Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Box Office - The "Voice" of LTA

The Little Theatre of Alexandria mounts seven mainstage productions each season, which is an incredible number of plays and musicals for a community theater. All ticket sales for each of these theatrical creations go through our box office. LTA is very fortunate to have a full-time Box Office Manager, Tina Barry McCrea, to organize, arrange, and supervise a vast array of volunteers in order to ensure a smooth manage-ment of our ticket sales. To those contacting LTA for the first time, Tina is the pleasant, helpful voice they hear on the tele-phone. For those who already are members and subscribers, she’s the valuable old friend who is always willing to assist with any questions or difficulties and guide our patrons in their decisions. I guess one could say that Tina is the “Voice of LTA!”
Tina McCrea and her husband, Mike McCrea.

In addition to handling subscriptions and daily ticket sales, Tina manages LTA’s social media and public relations (in conjunction with our Governor for PR) such as Facebook, Twitter, the LTA Blog, and the LTA website, as well as the press. She also compiles show reports of ticket sales for each production. While managing the box office during these productions, Tina trains and schedules our box office volunteers. She also assists with front of the house duties when needed. Tina’s daily office responsibilities encompass a wide range of responsibilities, skills, and expertise.

LTA welcomes volunteers at any time. If you’d like to work in our box office, please contact Tina at No experience necessary! Tina will train you and assist you through the process. Working the box office desk, or the window during the performances is a wonderful way to meet and greet our LTA patrons. Observing the smiles of our audiences, and having the opportunity to converse with them before a performance, is a delight and a very satisfying experience. Come join the fun and add your “voice” to LTA!

-Joanna Henry (LTA Box Office Governor)

Friday, March 1, 2013

News from LTA's Front of the House

When I began serving as Governor for Front of the House about two years ago, one of the things I wanted to do was add some kind of flowers to the lobby and in the Council Green Room at the theatre, just to soften up the appearance and make it look more friendly. Some attempts to keep fresh flowers in these areas were never really successful, so the only other option seemed to be to put artifi-cial arrangements in place.

But last spring, a strange thing happened: All of a sudden someone was taking my artificial arrangements and hiding them away, and replacing them with fresh flowers. Once in a while, the fresh flowers would die and I’d find my arrangements and bring them back out. But within a day or two, they would disappear again and be replaced with fresh flowers. What a mystery! Who was doing this and where were these fresh flowers coming from? No one knew the answer, and it remained a mystery for several weeks until one afternoon when I was in the Council Green Room doing an inventory of our supplies, there came
Arnaldo Duran, our custodian, with cut flowers in his hands. "Whoa," I thought, "why does Arnaldo have cut flowers in his hands?" I questioned him about it, and discovered that it was he who was planting these flowers in the flower beds around the theatre, and periodically cutting them and filling the vases. I had no idea, and who would have thought that Arnaldo was the one responsible for keeping fresh flowers in the lobby and Council Green Room? Since then, I have hardly ever had to put out my artificial arrangements, as Arnaldo continues to keep fresh flowers in the vases. I’m not sure he can do this through the winter months, so we may have to resort to the artificial arrangements. But when spring comes, I bet we’ll start seeing the wonderful fresh flowers again.

Let’s take this opportunity to thank Arnaldo Duran for not only doing an excellent job keeping the theatre looking its best inside and out, but for going the extra mile and keeping fresh flowers in the vases on the credenza in the lobby and mantle in the Council Green Room.

Arnaldo, thanks for doing a great job. It is very much appreciated.

Lloyd Bittinger
Governor, Front of the House

It's All About Teamwork! - Beverley Benda (Governor of Artistic Support)

Baseball season is over, football season is on, and basketball season is on deck. Now, let me be very clear: I am NOT into sports! But, here at LTA, I am very interested in the same kind of winning teamwork sports teams require. LTA’s Artistic Support is all about teamwork, and I am extremely proud of the team I get to work with and for in all areas.

Mike McCrea in the Props Closet.
Bobbie Herbst
and Nicole Zuchetto have been longtime keepers of our Props Closet and are currently working on a major clean-out of that space with the huge help of newcomer, Mike McCrea. They are re-organizing the space to include a redesign of the room with new, moveable shelving. So WONDERFUL!
Kevin Lane, a master costumer, has worked on LTA productions for 20 years! He joins Annie Vroom, longtime Chairman of the Costume Closet! I got to wear his selections in Auntie Mame and Annie, and I enjoy not only his humor, but also his dedication to our Closet. Join him and Annie for their clean-out in December, just in time for the class registration/costume sale in January!

Judy Kee is now joined by Rebecca and John Johnson as co-chairs for Off-Site Storage Garages. Judy headed up a clean-out just last month, and purged a lot of ‘dead wood’ to make way for new acquisitions. She had a great team of volunteers to help her in that clean-out, and would like to thank Eddy Parker, David Moretti, Charlie Dragonette, Dan Remmers, Art Snow, Marcia Carpenter, Alan Stuhl, and Orron Kee for helping her with the heavy lifting on this tough project. Again, great teamwork! Judy was also responsible for the repairs made to the leaking ceilings in those areas before we got our new roofs. Great work, Judy!

Bette Williams and Susan Boyd have completely cleaned out and reorganized the Wig and Makeup Cabinets. I can’t even imagine the hours it took these two to wash, dry, and style the wigs; and pitch the expired makeup and powder, and the unusable combs, pins, and wigs. And for the LTA website under "Information – Donations and Theatre Loans," all of these amazing chairper-sons have created a single entry with a basic policy to enable outside groups to borrow from our assets, including contact information! It really shows other theaters that LTA is truly a community-oriented theatre. Now THAT’S TEAM-WORK! Redskins, eat our dust!

-Beverley Benda

From Director Joanna Henry - 33 Variations

It's so exciting that auditions for 33 Variations are this weekend! We've been planning this for almost a year, and the enthusiasm builds with each meeting, with each discussion, and with each design. The past month has been a series of “melding of the minds” with the designers: reviewing the script, looking at the challenges, and creatively collaborating on the overall look and feel of the play. It's especially thrilling to be able to have an extremely talented pianist be with us on stage to perform these variations live as the play progresses.

33 Variations is a story about “a mother coming to terms with her daughter, a composer coming to terms with his genius.  And, even though they‘re separated by 200 years, these two people share an obsession that might, even just for a moment, make time stand still.” (Dramatists Play Service website). 
It has been a fascinating journey not only into history and music, but also into the minds of the master Ludwig van Beethoven and the musicologist Dr. Katherine Brandt. Researching this play has revealed a vast treasure trove of anecdotes, family feuds, madness and passion, fear and acceptance, genius and love.  The author Moises Kaufman has said that 33 Variations is “a play WITH music… a play WITH dancing… a play WITH singing…It really tries to redefine how the theatrical space is used.”

The process of bringing Kaufman's words and Beethoven's music alive on the LTA stage begins this weekend with our auditions. Then, the real work starts as the actors, designers, stage managers, producers, crew, and I all work in partnership together to share this story with our audiences. I, for one, am so looking forward to the journey.

Joanna Henry
Director of 33 Variations