Past Projects-old

mixed messages

Mixed MESSages

New Theater in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

November, 2021

WCR Center for the Arts

Mixing of words, performance styles, and human interaction in the wake of a global pandemic. After months of working alone, we are trying to remember how to work together.

Presented through theater, movement, video. 

New theater, created and performed by: Craig Dodge, Bradley Gale, Erick M. Goldsmith, Joel Richard Gori, Vicki Haller Graff, Emily Hannon, Chris Heslop, David A. Nice, Arielle Ridley, Adam Richter, Sean Sassaman, Jessica C. Warchal-King, Amy Young

All performance dates are pay what you will.  We recommend $20 if you are able.  We are also offering a “Pay It Forward” ticket for those able to double their ticket price.

Water and RTP t-shirts will be available to purchase but no other concessions due to COVID.

Unfortunately, the WCR is not wheelchair accessible.  If you may need help entering the building and walking up three stairs, please email or call 484-706-9719. 

IMPORTANT: You will be asked to show proof of vaccination at the door and wear a mask for the performance.

The board of the Reading Theater Project enacted a Covid policy through the end of 2021:
– All artists, designers, technicians who work in person must be fully vaccinated.
– In person, indoor audience members must be fully vaccinated and masked at performances.
– Masks are required for indoor rehearsals, performances, and events for all, regardless of vaccination status, except when performing (including performing in rehearsal). This includes the audience.

Film Script Reading in Partnership with the ReadingFilmFEST

Sunday, October 3, 1pm 

Sacred Heart School, 701 Franklin St., West Reading

“Imagine if “Singing In The Rain” had been done by John Waters.” 

ReadingFilmFEST screenplay contest winner!  The hilarious musical screenplay, Love is Afoot! was written by the comedy team of Perry Sachs (Happy Madison, Jim Henson, SNL), and ubiquitous Michael LaFata.   Michael (LaFata) Lacey is a Reading, PA, native and will be here in-person for the Script Reading. Produced in partnership with Santo D. Marabella and the Reading Film FEST. Presented by West Reading. 

Cast and Crew: Griffin Cook, Brad Gale, Joel Richard Gori, Daniel Graf, Vicki Haller Graff, Emily Hannon, Kirk Lawrence-Howard, Joel Lesher, Megan Rose

This is a limited capacity, ticketed event.  We recommend reserving advance tickets.

Appropriate for teen and adult audiences. 
Audience must be fully vaccinated and wear masks.  Click for more information.

In Nature’s Studio – July 25, 2021

Reading Theater Project returned to live, in person performance the summer of 2021 as the benches throughout the Arboretum at the Reading Public Museum become micro-stages for actors, dancers, and musicians. 

Theater by: Ryan Cassidy and Kathryn Pedersen, Brad Gale, Kath Godwin, Joel Gori, Christopher Paul Paolini, Adam Richter, Megan Rose, Amy J. Young; Live Music: Chris Heslop with Chip Breaux, Penn Hoffert, Kevin MacConnell, & Noah Wills; Jill Haley with Dana Cullen; Dance: Richie Maldonado, Arielle Ridley, Jessica C. Warchal-King; Performance art: Andrew and Nadia Pochan; the production is coordinated by Jewell A. Brown, Vicki Haller Graff, and Sean Sassaman. Pagoda hat and photography by Fadi Acra.

We could not create and share this new work without the generous support of EnerSys, the Reading Musical Foundation, Tompkins VIST Bank, JCWK Dance Lab, and Daily Loaf Bakery. 



The Mockingbird’s Nest – Online

This one-act play tells the story of elderly shut-in Daisy who begins to suspect her daughter and live-in caregiver, Robyn, isn’t what she seems to be. This play reading runs just under 30 minutes and is appropriate for adult audiences due to strong language. Written by playwright Craig Bailey, directed by Jimmy Damore, performed by Anita Lewis and Megan Rose.

Watch The Mockingbird’s Nest.

mockingbird's nest


Adaptations – Online

Adaptations was an online theater experiment of ten short recorded performances. Each performance is a non-verbal response to original tunes composed by Music Director Chris Heslop.

