Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Thespians"

Beth Watson is ready for her final bow, and when the curtain drops on the final performance of Footloose in the fall, the Thurmont Thespians twenty-year run will come to an end.

“It’s time,” said Watson, adding, “even if it’s going to be hard to give up something you love so much.”

Watson and her husband, Spence, moved to the Thurmont area in 1993 and formed the Thurmont Thespians a few years later. It originally began as an organization to train and inspire young actors and allow them to perform. It eventually expanded into an organization for adults that performed multiple shows each year at the Thurmont American Legion. During that time, it became a cultural staple for Thurmont.

“We both founded it, but it was his genius that got it going, not mine,” expressed Watson.

Watson retired after directing The Fantasticks in March. The performance of Footloose in the fall will be directed by Rosalyn Smaldone, who actually came up through the Thurmont Thespians program, learning her skills first in the children’s workshops, then as an actor with the group, and now finally as a director.

“I think it speaks well for the program that our last production is directed by someone who came through our program,” Watson said.

When Footloose closes, so will the Thurmont Thespians. It will be the sixty-fifth performance staged by the theater group.

“I’m really proud that we produced three original musicals over the years,” Watson said. This includes a play about autism that actually went on tour to Washington, D.C.

Although Watson still loves the stage, she is eighty-one years old and feels it is time to quit. Also, she points out that managing the group has been a heavier burden to run since Spence died in 2014.

Watson’s love of the stage is not surprising. She and Spence met onstage playing opposite each other in a dinner theater in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1980. They were married thirty years.

Out of the sixty-five shows the Thurmont Thespians have performed, her favorite production is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which they produced in the middle of the summer. She knew the author of the book and was able to tie in author events with the performances.

She has acted in, as well as directed, shows. She has even been able to perform with family. She and Spence acted together in Gin Game and Love Letters, and she performed with her daughter in Grace and Glorie.

Her main goal with the Thurmont Thespians, though, has always been to teach children to love the theater.

“I love the theater, and I think it teaches kids a lot,” Watson said. “The Thurmont Thespians was also able to provide something they couldn’t get in school.” She estimates that approximately three hundred children have attended the summer workshops for children held every year. Some children came back summer after summer and fell in love with the theater. Others only attended one summer and decided that it wasn’t for them.

However, keeping the program running requires a lot of time and effort. It also requires a lot of fundraising, which she never liked doing.

Once she retires, Watson said the first thing she is going to do is rest and relax.


Nathan Kopit, Emily Cofer, Beth Watson, and Rachel Johnson. Nathan, Emily, and Rachel participated in the Thurmont Thespians summer program and had lead roles in the adult production of The Fantasticks in March 2016. Emily and Rachel were both in productions as preschoolers, as they had older siblings in the program.


Beth Watson is shown teaching students in the Thurmont Thespians Program, her main goal always being to teach children to love the theater.

Thurmont Thespians Hold Auditions for 2015 Fall Show

The Thurmont Thespians are proud to announce auditions for their fall show, God’s Favorite, a comedy by Neil Simon and directed by Matthew Bannister.

Auditions will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church, located on 15 N. Church Street in Thurmont, on Tuesday, September 1, at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, September 2, at 4:00 p.m. The audition will consist of cold reads from the script and some improvisation scenarios.

God’s Favorite is based on the biblical story of Job and takes place in a Long Island mansion. One night, a messenger from God, Sidney Lipton (with a big G on his sweatshirt) arrives and, as in the biblical story, goes through all manner of temptations to get Joe Benjamin to renounce God. When he refuses, he is visited by all the afflictions imaginable. He stands firm and the messenger has to admit defeat. The household consists of a pious, God-fearing tycoon named Joe Benjamin and his family: a long-suffering wife, Rose; a prodigal son, David; a pair of kooky twins, Ben and Sarah; and the maid and butler, Mady and Morris.

All roles are open. For more information, please contact Matt Bannister at 240-626-8178 or by email

The Great American Wheat Harvest is Nominated for a Regional Emmy Award

Frederick area film maker, Conrad Weaver of ConjoStudios, LLC, just announced that his 2014 documentary film, The Great American Wheat Harvest has been nominated for an Emmy Award! On Thursday, August 7, 2015, the Mid-America Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences revealed the nominees for the 2015 Regional Emmy Awards, and The Great American Wheat Harvest was nominated in the documentary-cultural category.

