By Amy Taylor
It’s a common complaint, the cost of entertainment these days. Fortunately, our area is rich in events, culture and the arts. So, if you’re looking for quality community theater productions that will cost you about as much as a trip to the movies, The Prince William Little Theatre (PWLT) has you covered.
Based in Manassas, PWLT has provided quality local community theater since 1985. The theater produces and performs musicals, plays, dramas, comedies and one-act productions several times a year. In addition to performing its season of shows at The Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, you can find the theatre participating in events like Haymarket Day and partnering with charitable organizations in the community to sponsor events like food and blood drives.
Selecting Performances and Performers
This season’s productions include Anne of Green Gables and Annie.
The selections are part of a tried and true process that includes taking the feedback received from audiences into account. Chrissy Mastrangelo, president of the Prince William Little Theatre, said, “We have a play selection committee. They review feedback from the audience, surveys, different trends and what directors are interested in directing. They confer with the board of directors, go through the financial piece and then we choose a season.”
Mastrangelo recalled some audience favorites. “Jesus Christ Superstar was one of our most successful performances,” she said. “It really took the audience on a journey. As far as something funnier, we did The Wedding Singer. That was a fun one, and it took people back to the 1980s. The Diary of Anne Frank was one of the more dramatic plays we have done. That was a challenging play, but the actors did a great job and really took the audience with them back to that time. Tuesdays with Morrie had a lot of great feedback from the audience as well.”
The theater chooses the cast for each show based on open auditions. Anyone is welcome to come and try out for a part in the theatre’s plays.
How to Support Local Theater
The theatre is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization funded by grants from the City of Manassas and Prince William County Park Authority as well as private donors. But help is always needed, and there are many ways the community can support the theatre.
“We accept monetary donations; you can advertise if you’re a small business and you can come see our shows. We’re always accepting new volunteers, even if you’re not an actor on stage. If you’re handy with tools, you can help with set construction. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can help with costumes. We are always looking for people to help with marketing and fundraising,” Mastrangelo said.
People who would like a vote as part of the board of directors can become members of the theatre. To become a member, fill out the form on the website at pwlt.org. There is a members-only website that gives members access to minutes, financial reports, the strategic plan and other information about the behind the scenes work at the theatre.
Mastrangelo invites the public to experience PWLT and participate in the dialogue that helps the organization grow and provide quality entertainment.
“Come out and see our shows. We’d love to hear what you think,” she said. “We love new members…We love to keep our history, but we also love to grow.”
Amy Taylor ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and editor and a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington.