media posts.
But as artists, our creativity and persistence musn’t waver. And we, Old Library Theatre, have persisted. We have pushed ourselves to do better, be better, expect better, and attract better. And when we get it wrong, we recalibrate. And when we get it right, we don’t brag. We dig in. And we keep going, keep trying to do right, to spread joy, and allow ourselves to feel lucky that we get to do something that we love and that we know matters.
None of us think receiving this award means we’re the best community theater in New Jersey. We don’t think it means this was our best year, or the one where we finally got it right. We don’t think it means we’re any more or less deserving than any other community theater in New Jersey.
What we hope it means is that we’re on the right track and you’re proud to have us as members of this community. We are the dreamers, the creators, the storytellers, the educators, the risk-takers, the sharers of joy our communities need and are better for.
This group behind me – only a select few of those who make OLT the special place it is – work everyday to honor this community and our shared craft. We are not your competition – we are your collaborators. And we promise to keep working to ensure that the drama stays on the stage, that the work and the people who do it have value and are valued, and that our product and its impact make it easier for you to do the same within your own communities.
When daytime television superstar Susan Lucci finally won an Emmy Award, on her 19th nomination, she ended her acceptance speech this way: “I was only supposed to be on every other Tuesday. But thanks to you, I’m here. And I promise I will try my best never to let you down. I’m going back to that studio on Monday and I’m going to play ‘Erica Kane’ for all she’s worth.”
To you, our fellow creators, storytellers, educators, risk-takers, and sharers of joy, we leave you with this: We were only supposed to be a small theater of dreamers performing in an old library. Thanks to you, we’re here. And we promise we will try our best never to let you down. We’re going back to that theater tomorrow and we’re going to play ‘Community Theater of the Year’ for all it’s worth.
Old Library Theatre is please to announce the cast list for our Reader’s Theatre production of THIS: The Musical. THIS will be performed November 4th and 5th as part of our Reader’s Theatre. Tickets may be purchased by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 973-658-4420.
Director/Playwright- Eric Holgerson
Composer- Jennifer Sisco
Producer- Sheryl Heffernan
Music Director- Brad McMurray
Michael- Josh Salvador
Samantha- Angela Vida
Frankie- Ralph Rodriguez
Maxine- Ellie Eliades
Anthony & male characters- Thomas Winkler
Female characters- Stephanie Hillenberg
Old Library Theatre presents the North Jersey Community Theater premiere of Catch Me If You Can! The production will have a six performance run from October 20th to October 29th. Performances are at 8 p.m. on October 20th and 21st, as well as October 27th and 28th, and 2 p.m. on October 22nd and 29th. Purchase your tickets at Catch Me If You Can tickets today!
Old Library Theatre’s production of Children of Eden opens September 15th! Show times are September 15th-16th and 22nd-23rd at 8 p.m. and September 17th and 24th at 2 p.m. Get your tickets today!
Old Library Theatre (OLT) invites submissions for its 7th Annual One Act Play Festival. Winner of the NJACT Perry Award for Best Production of an Original Play in 2015 (and nominated again for our 2017 production!), this festival showcases original one act plays on our main stage!
This year’s festival will kick off our 51st season with performances January 26, 27 & 28, 2018. Auditions will be held in November 2017.
Submission criteria is as follows:
– All plays must be complete, one act works, running 15-30 minutes, with six or fewer characters.
– No musicals, please.
– Plays will be mounted with no budget, though they will be fully staged with necessary sound and lighting.
– Please e-mail submissions or questions to email@example.com by September 15, 2017. Playwrights who have not had plays produced in previous festivals will receive priority in selection.
All performances take place at George Frey Center for Performing Arts at 10-10 20th Street in Fair Lawn, NJ. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm.
Old Library Theatre is proud to announce that we have received 5 nominations for the NJACT Perry Awards! Congratulations to all the nominees!
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play – Cynthia Smith Barry, The Best Man
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical – Matthew Haines, Assassins
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical – Lauren Grof-Tisza, Oliver!
Best Production of an Original Play – Sheryl Heffernan & Linda Wielkotz, Producers; Matt Cavallo, Bill Kaufman, Megan Milko, and Rachel Lichter, Directors; David MacGregor, Donna Hoke, Phillip Way, Brianna Keller, and Dwayne Yancey (Writers), The 6th Annual One Act Play Festival
Best Production of an Original Musical – Craig M. Tiede (Producer/Director/Writer), Our Time: OLT Celebrates 50 Years of Musical Theater
At our November Monthly Meeting, I facilitated a discussion about how the executive board approaches planning and budgeting a season at OLT. For those not able to join us in person, here’s what you missed!
When first elected president, I encouraged the organization to conduct an open assessment – asking patrons and members to provide feedback on their experiences with, and perceptions, of OLT. The results of this 2013 community satisfaction survey gave us many valuable insights, from which we enacted a few substantive changes.
