Past Projects

present, future, past
Poster Design by Andrew and Nadia Pochan

Present, Future, Past

Our season begins this fall with Present, Future, Past, three one act plays about Reading.  Each explores the place we live, the people who live here, and what we assume to be true about both.

  • PRESENT: Buy to Rent by Félix Alfonso Peña and directed by Daphnee McMaster
  • FUTURE: Everybody Hates This Place by Adam Richter and directed by Andrea Kennedy Hart
  • PAST: Grave Concerns by Susan E. Sneeringer and directed by Jody Reppert

November 2022

George Baer Chapel


In Nature’s Studio: Picturing the Occult

This performance features new work by theater artists: Vicki Haller Graff (Undine of the Arboretum), Andrea Hart and Lady Strongman (The Medium), and Rob Weidman (Getting Familiar with Familiars).

RTP Music Director and composer Chris Heslop will debut a new piece for the Tempered Brass Trio:Shari Gleason-Mayrhofer (French horn), Jeffrey Wohlbach (trumpet), and Daniel Neuenschwander (trombone). Jill Haley (oboe/English horn) and Dana Cullen (piano) will be playing Jill’s National Park compositions.

JCWK Dance Lab (Warchal-King, Cady Monasmith, Woosoon Kim, and Arielle Ridley) will present two dances from a longer work, Dark Adaptations, and Richie Maldonado and his Street Connects Crew will perform their signature Hip hop & elemental style dance, using the environment to influence the movement.

The production is directed by Joel Richard Gori and Jessica C. Warchal-King, with support from Kayla Laucks and Stacy Laucks.

This production is generously supported by EnerSys, Visions Federal Credit Union, and the Reading Musical Foundation. All of our work is supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Berks Arts.

August 21, 2022

Reading Public Museum Arboretum


in nature's studio birds
In nature's studio bass trees
In nature's studio bridge

In Nature’s Studio: Real Bodies

In Nature’s Studio brings performing artists out from inside the theater to the beautiful Reading Public Museum Arboretum. Performers (music, dance, theater) will be stationed throughout the landscape areas along the accessible walking path.  Each will perform their own work on a schedule, either a short work on repeat or a longer piece or collection of pieces for up to 90 minutes.  

This production is generously supported by EnerSys, Visions Federal Credit Union, and the Reading Musical Foundation. All of our work is supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Berks Arts.

July 10, 2022

Reading Public Museum Arboretum


wRESTling-fringe 2022

5-Minute Fringe

wRESTling

Reading Theater Project’s 7th annual 5-Minute Fringe Festival offers artists a platform to create new work, develop and explore ideas, challenge their own expectations, and collaborate with an artistic community.

Each year we choose a theme to unify the performances in the Fringe Festival. This year, the theme is wRESTling. We’ve been reflecting on ideas within ideas, words within words, and both wrestling and rest made us think and feel this year.

  • What issues are you wrestling with right now?
  • What has helped you find the time to rest? How do you rest?
  • What truths have you wrestled free over the last several months?
  • What fears are resting beneath the surface?

February, 2022

Yocum Institute for Arts Education


mixed messages

Mixed MESSages

New Theater in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

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. 

November, 2021

WCR Center for the Arts

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

love is afoot

Love is Afoot

Film Script Reading in Partnership with the ReadingFilmFest

“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. 

Sunday, October 3 2021

Sacred Heart School

New theater, created and performed by: 

Cast and Crew: 

  • Griffin Cook
  • Brad Gale
  • joel Richard Gori
  • Daniel Graf
  • Vicki Haller Graff
  • Emily Hannon
  • Kirk Lawrence-Howard
  • Joel Lesher
  • Megan Rose


In Nature's Studio

In Nature’s Studio

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. 

We could not create and share this new work without the generous support of

  • EnerSys
  • Reading Musical Foundation
  • Tompkins VIST Bank
  • JCWK Dance Lab
  • Daily Loaf Bakery

Sunday, July 25 2021

Reading Public Museum Arboretum

This production was coordinated by Jewell A. Brown, Vicki Haller Graff, and Sean Sassaman.

Pagoda hat and photography by Fadi Acra.

Cast and Crew

  • 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

mockingbird's nest

The Mockingbird’s Nest

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.


adaptations

Adaptations

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. 


santa sleigh

Countdown Calendar

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


second home five stories of immigration

SECOND HOME: FIVE STORIES OF IMMIGRATION

“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

Online

Cast and Crew

  • Robert Barkley
  • Kath Godwin
  • Schon Gonzalez
  • Gabriela Marie
  • Bree Ogaldez
  • Robbert Torres
  • Griffen Yeyna

Playwright: Adam Richter

Director: Vicki Haller Graff

Stage Manager: Sean Sassaman


5-minute fringe, 2020

5-Minute Fringe: Mirror

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.

Yocum Institute for Arts Education

February 20-23, 2020

  • 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 poster

Our Town

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.

WCR Center for the Arts

September-October 2019

  • 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

play reading series

Everyone Hates this Place & No Place Like Home

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.

Yocum Institute for Arts Education

May 18, 2019

  • Susan Behm
  • Doris Frederick
  • Kath Godwin
  • Jane Ney
  • Sean Sassaman
  • Griffin Yenya
  • Amy Young

five minute fringe festival

5-Minute Fringe: Finding Home

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

Yocum Institute for Arts Education

  • 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


recounting logo

Recounting

by David Nice

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.

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? 

November 10, 2018


pipers pitch

Piper’s Pitch

A Modern Day Fairytale for Adults

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.”

February, 2018

Cast:

  • 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

Procuction 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

Musicians:

  • Michael Evangelista – Bass
  • Jill Haley – Woodwinds
  • Lars Potteiger – Piano

fork on a road photo for fringe fest 2018

5-Minute Fringe

Fairy Tales: Fact or Fiction?

A Moderna Day Fairytale for Adults

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…”

September-October, 2018

Project Director:

Vicki Haller Graff

Writers:

  • 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

Actors:

  • 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)

Live Music:

Production Stage Manager:

Christopher David Roché

Assistant Stage Manager and Director of “Trapped”

Sean Sassaman


fight or flight

Fight or Flight

New Plays on Fear

September-October, 2017

Directed by Vicki Haller Graff & George Hatza

Music by Chris Heslop

Original Short Plays by:

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

Featuring:

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

Live Music by:

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

rose under fire

Rose Under Fire

One Book, One Community

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

January-February, 2017

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

Actors:

  • Nelly Torres
  • Vicki Haller Graff
  • Amy Young
  • Kyle Lewis
  • Margot Adams
  • Christopher David Roché

lgbtqia fringe fest

LGBTQIA Fringe Festival

5-Minute Fringe

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


daponte

Daponte

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


importance of being earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde

Classic theater approached in a new way.

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.

May, 2015

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:

  • Yasiris Alvarado
  • Christine Cieplinski
  • Camellia Eddy-Natalini
  • Joel Gori
  • Vicki Haller 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

speakeasy poster

Speakeasy

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.

August-September, 2014

Written by Sue Lange

Directed by Vicki Haller Graff

Composed and musical directed by Chris Heslop

Set Design by Andrew Pochan

Stage Managed by Eileen Tarquinio.


Cast:

  • 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
  • Julia Smith.

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


may be honest poster

May Be Honest

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