📌Beth Ann Rosica resides in West Chester, has a Ph.D. in Education, and has dedicated her career advocating on behalf of at-risk children and families. She enjoys drag queen shows and chooses to leave her children at home for those performances.📌
Do you just feel my eyes rolling to the back of my head? Yes, we all know her name. She is a frequent flyer at West Chester Area School District School Board Meetings and West Chester Borough Meetings and ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian for Mayor of West Chester Borough. (Kindly allow me to digress a moment and mention that Dan Truitt is now head of Chester County Libertarians. ANYWAY, also wonder aloud if his East Goshen Supervisor wife Michelle Truitt’s gal pal failed politician Heidi Vander Waal has conceded yet? She lost a month ago, so what is taking so long? I really genuinely like both Truitts, but I marvel at whom they think is hunky dory, don’t you?)
Enough digressing, back to this weird thing about now they all hate theatre.
If Lewis Carroll were alive today, “curious” might be the word he would use to describe the People’s Light Theater performance of his world-renowned novel, Alice in Wonderland.
The theater, located in Chester County is currently running a holiday, pantomime rendition of the classic. The website says the show is appropriate for ages five to 105 and includes a drag queen performer in the cast. Eric Jaffe, according to the theater’s casting page, “is a genderfull [sic] glamour monster and the recipient of the 2018 Philly Drag Awards, Best Host, Best Alternative Drag Queen, And Drag Queen of the Year as well as 2020’s Performer of the Year.”
Just as curious is the fact that multiple school districts in Chester County are sponsoring field trips for students to attend the performance, including West Chester Area, Tredyffrin/Easttown, and Downingtown. Students as young as second grade and up to sixth grade attended the performance.~ beth ann rosica, theatre critic
So Beth Ann had to have an opinion. Hey that’s her right. But it’s also my right to say, West Chester Borough residents should count their blessings she is NOT mayor. We already know she doesn’t like drag queens, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. Above is a screen shot of her op-ed in Broad and Liberty.
Now as an educator one would have thought that Beth Ann Rosica would have at least been familiar of how theatre evolved from it’s early days when you know men routinely played the part of women because it was considered unseemly etc for women to be actors. Has she heard of William Shakespere, etc?
A panto is a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation. The British started this centuries ago and love a good panto. In fact, panto began thanks to actor manager John Rich, who introduced it in 1717. Panto or pantomime has an again centuries long theatrical history in western culture dating back to the dawn of classical theatre. Commedia dell’arte.
See above? Dan Leno and Herbert Campbell in Babes in the Wood, 1897, at the Drury Lane Theatre in London’s West End. And below? Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret of England in a Windsor Castle wartime performance of Aladdin…as in the recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II of England.
But then I saw Beth Ann’s little thing about leaving her “children” at home while she enjoyed drag shows. Very funny statement. Made me wonder if she had LITTLE kids. Umm nope. They are like in 8th and 10th grade now, right? Don’t you think they have seen/heard worse? Found an online interview. Note the screen shot excerpt:
This all started recently over a People’s Light current production. The production has rave reviews, truthfully.
A LAND WHERE EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
People’s Light presents Jennifer Childs and Alex Bechtel’s Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto
Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer Nov 22, 2022
A bedazzled, sparkling drag queen Cheshire Cat. A Mad Hatter with a real set of pipes who gets down to “Everybody Dance Now.” A Red Queen and White Queen who resolve a rivalry by voguing in a Pose-style dance off.
This world-premiere Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto might—as its opening song suggests—cause Lewis Carroll to roll in his grave. Carroll lived and wrote in the Victorian era, but his timeless Alice has endured through each generation who invents her as an archetype. Who amongst us, children and adults alike, has not experienced the world as a strange and surreal place, full of both wonders and dangers? We all feel Alice-like at times…
The panto tradition brings us all along into Alice’s journey; we audience members get to cheer for Alice and the new friends she makes, boo at the villainous Queen of Hearts (the marvelous Mary Elizabeth Scallen), sing, clap, and even eat candy handed to us by the ensemble during the Mad Hatter’s (the amazing Alexis Tidwell) raucous tea party. It’s jubilant fun for all of the generations: the kids who were present were having a blast, but so were the many adults who came to the panto child-free.
A world of acceptance
Jennifer Childs’s script and Alex Bechtel’s music and lyrics reach just the right balance of silliness and irreverence, pop-culture references, and moments of real emotional depth. We want Alice not only to save the White Rabbit (the excellent Justin Jain) and escape the Queen of Hearts but also to learn that it’s okay to be uncertain. One of the show’s most poignant moments is the song “Impossible Things,” an intimate duet between Alice and her beautiful, glamorous, often absent Mom, AKA the White Queen (Altamiece Carolyn Cooper), when they finally come to a moment of understanding…Every aspect of this production is impeccably done. The artists working behind the scenes to support the excellent acting ensemble have brought their A game to this Wonderland: Rebecca Kanach (costumes), Sapphira Cristal (wigs), Pi Queen (makeup), Mike Inwood (lights), Robert Kaplowitz (sound), and Chris Haig (scenic design). Kudos to director Bill Fennelly and music director Abdul Hamid Royal (who plays piano, accompanied by Jimmy Coleman on percussion).
Every member of the performing ensemble brings energy and flair but I do want to especially recognize People’s Light veteran Tom Teti, whose understated Dormouse is simply the perfect balance to Jaffe’s ebullient Cheshire Cat.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to make Alice in Wonderland part of your family (biological or chosen) holiday plans, consider the potential for important conversations that this panto can open up between parents, grands, kids, teens, and adult friends: when do you feel alone like Alice? Stuck in the middle? In your biggest dreams, what do you imagine is possible for your life?
So when this started a few days ago as the latest issue of the collective idiocy, I sat back and though, well they can just not let their kids go, right? Nope, we all have to hear about it.
These people just never stop. Look you guys, it’s kind of simple: if you’re so upset about public education you can homeschool your children or you can put them in charter schools or religious schools.
The second thing is, this is a theatrical production. It’s not doing anything dirty to your children.
The third thing goes back to choice again. Just like you have the choice to pull your kids out of public school because you hate public school so much, you also have the choice not to send your child on a field trip. They will, of course remember that you did this and they won’t remember you and say mommy and daddy protected me. They will remember you and say mommy and daddy punished us, and made us freaks with the rest of the class.
If you don’t want to go, if you don’t want your children to go, that’s fine, but why does the rest of the world have to hear about it?
However, what you don’t get to do is to tell everyone else how to live their lives.
So I think people should go out of their way to make a donation to People’s Light. They are a wonderful theatre company and part of our extended Chester County Community. Tell the no fun collective I refer to as Stepford Wives for Totalitarianism that they can do as they choose with their own children and lives, but their choices should be everyone’s choices. This is about their comfort levels, not care for the community. This has all gone too far and now that they lost in yet another election, it’s like they have to manufacture issues to desperately try to stay relevant. But it does once again highlight all of their phobias and prejudices quite nicely.
Follow the links posted to support our beloved regional and in some cases, local theatre company.
I sign off saying, here’s hoping everyone can find the magic of the season in their lives.