The Music Mountain Theater in Lambertville offers musical productions year round

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CURTAIN GOING UP! : “Music Mountain Theater is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich, educate and entertain our community through the study, performance and appreciation of the arts in a welcoming and inclusive environment. We offer affordable plays and audiences love our live performances. Ginny Brennan (center), one of the founding directors of Music Mountain Theater, is featured with co-artistic directors Louis Palena (left) and Jordan Brennan. The theater is now open and ready for the public.

By Jean Stratton

ginny Brennan loved the performing arts her whole life. A dancer in high school and college, she went on to run a children’s theater program in Bucks County, founded the Downtown Lambertville Performing Arts Center, and then operated the Washington Crossing Open Air Theater. She is now one of the founding directors of the Music Mountain Theater in Lambertville.

Originally from New Jersey, Brennan moved to Bucks County as an adult, and at one point, between various theater companies, she owned a restaurant in Doylestown, PA.

But theater has always been his passion, and when his 10-year-old son Jordan expressed a desire to perform, he began participating in several Bucks County children’s theater programs.

“I started running the children’s theater program,” she says. “The kids loved to play, but there wasn’t always the right training.

Theatrical pursuits

Jordan’s early interest in the stage continued over the years, and after graduating from college with a BFA in dance, he returned to Lambertville and joined his mother in various theatrical pursuits.

“In 2000, we founded the Downtown Performing Arts Center and took classes in drama, dance, drama and musicals,” Brennan reports. “We also started to do performances with older teens and adults.

“In addition, for seven years, we rented the Washington Crossing Open Air Theater. It increased our audience, and by then we felt that we had established ourselves as a performing company and we wanted some interior space.

They were able to find a suitable location at 1483 Route 179, and the existing warehouse was turned into a theater. We were able to fund it through donations from companies, individuals and grants, ”she explains,“ and in 2017 we opened Music Mountain Theater. Our plan was to offer musicals, plays, concerts and children’s productions.

The good news is that after closing in March 2020 due to COVID-19, the theater has now fully reopened.

“We’re starting to produce some of the shows that we had to cancel during the virus,” Brennan notes. “The theater has a new air filter system throughout the building, daily cleaning procedures and hand sanitizers. For now, our masking policies follow CDC recommendations, and as a precaution, masks are mandatory at all performances. “

Special connection

There really is no such thing as a live performance, when that special bond between the actors and the audience is established. Always a powerful experience, perhaps even more important in our today’s high-tech world, where although the myriad of electronic devices can create widespread communication, there is a whiff of impersonality. Face to face is so often absent. Of course, he’s especially welcome after the isolation so many people experienced during the height of the pandemic.

In addition to its current performances, the Music Mountain Theater celebrates the importance of a Lambertville theatrical landmark: the St. John (Sinjin) Terrell’s Music Circus, the country’s first marquee round theater.

From 1949 to 1970, the Music Circus productions have captivated audiences across the region. It was located near the current Music Mountain Theater, and the proximity is significant.

“We have memories in our Music Circus theater, and many people still remember those wonderful performances,” said Brennan. “Music Mountain Theater is here to bring back that energy, that excitement, that enchantment and to create memories for a new generation.”

She is thrilled that today’s audiences are enjoying the current productions of the Music Mountain Theater, with its repertoire company of talented amateur actors.

“We were surprised at how quickly the public responded after COVID and how wonderful word-of-mouth has been,” Brennan reports. “They are really very united, and one of the best things we have here is that our 20 to 25 artists – singers, dancers and actors – in the company are from the region.”

All ages

The attractive theater seats 250 people and the productions are presented year round on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Evening performances are Friday and Saturday, mornings Saturday and Sunday.

“We are delighted that the public is of all ages, from children to retirees. We have very popular children’s productions, and our audiences love them.

Performances for young audiences include Frozen Jr., Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Experience Kids, Pinocchio, Robin Hood, 101 Dalmatians Kids, It’s the big pumpkin, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, among others.

The main stage season has included popular musicals like In the woods everything happens, carousel, Dracula, and A Christmas Carol. Noises deactivated, the entertaining British comedy is also on the program.

“Musicals are very popular,” says Brennan. “Mama mia was a big hit when we did that, and all Rodgers and Hammerstein shows are favorites. Also, every year we make the musical version of A Christmas Carol, and people love it. We also have a Big Band holiday concert production, which is an annual favorite. “

The program for the rest of the year includes:

On the main stage (Friday, Saturday and Sunday): The mystery of Edwin Drood, until October 31; Elf, November 5 to November 21; A Christmas Carol, November 26 to December 12; and Holiday Concert, December 17 to December 19.

At the Children’s Theater: It’s the big pumpkin, October 23 and 30; Frosty and Rodolphe, November 13, 20 and 27; and Girls in the land of toys, December 4, 11 and 18.

Subscription Gala

Brennan has worked hard to keep ticket prices affordable at $ 25, $ 23 (seniors and military) and $ 10 for the children’s theater. There’s also a subscription plan for five, 10, or 15 performances, offering savings and special subscriber-only programs.

“We have an annual subscription gala for subscribers, a big party,” she adds. “We have ‘Mounty’ awards for artists, and subscribers can vote for them. They love it!

She is very happy to be involved in the work she loves and to be able to share it with so many others. “I like being around the theater. I like the social aspect, meeting the public and the performers. It makes me proud to present the community with talented actors and good quality, affordable entertainment.

“Of course the biggest challenge is having a full house and doing all the marketing, but again the word of mouth has been so great. It is important to keep people informed about our programs and to continue to spread the word.

“It’s also very important for us to have a welcoming atmosphere. I give a welcome speech before the show and greet the audience when they arrive. The comedians will also come out and speak with the audience after the production. And we have a concession stand in the lobby.

Theater school

Brennan is proud of the stage team and box office staff, and observes that Music Mountain Theater also stands out for its non-profit status and its Monday-Thursday drama school and summer camp.

“In addition, we have classes for students with special needs, children and adults, including those with autism and Down syndrome. They respond wonderfully. My special needs classes mean a lot to me for many reasons. I have worked for a while as a job coach for students with special needs, and have always found it rewarding and fun. When I opened the studio in 2001, several of the students I worked with joined the class, and two of them are still with me.

“We are proud of the new drama class for students on the autism spectrum as part of our community outreach program, and one of our future goals is to form a business for teens and adults with special needs. . “

For those who love the theater, Music Mountain Theater is a special place. It’s wonderful to have quality shows for all ages at affordable prices.

“I like to say that we are not a community theater, but a theater for the community,” says Brennan. “Thank you to everyone who supports the arts! “

MYou can reach usic Mountain Theater at (609) 397-3337. Website: musicmountainheatre.org.


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