A well-known Moorestown actor was honored with a proclamation from Township Council last week during its meeting, and will be coming back to Moorestown this week to receive a first-time award for his accomplishments in the theater world.
Moorestown native and Moorestown High School 1981 graduate Kevin Chamberlin is returning to his hometown to receive his proclamation given by council and the Moorestown Theater Company’s First “Theater Legend Award” at its Extrava-Gala fundraising dinner dance. The dinner dance is Saturday, Oct. 17 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Riverton Country Club.
“I am so moved and honored. I miss my hometown a lot. I want to thank the Moorestown Town Council and Mark Morgan for setting this up,” Chamberlin said.
Chamberlin moved to Moorestown in 1973 with his dad, mother and two brothers. He described himself as a “chubby, awkward 9 year old.” His mother was trying to find something for him to do and ways for him to fit in when she had him audition with the Parks and Recreation Summer Theater’s “Tom Sawyer.” Chamberlin was cast as Huckleberry Finn, and from there, his resume and love for theater grew.
He got involved performing in Moorestown with the Footlight Players, the Parks and Recreation Summer Theater Program and Moorestown High School.
He grew to have much success acting on Broadway, in movies and on television. He has had a very successful Broadway career, performing in five musicals and three plays and is one of the few actors to receive Tony Award nominations in three of the four acting categories: Best Actor in a Play (“Dirty Blonde”), Best Actor in a Musical (“Seussical”) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (“The Addams Family”).
He’s also been in many movies, including “Die Hard With A Vengeance,” and several TV series, including “Heroes” and most recently Disney’s “Jessie,” for which he has directed several episodes.
“My first Broadway show I went to see was ‘Peter Pan’ with Sandy Duncan at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre,” Chamberlain said. “Thirty years later, I performed at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and was able to look down at the seat I was sitting in and remember when I fell in love with theater.”
At the Town Council meeting on Oct. 5, Mayor Victoria Napolitano read a proclamation to Chamberlin commending him for his accomplishments. Chamberlain appeared at the meeting via Skype.
That night, Chamberlin gave a teary-eyed thank you to council and MTC, saying he is honored and very grateful for the awards. His wish is Town Council will continue to fund the arts in Moorestown.
“Keep the arts programs alive and well in Moorestown. The benefits and rewards are invaluable; they certainly were to this kid,” Chamberlin said.
Morgan, MTC’s artistic director, will present Chamberlin the proclamation as well as at its “Theater Legend Award” at “Extava-Gala” on Oct. 17.
The “Theater Legend Award” was created to honor a Moorestonian who has gone on to a successful professional theater career as a congratulations on their success. Morgan said Chamberlain was “an obvious first choice.” However, there is a second purpose — to encourage young performers of Moorestown and the MTC that they can be successful and have a career in the arts.
“We just really wanted to have the award to honor someone like (Chamberlin) and to show an example of a successful performer to our current performers,” Morgan said.
At the “Extava-Gala,” there will be a slew of surprises, including Chamberlain performing a song alongside about 25–30 children from his Tony-nominated performance in “Seussical.”
The “Extava-Gala” will be held at the Riverton Country Club, located at 1416 Highland Ave. in Cinnaminson. The event is expected to sell-out, but tickets may still be available for purchase at www.MoorestownTheaterCompany.org.
In other council news:
• Proclamations were also given to the Community Emergency Response Team members and for Put the Breaks on Fatalities Day and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Council recognized the six members of the Community Emergency Response Team.
The team went to Camden to assist Camden County law enforcement during Pope Francis’s visit and were also prepared to respond if Hurricane Joaquin had hit New Jersey.
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, council recognized Melissa Young for organizing the inaugural Pub Crawl at the Moorestown Mall in April. Proceeds benefitted the Providence House Domestic Violence Services.
• The Moorestown Police Department gave a presentation explaining to council the duties of the department, what it has accomplished so far and where it will be going. Some of the highlights were that the department is upgrading car cameras; is incorporating body cameras before the end of 2015; solved several major burglaries and crime rings; increased presence on the streets at minimal costs with SLEO class II officers; successfully increased use of social media to get information to residents and businesses; is offering residents a successful vacation house check program; and is transitioning to more sustainable patrol fleets.
• Council unanimously approved an ordinance on second reading to replace the township’s chapter 11 “Drug-Free School Zones” with “Drug-Free Zones” and adopt a new map. The drug-free zones previously applied only to schools. The replacement chapter will include public housing facilities, public parks and public buildings.
• The next Township Council meeting will be on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall with a workshop at 7 p.m.