Themes included reflections on Adaptations related to small spaces, isolation, grief and loss, new ways of living, masks, self-care, anxiety, the aging body, nature, beauty, sound, and more. 

Watch Adaptations.



2020 Countdown calendar – online

A calendar that helped us cope with the trials and tribulations of 2020 C.E.




Second Home: Five Stories of Immigration – Online

“In this era when we make so little effort in understanding one another, it was important to create a piece where the voices of immigrants are front and center,” said playwright Adam Richter, who interviewed local immigrants and people from Puerto Rico as the basis for his new play. 

Cast & crew: Robert Barkley; Kath Godwin; Schon Gonzalez; Gabriela Marie; Bree Ogaldez; Robbert Torres; Griffin Yeyna; Adam Richter, Playwright; Vicki Haller Graff, Director; Sean Sassaman, Stage Manager

Watch Second Home.

second home five stories of immigration


5-Minute Fringe: Mirror

5-minute fringe, 2020

Pushing Boundaries | Taking Risks | Brand New Theater

This year’s theme is MIRROR, explored through music, words, and movement.

Plus two original works by the Yocum Institute for the Arts Teen Ensemble, directed by Megan Rose

We are grateful for the support of the Celebration of Women in the Arts – Berks County.

February 20-23, 2020

5-Minute Fringe: MIRROR photo gallery

  • Adam Richter – Unboxing Match
  • Chris Heslop and Fadi Acra – A Love Finding Its Reflection
  • Chris Paolini – FACETS – Part 2
  • David Nice – This Mortality Jazz: Three poems reflecting a life
  • Emily Hannon – Echo and Narcissus
  • Jane Ney – Seeing and Believing
  • Jayne R. Brown – Tomboy
  • Jessica Warchal-King and Emily Coppa – Wheels of Light
  • Nancy Lamb – Herstory and Mirror, Mirror
  • Phillip Jeffrey Tietbohl – Mirror Dialogue: What Do I See
  • Sue Lange – Party for Obsolete Words


Our Town

our town poster

Thornton Wilder’s iconic play “Our Town,” which celebrates the universality of the human condition, is set in a New Hampshire village. But the story could take place anywhere, including Reading, Pa. Director George Hatza’s concept is to make that connection, and to assist in that vision the production will assume an immersive approach. Welcoming a Berks County audience into the homes, streets, churches and finally the cemetery of Grover’s Corners seeks to unite the play’s characters intimately with its audience. Separated by a century, those observing the stories of the citizens of a New England hamlet at the dawn of the 20th century will see themselves — along with those who lived before and those who are yet to be born — as one and the same.

Septemper-October, 2019

Our Town Photo Gallery

  • Amy Young
  • Kathyrn Pedersen
  • Ezra Ali-Dow
  • Joel Lesher
  • Kathy Becker
  • Karyn Reppert
  • Jody Reppert
  • Daniel Graf
  • Richard Bradbury
  • Madeline Lippa
  • Jack Woods
  • Kath Godwin
  • Sid Watts
  • Dan Smith
  • Kathleen Newville
  • Griffin Yeyna
  • David Guest
  • Ann Davila
  • Pam Anderson


Everyone Hates This Place


No Place Like Home

play reading series

The yearlong series continues with Adam Richter’s Everyone Hates This Place and Santo D. Marabella’s No Place Like Home. Artistic director, Vicki Haller Graff, will direct. Jewell Brown will stage manage.

May 18, 2019

Performing in the readings were regional actors Susan Behm, Doris Frederick, Kath Godwin, Jane Ney, Sean Sassaman, Griffin Yenya, and Amy Young.


five minute fringe festival

Don’t miss twelve new works by local playwrights and performing artists – the 5-Minute Fringe:  Friday, February 22 at 8pm; Saturday, February 23 at 8pm; Sunday, February 24 at 2pm at the Yocum Institute for the Arts, 3000 Penn Avenue, West Lawn, PA.  Tickets $15.

The 5-Minute Fringe gives creative artists a platform to develop new and experimental work on a small scale, and it gives audiences a glimpse into the minds of local performers and writers.

