The Lohrfink Family Takes the Stage

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The Chapman family is not the only family to have multiple generations involved in the current production of The Santa Diaries.

Kimberly Lohrfink tells me that their family first got involved in theater in 2004 when older son, Nick (now married and out of the house), was cast as Daddy Warbucks in his school’s production of Annie.  As Nick went through high school, he was in various productions, and the acting bug took hold of the whole family. The kids became involved with STAR, LTD., a  community theater in Relay, MD, in 2007 – Nick was 16, Sarah was 8 and Philip was 4.

Kimberly took on many  roles such as costume coordinator, make-up artist, stage manager – “anything and everything offstage,” she said.  In 2008, STAR announced that they were doing an “all ages” production of Scrooge and Marley, and Kimberly, thinking that it would be a great family bonding experience,  convinced her husband, Dan, to audition. She thought they would just be in the ensemble, but were cast as Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit.  Kimberly said,”It was a wonderful show, and we had a blast.”

Lohrfink family

In 2010, Sarah and Philip were both cast in St. Gabriel’s Miracle Player’s production of Wonderland. Kimberly was again behind the scenes as the Stage Manager for that show, and Dan helped out with lights and sound.

In this production of The Santa Diaries, Dan Lohrfink fills the role of Sandy Hawes, the small-town Santa who comes from a long time of Santas and hopes his son, Will, will put on the Santa boots.

Lohrfink, Dan as Santa  Lohrfink, Dan

Normally, when Dan takes the stage he’s not wearing a red suit, he’s playing bass  or guitar with a band.  He said, “my stint as Bob Cratchit was quite a change from playing a dumb ol’ shepherd in my 1st grade Christmas play.”

Kimberly Lohrfink is playing Edna (one of the Casserole ladies) and also appears in the ensemble cast. Offstage, Kimberly works as a Program Director for Johns Hopkins CTY, volunteers as a Girl Scout leader, chauffeurs her kids to their various activities, and she makes the BEST sweet potato casserole. Can we get the recipe, Kimberly?

Lohrfink, Kimberly

Dan and Kimberly’s son, Philip, is a 6th grader at St. Agnes School.  He enjoys playing the piano and trumpet and singing.  He’s in his school choir and band. Clearly this kid loves the stage!

Lohrfink, Philip

His previous roles include Colin (Secret Garden), Tiny Tim (Scrooge and Marley), the Red Knight and the Lion (Wonderland).  In his free time, Philip enjoys Origami, drawing and Legos. In The Santa Diaries production he is playing Boy Ebenezer, and five different ensemble roles. Keeping track of those costume changes is going to be a challenge.

High school Sophomore, Sarah Lohrfink has been cast as Rose, along with two other ensemble roles. Sarah is no stranger to the stage. She’s been involved in theater since she was eight.  Previous roles include Biddy Haggerty (The Ghost of Rhodes Manor), Little Boy Blue (Babes in Toyland), Ruth Taylor (Don’t Say No to the USO), Captain Bree (Lady Pirates of Captain Bree) and Alice (Wonderland).  In addition to theater, Sarah enjoys singing, and she plays flute in the TCHS Band.  Her dream is to someday be on Broadway.

Lohrfink, Sarah

Due to schedule conflicts, jobs, etc., the Lohrfink family has not been able to all do a show together since 2010 – until now.  Sarah, Philip, Dan and Kimberly are having a great time taking the stage together again in The Santa Diaries.  One of the themes of our play is family coming together. What better way than parents and kids participating in this wonderful family show!

A Boy and His Dog

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A child and a stuffed dog are just two of the characters in The Santa Diaries who begin to penetrate Will Hawes emotional armor. Timmy Darling has a problem and it’s one to which Will can relate. Other people know about it, but Timmy only confides his feelings to his stuffed animal, Marley, a toy from which he is inseparable.  As Will lets Timmy in, he becomes a mentor and protector of this little boy who, at the beginning of the play, is afraid of Will. And as Timmy let’s Will into his life, Marley can  occasionally be relinquished.

James Stranger, age 6, is playing Timmy in the upcoming production of The Santa Diaries at Liberty Showcase Theatre. This is his first play and his mom, Michelle, tells us he loves to entertain. A first grader at The Chatsworth School in Reisterstown, James takes ballet and tap classes and it was his dance teacher who recommended he audition for the role of Timmy. Mom says he is very excited and loves practicing his lines! In his free time, James likes playing with friends and dressing up in a variety of costumes. “He’s always wearing something crazy,” his mom says. We like his style! James is only the second person to play Timmy and he’s going to bring his own charm and enthusiasm to the role.

James Stranger

For staging purposes, Marley, the stuffed animal has to be big enough to be visible from the back row. And since there are several scenes when Marley comes to life and is a costumed actor, the stuffed dog and the dog costume have to match. At the Avalon Theatre last year, a Dalmatian was chosen and a costume with detachable head was purchased. Liberty Showcase switched things up and chose a lovely brown dog with floppy dark ears and white paws and snout. A costume is being made for the actor who plays Marley. I’ll post a photo when I can.

