At The Pentacle, locals shed day roles for stage life in new play

Pentacle actors Alyssa Bond, Jeff Witt, Jenn Kercher, Heather Toller, Dylan Lewis, Emma Thurston and Ellie Knoll.

The Pentacle Theatre is always a great choice for a night out. Now, the stage has been transformed into Florida’s Armadillo Acres for The Great American Trailer Park Musical. The show, which runs through Sept. 28, features an impressive local cast, live band, and even a dancing pole.

The Pentacle version of the David Nels music and Betsy Kelso’s book is directed by Jill Sorensen. It tells the story of Pippi, a stripper who moves into the park and upsets the relationships of the residents.

If you haven’t been to the Pentacle, it’s set in a wooded setting on 52nd Avenue in West Salem. The 191 seats are set up in half-circle around the stage, making every seat great. Arrive early for a chance to socialize with other theater-goers in the lobby. You can even get an adult beverage and take it to your seat to enjoy during the show.  

Of course, Lisa Joyce, the executive director of the Pentacle, was there. Joyce chatted with board members Chris Fletcher, Jill Sorensen, and Mary Ann Potter. She also introduced me to Don Rogers.

Rogers, a cinema sound expert who now lives in Salem, was the recipient of the 1995 Gordon E. Sawyer Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his technological contributions to the motion picture industry. He worked on films such as “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

It was great to see business colleagues take on a new persona in this musical comedy. I’ve worked with Heather Dunkin Toller and you wouldn’t know she was such a powerful singer. She and the other leading ladies in the cast that included Alyssa Bond, Jennifer Kercher, Ellie Knoll and Emma Thurston were delightful. The men also were impressive, including Dylan Lewis and Jeffrey Witt. The music and dancing were great, directed by Jon Stuber and Geri Lyne Greeno. 

Get your tickets before they’re gone at www.pentacletheatre.org and watch for the upcoming show, Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, starting Oct. 18.

The audience waits for the curtain to go up on the Pentacle Theatre’s latest production.

Pentacle board members chat with the executive director before the show the latest show: Chris Fletcher, Lisa Joyce, Jill Sorensen, Mary Ann Potter.

Don Rogers and Lisa Joyce socialize at the Pentacle Theatre lobby.

Actors Ellie Knoll, Jeff Witt, Dylan Lewis and Alyssa Bond of the Pentacle Theatre.

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event at [email protected] or follow her on Facebook.

CORRECTION: Terrence McNally’s first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this column.