J. Caesar G. Washington?

In this edition!
  • Auditions for Julius Caesar
  • COMING THIS FALL - Julius Caesar on the portico at Rock Ford
  • A Message from Sam Slaymaker our Board Secretary

Scroll down for each article.

•• OUR 25th YEAR ••

Logo&PleiadesTheater of the Seventh Sister kindles the fire of the community’s imagination, one play at a time!

•• OUR 25th YEAR ••

Seventh Sister announces auditions for Julius Caesar

Theater of the Sevnth Sister is holding auditions for Julius Caesar to be performed at beautiful Rock Ford Plantation adjacent to Lancaster’s County Park.  There will be four performances Sept. 18, 19 & 25, 26.

The show is directed by Gary Smith and will be set in post revolution America, a time when many people hoped that Washington would become King.  The production will also make use of revolutionary war re-enactors.

Many roles open.  Caesar, Brutus, Antony and Portia have been cast.  We are interested in non-traditional casting.

Auditions will be by appointment on Thurs. July 10th from 6:30 – 9:00 and Sat. July 12th from 11:00- 2:00. Please email Theseventhsister@mac.com and please put J C Audition in the subject line.  The auditions will be held at Be Well Lancaster, 7 N. Mulberry St. in Lancaster

Please bring a picture and resume and prepare a short (2 minutes or less) Shakespearean monologue.

•• OUR 25th YEAR ••

JC portraitWasington portraitComing September Julius Caesar meets George Washington

Stay tuned for details!



•• OUR 25th YEAR ••

  • A Message from Samuel C. Slaymaker, Secretary of our Board of Directors and Director of Rock Ford Plantation. This is the second in a Series of Communications from members of our Board of Directors

SCS photo by Trip 3In our last e-mail update, we told you about our Board Retreat held last winter with JOMA Arts and Consulting, LLC and how we developed a set of seven core values upon which to focus our attention as TSS re-commits itself to the mission of our first twenty-five years: Kindling the Fires of the community’s Imagination One Play at a Time.

We hope that you will be excited to learn that, with winter finally passing into spring, we have moved from introspection to action as we prepare to launch a major production at the Ware Center in Downtown Lancaster.  The play, entitled “The Seed of a Nation: Lancaster and Penn’s Holy Experiment, written by TSS’s own Mary Smith and originally produced at the Roschel Center for the Performing Arts in 2008.  It was subsequently requested to be produced as a centerpiece for “Roots 300” the 300th Anniversary of the Mennonite settling in of Lancaster County by the Mennonite Historical Society.  This rewritten version was performed at Sight and Sound’s Living Waters Theater in 2010.  This version of the play is designed to appeal to an even broader audience—including tourist and school groups.

Rather than being a staged re-enactment of the great people and events of Lancaster County from 1710 to 1776, “The Seed of a Nation” tells the story of Lancaster County from its founding up to the Revolution through the words and experiences of the people who lived, worked and struggled to survive here centuries ago.  Then, as now, Lancaster County was a diverse place.  This story is not of facts and dates but of how Mennonites, Native Americans, English, Scots Irish and people of other ethnicities were tested by both surroundings and events to fulfill William Penn’s Holy Experiment: to determine if people of different faiths, languages, cultures and political viewpoints could live and work together in peaceful co-existence. This great question, both for Lancaster County and for our entire nation, continues to remain unanswered today.


Samuel C. Slaymaker, Board Secretary

•• OUR 25th YEAR ••

History Alive!

• Seventh Sister presents “Seed of a Nation” at the Ware Center in May!

“Absolutely brilliant!”

Join us as we explore the pivotal roll that Lancaster played in the creation of America

Seed of a Nation

Lancaster and Penn’s Holy Experiment

PA Strasburg Living Waters Theater--23 May 2010 10;25;25Seed of a NationPA Strasburg Living Waters Theater--23 May 2010 11;10;57        

“Puts a human face on our history …  
It gave me chills”

Beginning in 1681 when Penn received the Charter for Pennsylvania from the King of England, the play tracks the journey of five families over the course of the ninety-five years that lead up to the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The story follows the native Susquehannock Indians, Penn and the Quakers, the Mennonites that emigrated from the Palatinate, the Scots-Irish seeking freedom from the English and the African slaves brought in through the port Philadelphia.

“Every High School student should attend  
this show!”
Many of them came for religion and economic freedom, some were here already, and many were brought against their will, but none of them came intending to form a new nation. How did this accident called American come to be and how did these disparate peoples holding widely differing beliefs coexist in this the most culturally diverse region in all the thirteen colonies.

“It is a story that needs to be told and is relevant more than ever at this time in history.  Thanks for your visionary pursuit.” 
This is the story Seed of a Nation: Lancaster and Penn’s Holy Experiment tells; this is the story of Lancaster, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and of America itself. It is OUR story.