Liberty-Showcase-Marley-for

Laura and I will be attending a rehearsal of the show on Saturday, November 23. That’s just two weeks before the opening. We remember how chaotic things were at Avalon rehearsals last year around the same time.  It’s the time when you think there’s no way everything can come together. There’s a reason live theater is called DRAMA! But then it happens – the lights go up and magic happens.

Performances dates for The Santa Diaries are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at http://www.libertyshowcasetheatre.org/.

Becoming Martha

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Fran Desha has been cast as Martha in The Santa Diaries being performed at Glyndon United Methodist Church this coming December in Maryland.  Liberty Showcase Theatre is producing the show.

Performances dates are as follows: Friday, December 6th and 13th at 8PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 8PM; Saturday, December 14th at 8PM and Sunday, December 15th at 2PM. The venue is Glyndon United Methodist Church, 4713 Butler Road, Glyndon, MD 21071. For tickets visit the Liberty Showcase Theatre website at http://www.libertyshowcasetheatre.org/.

Fran DeSha

Laura and I loved writing this character. Like many of us, Martha especially misses her family at the holidays and hopes that if she can make Christmas perfect, they might come for a visit. She’s afraid to ask. What if they say “no.” Martha loves Sandy, the father in the play, and has to fend off her friends…the interested-in-any-single-man Casserole Ladies. She feels responsible for Sandy breaking his leg. After all, he was on her roof stringing Christmas lights when he tumbled to the ground. Martha is everyone of us who yearns for the holidays to sync with our fantasies.

Fran told us she did a lot of theater in high school and then took a 35 year break!  Professionally,  she works as a Regional Sales Manager for an insurance company.  She came back to theater a couple of years ago when her daughter got involved in theater at her college and convinced Fran to audition with her that following summer. The theater bug bit her again, and she has now been involved in several shows with various community theater groups – sometimes on stage, sometimes behind the scenes painting scenery, running curtain, moving props, or selling tickets.

Fran’s show credits include Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz, Assistant Stage Manager of Narnia the Musical. and my favorite… a Zombie extra in Night of the Living Dead. That must have been so much fun!

 

In her spare time Fran enjoys reading, antiquing, going to auctions and flea markets, and spending time with her daughter and friends. She told us she’s having a lot of fun doing The Santa Diaries which she calls a “wonderful heartwarming show.” We love that description. When it premiered at The Avalon Theatre last year, people laughed and cried. Something about the show touched audiences more deeply than we had anticipated. We think it might be that innocent holiday magic we had as children, and for which we still long.

Joe Bohrer Cast as Will Hawes

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Live theater is magic for the actors and the audiences. Joe Bohrer, who has been cast as Will Hawes, tells us he is very excited to be in this production of The Santa Diaries being produced by Liberty Showcase Theatre. Joe says he has really enjoyed getting into this character and seeing how best to portray Will.

This is Joe’s third production since returning to the stage (since high school). His last two performances were in Rent and The Full Monty at Silhouette Stages. After high school, Joe focused on the technical side of theatre including lighting and sound design. He is currently an Event Coordinator at Stevenson University and says he is happy to get a chance to return to the stage!

Joe Bohrer 2

The Santa Diaries is the story of Sandy Hawes who has been a small-town Santa for years. His fondest wish is for his son, Will, to follow in his footsteps. But Will followed a different path and became a hugely successful (albeit self-absorbed) Hollywood actor. When Sandy breaks his leg hanging Christmas lights, Will makes an unplanned stop on a flight to New York. A snow storm strands him, his fiancé and business manager and Will reluctantly agrees to start the community Christmas play his father usually directs. He only plans to stay until he can fly out. As fate would have it, the assistant director of the play is his high school sweetheart, Jessica, the girl he left behind to follow his dream of becoming an actor. Old sparks are ignited and in the process Will rediscovers his small-town roots, the joy of Christmas and learns to embrace his inner Santa.

Last year’s production at The Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland featured Casey Rauch as Will. He had to sing and dance in the production which he hadn’t done before, but he was terrific and his brief rendition of Gangnam Style during one of the songs Laura wrote for the show brought the house down at every performance.

Casey Rauch 2

Liberty Showcase found another Hollywood-handsome guy to play Will and Laura and I are so excited to see what Joe does with the role.

Joe Bohrer photo 1

We’ll be attending a rehearsal in a couple of weeks and will get a sneak peek. Every character will have a new interpretation in this production – that’s the magic of live theater.

Introducing the Music Director

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Elizabeth Tane Kanner is the music director for The Santa Diaries at Liberty Showcase Theatre. She is thrilled to be involved in her second production at Liberty, having appeared in last summer’s production of Godspell. As part of the Robert Hitz Studio, Elizabeth composes her own music and performs in various charity concerts, open mic nights and cabarets but is very excited to add music director to her list of skills.