February 22-24, 2019

  • Jayne Brown – Home Without the Hub – memoir
  • Christine Cieplinski – Low Moan to Growl – story
  • Emily Hannon – There’s No Place Like Home? – letters and commentary
  • Chris Heslop and Vicki Haller Graff – George Washington’s Greatest Hits – music and singing
  • Santo Marabella – Work Will Bring You Home – a new play directed by Santo Marabella with Kirk Lawrence Howard and Susan Casentini
  • David Nice – 12th Street – a new play directed by Sean Sassaman with Amy Young and Lauren White
  • Chris Paolini – Peter Pan Goes Over the Rainbow – Part II – movement and singing
  • Adam Richter – Dancing Lesson – a new play directed by John Gancar with Kirk Lawrence Howard and Robin Payne
  • Rachel Skye – Mi Vida Aloha – piano, poetry, and memoryJessica Warchal-King – Shed – contemporary dance

Plus two original works by the Yocum Institute for the Arts Teen Ensemble



by David Nice

recounting logo

Do our politics divide us or just reflect our divisions? Against the backdrop of a close, bitter election, two couples find that they cannot remain friends. Recounting is a look at the local toll of the national red and blue divide.

November 10, 2018

Synopsis: For years two married couples from opposite political parties have appeared to be good friends in conservative Central Pennsylvania. With the election of 2000, the Presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore proves to be the downfall of their bipartisan relationship. Carl persuades the local newspaper to look at a forgotten incident in Patrick’s professional past. Carl intentionally undermines Patrick’s political ambitions. Why? Had ambition, jealousy, and disloyalty already created the gulf between them? Do our politics divide us or just reflect our divisions? 


Piper’s Pitch

a modern fairy tale for adults

pipers pitch

Building on its reputation for creating new and exciting theater that is relevant to the Berks County community, Reading Theater Project proudly announces its upcoming production, Piper’s Pitch from September 28 to October 7, 2018 at the WCR Center for the Arts, 140 N. Fifth St., Reading, Pa.

Written and directed by Joel Richard Gori, with music composed by Chris Heslop, Reading Theater Project’s new production will utilize the fable of the Pied Piper of Hamelin to explore our current social climate.

“A grown-up version of the classic tale of The Pied Piper of Hamelin was a perfect fit for the RTP season theme, Fact or Fiction?,” said playwright and director Joel Gori, co-artistic director of the company. “In the original story, the Town Councilors are fraudulent to the young man who rids the town of their problems.  In my retelling of the tale, nobody trusts anyone, similar to the current climate of our country: Who do we believe? Where do we put our trust? Who do we turn to when we lose faith in those who lead us? With music, movement, humorous songs, theatricality and poignancy, creating this piece has made me smile.”

September/October 2018

Piper’s Pitch Gallery


Piper –  Ryan Cassidy

Anna – Kath Godwin

Rat Catcher – Joel Lesher

Son – Jack Woods

Villager 1 & Town Councilor 1 – Christopher David Roche

Villager 2 & Town Counclior 2 & Auslander – Megan Rose

Villager 3 & Corporate – Emily Hannon

Villager 4 & Mayor – Vicki Haller Graff


Production Team:

Joel Richard Gori – Playwright & Director

Chris Heslop – Composer

Jewell Brown – Assistant Stage Manager and Sound Designer

Craig Dodge – Lighting Designer and Technical Director

Kathie Kustudich – Props Designer

Amy Monizingo – Costume Designer

Andrew Pochan – Scenic Designer

Sean Sassaman – Production Stage Manager



Michael Evangelista – Bass

Jill Haley – Woodwinds

Lars Potteiger – Piano


5-Minute Fringe

Fairy Tales: Fact or Fiction?

fairy tales fact or fiction

Witness the birth of new theatre.  Students and professionals from across the region will perform their new work, everything from music to movement, from monologues to short plays, all inspired by Fairy Tales and the idea of “Once Upon A Time…”


  • Sue Lange
  • Chris Heslop
  • Vicki Haller Graff
  • Christopher Paolini
  • Emily Hannon
  • Margot Adams
  • David L. Kline
  • Christine Cieplinski
  • Jane Ney
  • Lars Potteiger
  • Rachel Skye
  • Jeanette Fotis
  • Kath Godwin