“Absolutely amazing”
This production is made possible by support from
Mr. Robert Groff
Dr. Robert L. Roschel
The PA Council on the Arts.



Friday, May  16th & Saturday May 17th at 7:30 pm

Sunday May  18th at 2:30 pm

Admission:  Adults $25, Students $15, Children 12 & under $10

•• OUR 25th YEAR ••

  • Attention Educators: Act 48 Credits Available

Theater of the Seventh Sister is proud to be partnering with Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13 to offer Act 48 credit instruction for educators.

Attend  the performance and then participate in the post show workshop to learn about theater applications in the classroom. The workshop will be held following the matinee performance on Sunday May 18th. The Payment for this program will be $25 to be received just prior to the hour and a half long post show workshop after attending the afternoon performance.

RSVP by clicking on:
Please Put Act 48 in the subject line

Please note the performance and the workshop are two separate events!  For credit you must attend both of them.

• Seventh Sister expands our educational Shakespeare Face-to-Face!

“Until you came in I understood nothing about the play.  Watching you it was impossible not to understand”  … student response to Shakespeare Face-to-Face

F2F flyer graphicOur Shakespeare Face-to-Face program reaches middle school through adult  students in traditional, non-traditional, church, therapeutic, residential and non-residential settings.

“It was a joy to see my students excited about Shakespeare.  The characters jumped off the pages of their books and entered into their minds as real people” … teacher’s response to Shakespeare Face-to-Face

“I’d even pay money for this” … student’s response to Shakespeare Face-to-Face

•• OUR 25th YEAR ••


• A Message from Bob Marquet, President of our Board of Directors. The First in a Series of Board Communications

 Dear Friends of Seventh Sister,

A few of you have expressed a concern that the closing of the STAHR Center would limit the Theater’s opportunities. In direct contrast, we are pleased to report that it has opened new avenues of expression and generated a recommitment to the kind of work that has made Seventh Sister a vibrant voice in the Lancaster arts community for twenty-five years. It has also inspired deeper thoughts about the Theater’s purpose, structure, and direction.

To expedite this process we’ve more than doubled the size of our Board, and, in January, held a two-day weekend workshop led by John Moore and Imani Drayton-Hill of JOMA Arts & Consulting (a nationally recognized art’s consulting firm). This exciting work was made possible with the support from a grant from the PA Council on the Arts, and focused on identifying Seventh Sister’s core values and vision for the future.

From that workshop and follow-up meetings seven core values were identified as befitting the Theater. They are:

excellence, thought provoking, connecting communities, artistic integrity, creative courage, illumination and authenticity.

We see all of you as valuable community members and are requesting your thoughts and ideas concerning these seven values.

We will continue working with JOMA toward a strategic plan for achieving our vision. Theater of the Seventh Sister will keep you informed of our ever evolving and changing 25th year transition into a more collaborative, community based, and dynamically structured organization.

 Sincerely,  Bob Marquet, President

••• 25 reasons to love your Sister •••

Agnes of God cutReason #1: Agnes of God

Our first show ever set the bar high.  Headline read “Theater of the Seventh Sister has first triumph with Agnes” Intelligencer Journal October, 1989,  by John Drybred. Pictured founding members: Erma Stauffer, Pat Lemay and Mary Adams-Smith



Reason #2Amph Moon 1: Outdoor Shakespeare

From free Shakespeare in Long’s Park to Rock Ford Plantation, Seventh Sister has brought the joys of Shakespeare under the stars (and moon) to over 140,000 people in the Lancaster area.

 DOS family 3 - Version 2 Reason #3: Great Plays

The Loman family 2005 production of “Death of a Salesman” Always searching for the best in classic theater and the next great play! Pictured: Mary Adams-Smith, Jared Price, Brian Bitner & Gary Smith



Romeo & Juliet 04FReason #4: We Love Shakespeare

Our 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet starring  Tim Riggs as Romeo, Cynthia Charles as the Nurse and Melissa Dunphy as Juliet


Dream park cutReason #5:  We Love Shakespeare … A Lot!

Since our first Shakespeare production in 1993 we have presented 28 productions of Shakespeare’s plays, and that isn’t even counting our wonderful Shakespeare Camp for Teens productions (more on that later!)