The film aired on WQPT (Quad Cities PBS) this past February and consequently qualified to be submitted for the nomination. As one of nineteen regional chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Mid-America Chapter is the standard-bearer for excellence in the television broadcasting industry and the gatekeepers of the prestigious regional Emmy Awards. Mid-America represents the most experienced and talented television professionals from all disciplines of the industry in the region.

“It’s really an honor to be nominated for an Emmy Award; it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and persistence in getting our film to an audience who needs to see it. This nomination is also a tribute to the farmers and harvesters who work hard, year in and year out, to bring food to our tables,” said Weaver.

The 39th Mid-America Emmy Gala will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, and Weaver hopes to come home with the golden statue.

Weaver is looking for more opportunities to air the film. Any television station programming director who would like to feature The Great American Wheat Harvest, should contact him at 301-606-7794, or email at or on Twitter: @conjostudios. The film is also available on DVD through the website:

Weaver and his company, along with another Frederick company, Archai media, are currently working on another documentary film, Thirsty Land. This film will tell the story about the drought in the American west and its impact on agriculture and communities. Learn more at

Hometown Author to Sign Books at Blue Ridge Summit Library

Hometown Author, Allison B. Hanson, will be signing books on Saturday, September 12, 2015, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., at the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library, located at 15055 Summit Plaza in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

Come out to meet the author as she introduces the first book in the Blue Ridge Romance Series, When Least Expected. Visit her website at



Thurmont Thespians Present Summer Musical Seussical Jr.

Seussical Jr.The Thurmont Thespians present their summer musical, Seussical Jr. Calling all people, boys and girls, sneetches and Whos, anyone happy and anyone bluecome see forty young birds, elephants, jungle creatures and Whos (all under the age of fourteen) go on adventures from the mind of Dr. Seuss. From the jungle of Nool to the River Walloo to New York City and Whoville too, this tale is sure to suit your imagination.

Come see the show at the American Legion in Thurmont on July 16-18, 2015, and July 23-25, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.; and July 19 and 26, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.00 each.

Don’t miss out on seeing Seussical Jr. All your well-known friends are no longer just on a page; come see them come to life on stage. Call 301-271-7613 for reservations.


Peach Festival at Mt. Tabor Park

Mt. Tabor Church of Rocky Ridge is holding a Peach Festival at Mt. Tabor Park (home of the big slide) on Saturday, July 18, 2015, from 4:00-9:00 p.m. Event will feature music by Full Effect. Everyone is welcome.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield is hosting many events in July, including a Cash Bingo on July 12, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. and bingo beginning at 1:00 p.m.; a Horseshoe Tournament on July 19 at 11:30 a.m. and an Archery 3D Shoot; and Nominations and Quarterly Meeting on July 21 at 7:00 p.m.. Hall, barn, and pavilion rentals available.

Lewistown Fire Department’s Sportsmans Bingo

Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department’s Sportsmans Bingo will be held on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m.; buffet meal will start at 6:00 p.m.; and games will begin at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $40.00 per person (includes dinner, ice tea, and beer). Advanced ticket sales only.

The King Strings Coming to Creagerstown in August

The King Family, consisting of John and Cindy King and children, expressed excitement about bringing their musical abilities to our area. The fantastic family will be at the Union Church in Creagerstown (8619 Blacks Mill Road on Sunday, August 2, at 3:00 p.m. Their musical talents will bring smiles to your face as you enjoy the air conditioning and exceptional acoustics of the historic building.

The Kings Strings, formed in 2004, is based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, but have traveled the eastern seaboard performing music from the hammered dulcimer, mandolin, ukulele, drums, and anything that produces musical sounds.

The Kings Strings have been called “The Von Trapp family with instruments.” Each program is different including a wide variety of music. Everyone is welcome.