Teen Ensemble

  • Hannah Flannery
  • Rafe Forsyth
  • Nate Houck
  • Jordan Jones
  • Beverly Houck (director)


February, 2018

Fairy Tales: Fact or Fiction? Gallery

Project director

Vicki Haller Graff


  • Sue Lange
  • Chris Heslop
  • Lane Riosley
  • Emily Conklin
  • Charles J. Adams II
  • David L. Kline
  • Christine Cieplinski
  • Barry Kornhauser
  • Vicki Haller Graff
  • Lars Potteiger
  • Rachel Skye
  • Adam Richter
  • Andrew Pochan

Production Stage Manager

Christopher David Roché

Assistant Stage Manager & Director of  “Trapped”

Sean Sassaman


Fight or Flight

New plays on fear

fight or flight


  • Charlie Adams
  • Elizabeth Clark
  • Matt Fotis
  • George Hatza
  • Joel Richard Gori
  • Sue Lange
  • Santo Marabella
  • David Nice


  • Jeanette Fotis
  • Kath Godwin
  • Emily Hannon
  • Joel Lesher
  • Christopher David Roché
  • Amy Young


  • Cindy Miller-Aungst: flute, alto flute, bass flute
  • Jill Haley: oboe, English horn

September/October, 2017


Directed by Vicki Haller Graff & George Hatza

Music by Chris Heslop


Fight or Flight Gallery

rose under fire


One Book, One Community

Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire is a must read novel regardless of your genre preference! Rose Justice is an eighteen-year-old pilot who hails from Central Pennsylvania. She volunteers to serve in the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II. In a brave attempt to ram a “flying bomb” mid-air, her plane crosses into enemy territory.

Rose is captured and sent to Ravensbrück, a concentration camp. She meets women with deeply tragic yet heroic stories struggling to survive at the camp. They band together and protect one another from their German captors. Elizabeth Wein does not shy away from the atrocities committed during the war as she tells an endearing story of friendship, loyalty and self-sacrifice.

Spring, 2017

Adapted for RTP by Vicki Haller Graff

Directed by Christopher David Roché

dead of winter


Dead of Winter: Berks Haunting

Director: Joel Richard Gori
Playwrights: Sue Lange & Elizabeth Clark
Composer: Chris Heslop
Lighting Designer: Craig Dodge
Costume Designer: Christine Cieplinski
Production Stage Manager: Kris Savell
Assistant Stage Manager: Abbie Davies Starring:
Nelly Torres, Vicki Haller Graff, Amy Young, Kyle Lewis, Margot Adams, and
Christopher David Roché

January/February, 2017


Dead of Winter Gallery

lgbtqia fringe fest

LGBTQIA Fringe Festival

Reading Theater Project presents 5 Minute Fringe. RTP members and friends will present short pieces on just about anything in just about any style. You never know what you’re going to see at the 5 Minute Fringe, but whatever it is, it will be good.

Take a creative risk with us! Our focus is on performance and storytelling, highlighting the creative minds and performers living in Berks County and beyond!

Part of the Theater Project’s mission is to create new work. We have an improv team, hold play-readings, and produce plays written by local writers.

We wanted to add a smaller scale outlet for local performing artists to take risks and showcase their work!

April, 2016




The Outrageously True and Charmingly Infamous Life of that Glorious Jewish Catholic Priest, Genius Librettist who Inspired Mozart-of-All-People, Master of Italian Literature and Bringer-Of-It to America, Toothless Businessman, Pennsylvania Resident, Superb Lover of (All) Women, and So Many Other Topics and Situations

June, 2016

Cast: Zach Luchetti, Tamara Black, Matt Mangus, & Maria Damore

Story by Sue Lange

Libretto by Vicki Haller Graff

Composed by Chris Heslop

Directed by Christopher David Roché

Stage Managed by Tom Birch

Costumes by Rebeka Birch and Christine Cieplinski

Props by Kathie Kustudich

Lighting by Craig Dodge, VA Productions

in partnership with the Berks Opera Company



The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde

Classic theater approached in a new way.