The lover’s quarrel from 1996 production at Long’s Park of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Joe turner cutReason #6: Minority Voices of the American Stage

In 1996 we introduced our African Grove Project as part of the Minority Voices of the American Stage Series, a program dedicated to bringing the wealth of outstanding plays written by African American playwrights. Ron Lee Jones and Toni Barber from August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. ” 


DSCN8372Reason#7: We take on the hard stuff

Whether its a stylistic challenge or plays that deal with important social issues we meet the challenge! The Joad family heads to California in Seventh Sister’s 2012 production of “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Reason #8: Great Roles!Oedipus cut

Hamlet! Oedipus! Willie Loman! Medea! Sojourner Truth! Juliet! Martin Luther King!   Just a handful of the great characters (fictional and historical) that have appeared in our shows!

Brian Hutchinson as Oedipus in the 1995 production of “Oedipus Rex.”

Forrest in LearReason #9: GREAT ACTING!

The best actors from this area and well beyond have thrilled our audiences with memorable and stunning performances.

Pictured is 2011 Tony Award nominee Forrest McClendon as Edmund in our 2006 production of KING LEAR.  Forrest is now performing in the The Scottsboro Boys in London.

F2F Classroom shotReason # 10. We turn classrooms into stages!

In 1990 we began our signature Shakespeare Face to Face program.  Since then we’ve taken it into classrooms throughout the area and far beyond. Thousands of students have discovered how contemporary, relevant and – yes – entertaining Shakespeare is!  Our favorite student comment is … “I’d even pay money to see this”.  Pictured: Romeo (Tim Riggs) looks on as a student from Downingtown High School dances with Juliet (StephJo Wise)


Shakes Camp "Midsummer"Reason #11: Teenagers discover the joys of doing Shakespeare!

Since 1997  when it began, hundreds of teenagers have had an opportunity to study and perform in some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays as part of our summer Shakespeare Camp for Teens.  Students as well as parents have raved about the value of this program.  Pictured: A scene from the 2004 Shakespeare Camp for Teens production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Windter Dance/HulaReason # 12. Sister Arts – Dance

In 1995 we began our Winter Dance Festival.  Bringing together multiple choreographers from the region, this popular event became a one of a kind celebration of dance.  The Lancaster dance scene has never been the same!  Pictured: Mika Cox McDougall performs the hula at the 2010 Winter Dance Festival!




Spoken Word/ChrisReason #13: We celebrate the Spoken Word

Our annual Spoken Word Festival (now in its 12th year) has brought together story tellers and poets to share their love of language with grateful audiences. Pictured:  Lancaster Poet Laureate, Chris Longenecker, from the 2010 Spoken Word Festival



C CarolReason #14:  Pay What You Will!

Theater of the Seventh believes that everyone should be able to afford to go to the theater.  To that end we have a long history of Pay What You Will Performances.  Our most popular has been  Gary Smith’s adaptation of Dickens’ much loved A Christmas Carol.  Pictured:  Christmas Present (Patrick Mize) and Jon Rider (Scrooge) from 2011 production of  A Christmas Carol.



Julius CaesarReason #15: We take a fresh look at the old!

We love the classics!  What makes us human hasn’t changed at all over all our civilized time here.  Pictured: Universal soldiers march off to war. Julius Caesar, staged in 2003 on the eve of the Iraq War, powerfully combined the contemporary with ancient Rome.  When the Roman Soldiers walked on stage wearing combat camouflage and roman capes the audience gasped!

FrankensteinReason #16:  Music!

Music has always been an important part of Seventh Sister; whether its been the small gem of a musical,  Lies and Legends – The Musical Stories of Harry Chapin, the musical drama Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,  or a seldom seen musical like Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures.  Throughout our 25 seasons we’ve provided a performance venue for such diverse music groups as Wood Song, The Reese Project and The NakedEye Ensemble.  Pictured: The Creature (Brian McCreary) & Frankenstein (Michael Austin) from our 22nd season’s stunning production of Frankenstein – A New Musical!

ElectricidadeReason #17: Portales: Gateways to Latino Drama

To better serve our Spanish speaking community, in 1996 we added  Portales: Gateways to Latino Drama to our Minority Voices of the American Stage Series.  Along with presenting original works by Hispanic playwrights, we presented the New York based award winning ensemble, Repertorio Espanol who performed works in Spanish while providing simultaneous live English translation via headset.  Pictured: Sidney Leigh Allen as the title character in the 2010 production of Luis Alfaro’s Chicano take on the Greek tragedy Electra, Electricidad

Our TownReason #18: We Engage Our Audiences!

Beginning with our first production Agnes of God we’ve engaged audiences in talk backs and panel discussions following our productions.  Some of our most lively discussions have followed performances of The Cherry Orchard, Antigone, An Enemy of the People and The Grapes of Wrath.

One of the very best discussions followed our production of Our Town with an audience comprised of high school students and senior citizens from retirement homes sitting togehter to watch the show.  Pictured: A scene from the 2005 production of Our Town with Jeff Zufelt (Stage Manager), Jill Coste (Emily) and Tim Riggs (George).