For more information call Viola 301-898-9898 or visit their website at

Guardian Hose Company’s Annual Carnival

Bring the whole family out for the much-anticipated annual Carnival in Thurmont, sponsored by the Guardian Hose Company, to be held July 6-11, 2015, at the carnival grounds on East Main Street in Thurmont. Event features live music every night, a variety of fun and thrilling amusement rides, raffles throughout the week with prizes, games for all ages, a parade, and much more!

Guardian Hose Company’s First Annual Cornhole Tournament

The first annual Double Elimination Cornhole Tournament will be held on Saturday, August 22, 2015, at the Thurmont carnival grounds, located at 123 E. Main Street in Thurmont. Registration will start at 9:00 a.m.; tournament will begin at 10:30 a.m. The cost is $50.00 per team or $15.00 per spectator. Event features cash prizes, tip jars, music, raffle, and much more! Tournament benefits Thurmont’s Guardian Hose Company.

Live Grill Demonstrations at Zurgable Brothers Hardware

On Friday, July 3, 2015, from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., and on Saturday, July 25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Zurgable’s will hold live grill demonstrations.

Fox Haven Field Day

Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center in Jefferson, Maryland, will host a Field Day on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Nature walks, children’s programs, farm-based education, and tours will be featured along with special focus on solar powered irrigation, planting through crimped cover crops, riparian buffer zones, and nutrient recycling systems and soil health.

3D Target Shoots at Indian Lookout

The Indian Lookout Conservation Club in Emmitsburg will host 3D Target Shoots on Thursday nights, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. The cost is $5.00 per adult; children ages twelve and under are free.

Total Kid Summer Camp at Well-Fit in Thurmont

The Total Kid Summer Camp, presented by the Youth Wellness Organization, will be held at the Well-Fit Aerobics and Fitness Center in Thurmont. The camp is for children (ages 8-14) and features four sessions: June 22-July 3; July 6-17; July 20-31; August 3-14. Cost is $75.00 per week; $150.00 per session. Registration will be held on Saturday, June 6, 13, and 20, from noon-1:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Thurmont Farmers Market Opens for Another Season

The first Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market of the season kicked off on Saturday, June 13, 2015. Vendors brought their home-grown local products to the market, including kale, onions, strawberries, homemade preserves, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, and home-baked varieties of sourdough breads.

The new location for the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market is the Municipal Parking Lot adjacent to Main Street. Every week brings us closer to more and more of the juicy fruits and vegetables of the season! Farmers Market is open Saturdays, 9:00 a.m.-noon, from June through September.

To become a vendor, or for more information, contact or visit their website at

TT-Nunsense-2015-castIn 2007, the Thurmont Thespians started the Nunsense series with the original Nunsense, which was a huge success for the local theater group.  They followed that up in 2009 with Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, which was also well received by the area theater goers. Now six years later, they are bringing another hilarious entry from the Nunsense series back to the stage with Meshuggah-Nuns: The Ecumenical Nunsense, and will once again be directed by Steven Ross.         

Playing the part of Reverend Mother is Allison Banzhoff from Hagerstown, Maryland, making her debut with the Thurmont Thespians. Kelli Donaghue from Woodsboro, Maryland, will be playing Sister Robert Anne, and Travis Sanders from Fairfield, Pennsylvania, will be taking on the role of Howard Listz. Making her stage debut is Jessica Paguingan from Thurmont, playing Sister Gnu and understudying the role of Sister Amnesia. Rounding out the cast are Thurmont natives Anna Perry as Sister Hubert and Emily Cofer as Sister Amnesia.

Meshuggah-Nuns sets sail for laughs and fun on the high seas with the Little Sisters of Hoboken attempting to put on a show for the Faiths of All Nations cruise. They are joined by Howard Liszt, the only cast member from the ship’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” not affected by sea sickness. Hilarity ensues when these characters join forces to put on a wacky-review show that is part Catholic, part Jewish, and part disaster movie, with a little “Gilligan’s Island” thrown in to top it off.

The show dates are March 20, 21, 27, and 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and March 22 and 29 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.00 per person. Dinner theater is on March 28 at 6:00 p.m. and is $35.00 per person. 

All shows are presented at the Thurmont American Legion, located at 8 Park Lane in Thurmont. Reservations can be made by calling 301-271-7613.