A leading piece of feedback received indicated that, though the talent on-stage and off was of a high caliber, OLT was not investing financially in them (production teams and musicians), nor in the visual components patrons looked most forward to enjoying – namely set and costume design. As a result, we began a years-long process of reallocating resources, fundraising and other initiatives that would allow us to provide our productions with additional funding for those production aspects. We increased stipends for members of the production team, added a set designer to all main stage productions, and increased budgets for sets, props and costumes.
At this same time, we began collecting and logging data – a must for any business. It’s important for us to understand who our patrons and performers are, what shows they want to see and participate in, and how our productions perform over time. We’ve used data from the past four seasons to help us plan season selection and budget productions selected. This has allowed us both to raise the quality and quantity of our productions. In fact, it’s that very relationship – quality and quantity – and the public confusion about how each relies on the other, that prompted me to discuss our internal planning at our November meeting. It’s important to me and all members of the board that our performers, production teams and members have a full understanding of how, and why, we operate as we do.
First, let’s start with some numbers that will be important to keep in mind:
– We perform in a space that has a maximum capacity of 170. For each performance, that’s the maximum number of tickets that can be sold.
– We have a staggered ticket pricing structure, which at our patrons’ urging we have not changed. We remain committed to not raising ticket prices – which currently are $20 (Adults), $18 (Students/Seniors), $15 (Groups), $10 (Children Under 12/Members) and $5 (House Staff). Over the past four seasons, our average ticket price has been $17.87.
– Over the past four seasons, our average ticket sales across all productions is 91 seats per performance. That’s an overall sales percentage of 53.89%.
– As part of our relationship with the Borough of Fair Lawn – we’re the resident theater company! – we give 20% of all ticket sales to them, following each production.
OLT productions run for one or two weekends, for a total of 3, 4 or 6 performances. Six performance runs are given to main stage musicals, four performance runs are given to one-weekend special event musicals, and three performance runs are given to plays. These performance numbers are based on projected ticket sales balanced against the cost to produce and license each specific show. Plays are much cheaper to produce than musicals – both because they don’t require musicians and because licensing fees are much lower.
For a main stage musical, the maximum ticket sales intake for a sold-out six performance run (170 seats x 6 performances x $17.87) would be $18,227.40. Twenty percent of that would go to the Borough, leaving a maximum net profit of $14,581.92.
As previously noted, we sell an average of 53.89% of tickets. So, likely ticket sales intake for a main stage musical (91 seats x 6 performances x $17.87) would be $9,757,02. With twenty percent going to the Borough, that would leave us a maximum profit of $7805.62 — approximately $3000 below the typical budget currently set for a main stage musical.
In 2016, OLT set a season operating budget of $52,206.65, split across eight productions. As a self-funded, not-for-profit theater, we do not start with that money in the coffers; rather, we set our season operating budget based on what we believe we can make back through our revenue streams. There’s an argument that OLT should return to offering only its constitutionally-mandated four performances each season – one main stage play and three main stage musicals – as doing so would give more money to those productions and benefit the organization overall. But here’s why we don’t–
Let’s assume OLT presents four productions, each running for six performances, and were to maintain the same operating budget ($52,206.62). Given the funding needs of plays and musicals, in a four production season with the same overall operating budget, the starting budgets in this case would be:
– Play – $6425.83
– Musicals – $15,226.94 each
If each of these shows sold at our likely sales rate of 53.89%, the net loss for six performance runs of each would be as follows:
– Play – -$435.73
– Musicals – -$7421.31 each, or -$22,263.96 total
Over the course of one four-show season, this would cost OLT nearly $23,000. As we’re self-funded, not-for-profit and don’t operate from a donor base, this isn’t feasible.
Let’s then say that OLT presents four productions, each running for six performances, but decreased the season’s operating budget – keeping each production’s budget consistent with what was given to each 2016 production, but only for four shows instead of eight. In this case, the budgets would be:
– Play – $5084.28 (adjusted up $500 from 2016 budgets for 6 performance run)
– Musicals – $10,818 each
Under this scenario, if all shows sold at our likely sales rate of 53.89%, the net profit/loss for six performance runs of each would be as follows:
– Play – $1005.82
– Musicals – -$3012.38 each, or -$9037.14 total
Over the course of one four-show season, this would cost OLT more than $8,000.
In order for OLT to project a four-show season that would not lose money overall, production budgets would need to be cut by more than 20% across the board. Rather than increase the budgets for productions, less shows actually ends up meaning less money available for all.
In order to fund more lavish main-stage musicals, it’s proven vital that we also offer smaller, less expensive plays and musicals to help balance out the season financially. Despite all the data detailed above, theater isn’t always a science and what an audience does or does not respond to can’t always be predicted. Through additional offerings like youth productions, play festivals, concerts, original plays and musicals, OLT is able to offer a full season to capture audience’s imaginations – and to fund the bigger shows people want to see and perform in.