Liz Kanner head shot

Multi-talented Liz also designed the poster for the show using the dancing Santa Laura used on the poster she created for last year’s production at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD.

SD_showflyer_fur

Recently, Liz has been focused on set decoration and design and has lent her design and crafting talents to Little Women and Meet Me in St. Louis for St. Gabriel Miracle Players  and 1940s Radio Hour, The Full Monty, The Producers, Avenue Q, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Chicago and The Drowsy Chaperone for Silhouette Stages. Locally, she has appeared in: Avenue Q; The Fantasticks; Chicago; Blood Brothers; and Jekyll & Hyde. 

When not at the theatre, Liz works full time as a water resources engineer for a small ecological design firm in Annapolis, MD.  A newlywed, she and her husband live in Owings Mills, MD.

The Chapman Family

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Community theater is a multi-generational affair for the Chapman family.

Lori Chapman is a lady who wears a lot of hats. She is the Assistant Director of The Santa Diaries as well as the choreographer. She’s also playing Alice so she says life has been a little hectic lately. Lori is excited for Laura and me to see what Liberty Showcase does with the show. We’re excited, too, but quite calm – we know our baby is in good hands.

Lori Chapman

Another hat Lori wears is that of VP of Liberty Showcase Theatre. She says this theatre has always been such a huge part of her life that moving into the role was just natural. She literally grew up doing her homework and sleeping in various auditoriums as her parents were very active in community theater.  Both of them started off as performers and her father moved into technical theater (sound) and her mother became a professional costumer. Her dad was president of the theater for many years, and her brother, who also performed in shows, is now a high school drama teacher.

Lori made her stage debut as a bunny rabbit in 1978 in Liberty Road Community Theatre’s (now Liberty Showcase Theatre) production of Free to Be You and Me.  On top  of all of this, she has a full-time day job where she works for The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Nursing Homes Division.

Lori told me that Liberty Showcase Theatre has faced huge venue challenges over the past several years and became a fully sponsored program of Baltimore County Recreation and Parks in the hopes that would help. “Unfortunately the local schools do not want the hassle of having theater in their auditoriums and several of them have even cut their drama departments completely,” she said. What a tragedy. Not all kids are cut out to be rocket scientists!

So Liberty Showcase is a group that has been around for 40 years and has no permanent home – yet.  Lori and her board are hopeful that, with this production, they can secure a home for their Fall and Spring productions, but they are still looking for a venue to do their big scale family musicals in the Summer.

Echo Chapman

Lori’s youngest daughter, Echo, has been cast as Tory, one of the teens in The Santa Diaries. Echo has truly grown up in the theater/music world.  When she was a baby, she came to rehearsals in a front carrier while her mother taught choreography, danced, ran lines and sang. Not quite born in a trunk, but close. Echo attended many performances that her mother was in and she made her debut as a baby angel in a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Her father is a musician and she had the opportunity to hang out at band practices and go to some of his gigs when he was playing and opening for national acts.

Echo

Echo has taken dance since the age of three and has studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, lyrical and musical theater. She loves to sing and plans to audition for the X Factor.  She is in the theater magnet at Deer Park Middle Magnet School and wants to pursue a career as an actress and/or a singer.  She is active in Girl Scouts and a straight A student. Besides being in The Santa Diaries, she is also in rehearsal for her school production of the play Big Bad.

Lori’s older daughter, Kaylee, who is 15, is not in this show, but Lori wanted to mention her. Proud Mama says Kaylee is an amazingly talented artist who attends George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, MD.  She wants to be a comic book artist and hopes to attend MICA. She also grew up performing but chose to focus on her art.  She still loves musicals though.  Kaylee will be in the audience for several of The Santa Diaries shows, and no doubt will be on her feet with the rest of the audience for multiple curtain calls for her mom and sister.

Multi-generation family involvement in The Santa Diaries is not new. Last year we had a three generation family all with speaking parts in the premier production at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland. Love of theater is often a family affair, and it just so happens that’s one of the themes of our play.

Read Our Santa Diaries Movie Script and Send Us Your Comments

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Laura and I emailed our revised Santa Diaries movie script to Dara Marks. We’ll have our consultation in two weeks.

Over lunch today we wondered if people might want to read the script and comment on it. Why not, we thought.

Email Laura at lambler@eastcoastflight.com and say you’d like to read the script. She’ll send you a pdf. We’d love to hear your comments, thoughts and suggestions.

Dancing Santa 300dpi

A heads up for those of you who were in the play, or who saw the play…the movie script is somewhat different. There are shifts in settings that are not possible on stage…establishing shots, cut to’s, fade to black and smash to black. The movie version is less sentimental than the play. The darling elves carrying presents across the stage are gone. But, we put in some zombies just to keep things current.

If you’re intrigued, email Laura and give us your comments.