Not everything in life reaches 100, and when it does there’s reason to celebrate.
The Moorestown Theater Company has reason to celebrate.
Next weekend’s Sleeping Beauty Kids will be the 100th production in the company’s history.
It was 13 years ago that the company was founded, and debuted with a production of Annie.
The company slowly grew to the point where it put on 14 shows last year, and has had a total of 450 performances.
A lot more than that has changed between Show No. 1 and Show No. 100, but four things have remained consistent: Mark Morgan, Carol Ann Murray, Beverly Bennett and Annette Derosa have been there from the beginning.
Morgan, his wife Murray and Murray’s mother Bennett were founding members. Derosa has been involved since she volunteered with the first show.
“It seems like it was just yesterday,” Derosa said. “I remember it vividly. It sure doesn’t seem like it was 13 years ago.”
Even Morgan and Murray’s daughter, Juliet Morgan, was involved in the first show, appearing on stage as six-month old Annie. She doesn’t remember that performance, though.
“I remember some of Honk,” Juliet Morgan said.
She was three years old when the company produced that show. Sleeping Beauty Kids will be her 100th show as a performer, although not all have been with the Moorestown Theater Company.
Even their two boys, 26-year-old Chaz Krebs and 19-year-old Jack Morgan, got involved. Krebs worked backstage, while Jack Morgan performed on stage.
While the theater company is a family affair, its performances have become a community affair.
“People know who we are and they support us,” Morgan said. “We’re a known commodity and we help make Moorestown better.”
“We’ve worked with a lot of people over the years,” Murray said. “Some of them have gone on to Broadway. We’re incredibly lucky.”
“It’s been a wonderful experience doing something I love with my whole family,” Bennett said.
They’re known as the MTC Family, and they’re known for championing kids. They’ve helped shy kids come out of their shells and there’s always been a spot on their stage for special needs kids.
There have been over 4,500 cast members, including current Deputy Mayor Phil Garwood, Burlington County Freeholder and 2014 Congressional candidate Aimee Belgard, Freeholder Joseph Donnelly, Assemblyman Troy Singleton and 6 ABC’s Rick Williams.
They all get the chance to appear on stage again, as each performance of Sleeping Beauty Kids will include a performance of Tomorrow from Annie, with alumni joining the current cast on stage.
“We usually do that for the final performance of a show, but we’re going to do it for every performance of Sleeping Beauty Kids,” Morgan said. “I’m encouraging alumni to come back and be part of the celebration.”
There will also be a poster with covers from all 100 shows that people can take pictures with. Morgan is calling it a “selfie with all 100 shows.” MTC is also giving away a free week of its summer camp, which runs three weeks.
On Monday night, their accomplishment was the subject of a proclamation at the council meeting.
The celebration marks the evolution of the Moorestown Theater Company, which has managed to reach 100 shows without its own building.
“We’ve been in every high school and every church,” Morgan said.
He said the cast for Sleeping Beauty Kids will rehearse on the stage they perform on just four times before the performance.
“That’s what makes this even more amazing,” Murray said.
The Moorestown Theater Company hopes a building will come some time in the near future.
The upcoming celebration comes a few months after Moorestown Theater Company became the first company on the East Coast to perform Elf Jr. and the first company in the world to perform A Ghost Story for Mr. Dickens.
“It’s been a heckuva ride, and there’s still a lot of theater left,” Morgan said.
Sleeping Beauty Kids is also Moorestown Theater Company’s fourth annual First Stage musical for Pre-Teen performers. It opens Wednesday night, May 13, 7 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 235 West Main Street.
Other showtimes are Friday, May 15, 7 p.m.; and Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The cast consists of 34 children ages 6-12 years old.
The show features such memorable characters as ‘Aurora’, ‘Prince Philip’, ‘Flora’, ‘Fauna’, ‘Merryweather’, and of course ‘Maleficent’, and such great songs as ‘Find The Girl’, ‘I Wonder’, and ‘Once Upon A Dream.’
Ashley Brimfield will direct this performance. Deanna Palermo will be the Vocal Director and Rachel Smith will be the choreographer.
Tickets are $12. Tickets are reserved and can be purchased online at www.MoorestownTheaterCompany.org or at the door 60 minutes before curtain time.