Our overall goal is to provide a diverse slate of performance and production opportunities that showcase talented folks in all forms. By offering more productions annually, not only do we ensure we remain fiscally viable, we also present performers and backstage talent with multiple opportunities to become involved. Not a singer? Audition for our plays! Not an adult? Audition for our youth productions! Not free during the school year? Audition for our summer productions! We plan seasons in hopes that everyone will find something that piques their interest – as performer, production team member or patron.
I’m proud of OLT’s growth these past four years and am excited to help shepherd the group into its milestone 50th season. But our growth isn’t about me – it’s about you! It is the community that you all bring to our community theater that has helped it thrive for fifty seasons and counting. As I always say to the cast and crew of each production: Thank you for sharing your time and talents with us. The world is our stage, and we’re very glad you’ve chosen to join us in telling the stories that both reflect, and change, our lives.
Craig M. Tiede
President, Old Library Theatre
Reserve your seats today!
Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to become a Friend of Old Library Theatre. For $25, Friends receive a membership card guaranteeing them $10 tickets for each production, and an OLT mug! Friends are automatically added to OLT’s mailing list, invited to monthly meetings and are eligible for election to executive board positions.
Adult – Any 4 Shows – $60 | All 8 Shows – $120
Senior (60+)/Student (Valid ID Required) – Any 4 Shows – $52 | All 8 Shows – $104
Child (12 and Under) – Any 4 Shows – $28 | All 8 Shows – $56
Please note a $2 processing fee will be charged for online sales.
Subscribers will be contacted by the OLT House Manager prior to each production to select performance dates (subject to availability).
Old Library Theatre is pleased to announce its new rental program for all your theatrical needs!
Old Library Theatre offers a wide variety of costumes, props and furniture! Prices start at $5 and items can be rented for 30 days. We also have packages of props and costumes specifically for “Gypsy” and “Dogfight”. These items can be rented a la carte or as a package.
For rental information please email OLT at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what you need and we can send along photos and pricing information.
Show your OLT pride – buy your very own OLT t-shirt today! Available for a limited time only for $15 a shirt. You won’t find this shirt in stores, so don’t wait to get yours! Place your order today by emailing us at email@example.com. Shirts will be available for pick up at the box office during performances of Avenue Q.
Unsure? Take it from the Bad Idea Bears!
Bad Idea Bear: Buy a whole case of t-shirts!
OLT Member: A case of t-shirts? No, I can’t get a whole case.
Bad Idea Bear: But you’re on a budget! You’re wasting money in the long run if you don’t buy in bulk!
Support OLT, give your business exposure, or send well-wishes to cast members by purchasing advertisement space in a playbill! We offer several size and price options. Visit our Support OLT page for more information on purchasing an ad.
As part of our Reader’s Theatre, Old Library Theatre will be holding auditions for This, a new musical!
Auditions will be held Wednesday September 6th and Thursday September 7th from 7-9 pm Rhino 237 Studio C at 237 Hamburg Turnpike, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442.
Preregistration is not required, but those who preregister will not have to wait to be seen.
This is being presented as a staged reading as part of OLT’s Reader’s Theatre series. Performances November 4, 2017 at 7:00pm and November 5, 2017 at 2:00pm.
Director: Eric Holgerson
Musical Director: Jennifer Sisco
Producer: Sheryl Heffernan
This tells the story of four friends designated for Broadway, until an accident changed everything. When the show’s writer died, the project spiraled out of control and each went on a new path. Ten years later, each receives an anonymous script in the mail calling them back to the stage. Who sent the script and why? Is this the moment they’ve long-dreamed of?
Frank Abagnale Jr.- Scott Richard
Carl Hanratty- Chris Zika
Frank Abagnale Sr.- Keith S. White
Paula Abagnale- Emily Locklear
Brenda Strong- Hannah Schroeder
Carol Strong- Randi Seffinger
Roger Strong- Brian George
Brianna Ascione, Gianna-Leigh Bastar, Tyler Donovan, Paige Erdmann, Robert Falco, Hannah Federman, Chris Gatterdam, Olivia Gonzales, Shannon Lombardi, Michelle McMillan, Shayna Rives, Gwen Vigorito
We are additionally searching for performers fitting the following descriptions to round out the cast. If you are interested in performing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Male Ensemble Dancers: Seeking strong singers/dancers for ensemble numbers as well as ensemble roles.
Age Range: 18-35
Voice Type: Baritone/Tenor
Adult Male Ensemble: Seeking a strong singer and actor to portray multiple roles in the show.
Age Range: 35-55
Voice Type: Baritone
Female Ensemble Dancer: Seeking one additional female ensemble dancer. Must be a strong singer and dancer. Will be used heavily in all ensemble numbers as well as play some ensemble roles.
Age Range: 18-35
Voice Type: Alto/Soprano Belt
This July, we’re asking you to CASH US IF YOU CAN!
We’ve turned over our 50th Anniversary fundraising campaign to our upcoming production of Catch Me If You Can. We’d love your help raising the necessary funds to add musicians to the pit orchestra for this production. What can you help us raise in 30 days? The sky’s the limit!