Directed by Joel Gori.

November, 2015

marriage expo

Marriage Expo(sé)

Everything after the wedding! It’s a theatrical extravaganza about marriage in the 21st Century. Come visit Freddy Burgers’s Marriage Expo and hear a speaker, check out informative booths (with local vendors and actors playing vendors), and watch modern marriage unfold all around you (some of the other couples at the show will be actors). Audience will have the option to sit and watch the production or to walk around and immerse yourself in the expo. Either way, prepare yourself to experience a whole marriage in about 2 hours!

As with all our productions, Reading Theater Project blends outrageous comedy with thoughtful moments of quiet and reflection. We hold a mirror up to marriage, all kinds of marriage and committed relationships, and laugh together and think together.

Directed by Christine Cieplinski/ Created and Written by Sue Lange, Vicki Graff, and the Reading Theater Project/ Music by Chris Heslop/ Stage Managed by Tom Birch/ Costumes by Rebekah Birch

Cast includes Yasiris Alvarado, Christine Cieplinski, Camellia Eddy-Natalini, Joel Gori, Vicki Graff, Shannon Harris, Chris Heslop, Erica Hesselson, Sue Lange, Joel Lesher, Sean Malak, Kate Mohn, Jane Ney, Michael O’Brien, Lily Oglesby, Luis Pagan-Anderson, Michael Piz, Andrew Pochan, Martha Richardson, Amy Shea, Katie Urich, Sid Watts, David Weidler, Lauren White

May, 2015

Marriage Expo Gallery



Enter the Diamond Mine, a speakeasy that could be straight from Reading in 1920. We’ve got a hot jazz trio, our very own Vaudeville troupe, and bootleggers seated at the next table. Though national prohibition of alcohol had passed, Reading was living up its reputation as a wide open town. As the years passed, Reading changed. Speakeasy is a play that follows Reading from 1920 to 1933, through several characters’ stories.
Written by Sue Lange, directed by Vicki Graff, composed and musical directed by Chris Heslop, Set Design by Andrew Pochan, Stage Managed by Eileen Tarquinio.
Cast includes: Kira Apple, S. Marie DeBooth, Marie Suzanne DeBooth, Christine Cieplinski, Joel Gori, Joel Lesher, Anita Lewis, Jane Ney, Michael O’Brian, Luis Pagan-Anderson, Chris Roché, and Julia Smith.
performed at the Olympian Ballroom, 603 Penn Ave., West Reading, PA

August/September, 2014

This production was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, by the Reading Musical Foundation, and by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and sponsored by Industrial Plywood, the Home Artisan Group, and the West Reading Tavern. Poster Design by Typothecary Press.


Speakeasy Gallery


one body

One Body

Reading Theater Project created a series of personal performance pieces (theater and music, some solo, some ensemble) at the Ceres Gallery in New York City for Pamela Shields’ gallery exhibit (NSFW). The works were also performed in Reading PA.

The performances were inspired by Shields’ work and perspective of “being comfortable in your own skin” and “what’s normal and acceptable.” This work is personal and political, witty and intelligent.

May/June, 2014

This production was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, by the Reading Musical Foundation, and by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and sponsored by Industrial Plywood, the Home Artisan Group, and the West Reading Tavern. Poster Design by Typothecary Press.


may be honest

May Be Honest

…was a huge success thanks to you! We sold out every show, had great discussions with local artists and historians, and created original, innovative theater right here in Berks County!

In 1809 in Berks County, Susanna Cox, a “homely maid of 24 years,” was arrested, convicted and hanged for infanticide of her newborn son. She was uneducated, she could not speak English, she was a servant.

Though her story has been told over and over since 1809, in court, in songs, in the news, and more, she never had the opportunity to tell it herself. Why do we keep telling her story? What is it that captivates us?

August, 2013

This production was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, by the Reading Musical Foundation, and by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and sponsored by Industrial Plywood, the Home Artisan Group, and the West Reading Tavern. Poster Design by Typothecary Press.


May Be Honest Gallery