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True to its meaning

Theater company’s feel-good productions feature different messages

The Moorestown Theater Company presented the South Jersey Community Theater premiere of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “The Prom” earlier this month.

The company’s 35-member cast of adults and high-school students told the story of four Broadway stars on a mission to restore their tarnished reputations by championing a cause close to their hearts. When they hear about a high-schooler who’s been banned from attending her prom because of her same-sex relationship, the showbiz veterans are determined to make a difference.

With unstoppable determination, infectious humor and a whole lot of sequins, they descend on the small town of Evanston, Indiana, ready to fight for love and acceptance. Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie, Burlington County Commissioner Dan O’Connell, 6ABC anchor and reporter Rick Williams and other township officials also starred in the show.

“It’s an important message in this day and age when people and politicians are opposing basic rights for the lesbian and gay community,” said theater company co-founder and producing artist director Mark Morgan.

In conjunction with the show, the company and the nonprofit MooreUnity co-hosted a community forum about LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual) issues on Nov. 11.

“We are a community theater, so we want to be part of the community and we truly believe in that part of our name, that we are a part of the community,” Morgan explained. “By doing these forums, we’re touching on topics that maybe aren’t talked about in public …

“We feel it’s important not just to put on great shows, but to be a part of the community and the different communities that exist around us.”

Following “The Prom,” the company will present the South Jersey Community Theater premiere of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer JR.” Show dates are Saturday, Dec. 2; Sunday, Dec. 3; Friday, Dec. 8; Saturday, Dec. 9; and Sunday, Dec. 10.

“Two very cool, very different shows (“The Prom” and “Rudolph”), but both entertaining, both great music,” Morgan noted. “Very much a message show with the first one, and the second one is just a feel-good family (show). Bring kids to get in the holiday spirit … It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season and get involved.”

Rehearsals for the shows start months in advance and Morgan looks forward to seeing it pay off every time.

“They (cast members) would love to see full houses come and see their hard work,” he offered. “Community theaters exist, but they need support. They need people to come out and see them.

“‘The Prom’ will have you laughing hysterically and shedding tears of joy at the end,” Morgan added, “and (with) ‘Rudolph,’ you’ll just be overwhelmed by the cuteness of the kids, the quality of the kids, and seeing it live.”

For more information on Moorestown Theater Company, visit www.moorestowntheatercompany.org or call (856) 778-8357.

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