Sojourner Truth 02CReason # 19: History Comes Alive!

Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Believing that it’s up to the arts to help remind us, we do plays of  social relevance and shows that help us see ourselves in what is past.  Pictured: Ron Lee Jones  (Father) and Ayoka Dorsey (Sojourner) in Sojourner Truth, part of our African Grove Project from 2000.

HamletReason #20: Plays that Make You Think!

Exciting, insightful and relevant! Some of our very best work has been thought provoking plays that result in that “Aha moment”!

Pictured: Hamlet has his own “Aha moment” in our 1996 production of Hamlet with Phil Balko (the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father) and Don Mitchell (Hamlet)

12th Night 1Reason #21: We love to make you laugh!

A horrified Olivia (Joanna Underhill) is wooed by the misguided Malvolio (Brian Martin) in our 2003 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night.

DSCN9370Reason #22:  We admit it; we love to make you cry (sometimes)!

We all know how cathartic a good cry can be.  There are simply those times when tears are the most authentic response to a powerful moment.  We love when that happens!  Pictured:  One of those moments in 2013′s Eurydice between Father (Brian McCreary) and Eurydice (Victoria Rose Bonito)

LuganasaReason #23: Heart!

To have heart can mean a lot of things – from doing your best to making an emotional connection.  Whatever it is, you know it when you feel it or when you see it.  At Seventh Sister chances are you’ve felt it and seen it a lot! Pictured: Two of the Mundy sisters, Maggie (Cynthia Charles) and Kate (Mary Adams-Smith) share a moment in our 1994 production of Dancing at Lughnasa

dreamReason #24 Making Magic!

A church auditorium! A converted armory! A park band shell! We’ve made theater magic in some surprising places.  Pictured: Shakespeare’s fairies and lovers meet in the forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; presented at Trinity Lutheran’s Fondersmith Auditorium in 2002.

Reason #25:  We’re named for a star!

Logo&PleiadesYou know the one…the Seventh Sister of the Seven Sisters!  The one who keeps looking for a better way.  Always has!  Always will!

A view of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades).

“ … but the Seventh Sister turned

                           her gaze in another direction

                                                          seeking an alternative vision …”

25 Years!  25 Reasons to Love Your Sister! 

25 Reasons To Support Your Sister



 Coming to the Ware Center this Spring.

Seed of a Nation: Lancaster & Penn’s Holy Experiment

Mary Adams-Smith (author) as Elizabeth Miller
Mary Adams-Smith (author) as
Elizabeth Miller
Seed of a Nation
First Encounter with “White men”



Enjoying the Lemonade!

Summer 2013
M&G Lemonade

It’s been just a little over a year since we found out we could no longer produce theater in the old Stahr Armory which we had been intending to purchase from the State.  As we put all our producing plans on hold and started the massive move, it looked as though we had been handed a whole lot of lemons!  However, surprisingly quickly, we began to see the upside; and frankly those lemons have now become lemonade! Since we no longer have to face the challenge of continual production in order to maintain a facility, we have rediscovered the pleasures of taking our time.  In fact, after producing “Eurydice” in May (a project we were both passionate about), we’ve really been enjoying the lemonade.  There’s been a little R & R, a lot of thinking, reading, and planning.  So, having taken time to stop and smell the roses….(Are we getting too many cliché’s in here?)…we are almost ready to “announce” what we will be producing next!  So stay tuned and know that it will be something we both really care about and that we will be approaching it revived, restored and refreshed by the magical wonders of the lemonade!

So What’s Up With Seventh Sister?

(originally posted Winter/Spring 2013)Janus beginnings

I think the god Janus is prefect for a description of where Seventh Sister has been for the past few months.  Janus, for those of you who don’t realize you’ve already made his acquaintance, is that god who looks back at the passing year and simultaneously forward to the future.  Yep, you guessed it January is named for him.

Well this past January certainly lived up to it’s two faced namesake.  We finally finished our move out of the Stahr the end of the first week of the new year and much of the rest of the month was spent finishing up administrative details, canceling utilities and taking a much needed breath.   But at the same time Seventh Sister began to look to her future.  In February we started negotiating with the Ware Center for performance dates and began the “gearing up” process that will culminate in a MainStage production of Eurydice and a Sister Arts production of our Annual Spoken Word Festival.

Now here it is May, The 11th Annual Spoken Word Festival was a great success and we’re about to open Eurydice.  It’s been a long winter and we’re glad it’s over.  So as Spring stirs quietly and almost unseen adn the frozen ground, gives way to lush summer, so too Seventh Sister begins anew the creative process to bring you theater that touches your heart, stimulates your mind and reminds us all what a joy it is to be alive … here … right now.