Tyrone Community Players, INC.
P.O. Box 209
Tyrone, PA 16686-0209
Phone: 814 684-ART2 (2782)
The Sugar Bean Sisters
June 29 & 30, 2013
A Brief History of the Tyrone Community Players (TCP)
By Cindy Bennett
- If you can dream it, it can be done.
- The unofficial motto of the Tyrone Community Players
In 1983, there was no live-theater company in Tyrone. During the 1930s and 1940s, a vibrant, critically acclaimed company, The Tyrone Players, called this town home. But the group disbanded when TV became the focus of entertainment.
Back to 1983!
What can be more persuasive and driven than several mothers who feel a need for their children to have the opportunity to participate in the creative outlet provided by live theater? That's what happened here!
Laurie Cave and Cindy Bennett both wanted to create those opportunities for their children and themselves. Together they forgeda small, untested, but enthusiastic group of people who had a similar desire.
The first order of business was to contact as many of the former members of The Tyrone Players as were available and absorb as much information from them as possible. Next, to speak with other community theater companies to find the right track to take. And then, to just begin.
With the help of Anna Roseberry, whose mother and uncle had been active participants in The Tyrone Players, and who was a drama coach at a local high school, a play was chosen and auditions set. Anna agreed to direct that first production, The Orphans, and the newly incorporated Tyrone Community Players were on their way.
A few things stood in their way; the two biggest were the lack of money and the need for a location to perform. Money was raised in a wide variety of ways, all unusual (hand-painted Easter eggs, for example). As it turned out, the group was well-supported by the community. Finding a location to perform, however, was not as simple to solve!
After checking out the facilities in local churches, schools, and store fronts, Laurie and Cindy decided to take a look at the historic theater in the Tyrone YMCA, the place The Tyrone Players had called home. There was an immediate attachment to the 1914 jewel of Baroque architecture, even though she had seen far better days. The deal was done!
As soon as electrical power was restored to the Y theater, cleaning done, a little painting attempted, and railings polished, it was time to plan for the actual production.
Enter Kelly and Mike Yeaton.... Kelly Yeaton was a professor emeritus of drama at Penn State University and possessed the wealth of thespian knowledge that this fledgling organization needed. His son, Mike, was as versed in technical theater as Kelly was in acting and staging. Between the two of them, they showed a handful of
eager beaver thespians how to build and paint a set, design a lighting plot, stage a production, and do a million other tiny tasks that make for a successful production. Kelly even went as far as to visit the home of an aspiring costumer, with his handful of
glued-to-him sidekicks, to watch a fashion show right out of her own closet so as to help find the most appropriate clothing from which to create a costume plot.
The Tyrone Community Players premiered in June 1984 to a sold-out audience. The Orphans was the only show produced in that first year. In the second season, they presented four productions (a novice mistake): Blithe Spirit, Annie, Star Spangled Girl, and Something's Afoot. Three shows were produced in the third season: Wait until Dark, The Music Man, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (a three-show schedule that is retained to this day).
Unfortunately, in September 2004, the Tyrone Community Players lost their home in the YMCA because of the damage caused by
Ivan theTerrible (a.k.a. Hurricane Ivan). The localYMCA disbanded, and the building that housed the theater was closed as being unsafe.
Although the loss of the YMCA theater was a devastating blow, the Tyrone Community Players purchased the building of the former Tyrone-Snyder Library, a red-brick structure built in 1924 that had begun its life as an Elks lodge. Because the building is located across Logan Avenue from their beloved theater, it is hoped that good vibes won't have far to travel to find this still-undaunted group of theater enthusiasts.
Plans for renovating the building still are in their preliminary stages, and options are being explored for a new performance space. In the meantime, the Tyrone Community Players are producing and performing quality theater in this hometown of Tyrone.
A History of The
Original Tyrone Players
Compiled from information given in the playbooks of the organization.
The Tyrone Players was organized in September 1936 as a W.P.A. (Works Project Administration) project under the direction of Mr. Scott Geesey. A non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political organization, its purpose was to cultivate dramatics appreciation and vocational and social culture. Under the leadership of President Reuben Rudy, Secretary Frances Schneider, and Treasurer Louise Griffin Tonkin, the venture sprang into activity and soon became a vital part of Tyrone's community life. The W.P.A. sponsorship ceased at the close of the first season; however, The Tyrone Players remained active, and Mr. Eugene Dayton replaced Mr. Geesey as director.
The first presentation, Marry before Midnight, led to twenty-four successful productions, the last of which was My China Doll, produced for the benefit of the Tyrone Kiwanis Fund for underprivileged children.
Productions performed by The Tyrone Players
Marry before Midnight
Meet the Duchess
A Full House
One Mad Night
The Music Master
Night of January 16th
The Music Master
The Passing of the Third Floor Back
Death Takes a Holiday
Peg o' My Heart
The Royal Family
The Late Christopher Bean
George Washington Slept Here
Abie's Irish Rose
The Family Upstairs
The Trial of Mary Dugan
My China Doll