Auditions Jan 19 and Jan 20, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Arrive early to register. Bring resume and head shot if available. Wear shoes that are appropriate for dancing (no sandals, no flip-flops, please.) Be ready to note any scheduling conflicts that you may have that may prevent you from attending rehearsals and/or show dates.
In 1951, Emily Faulhaber, a member of the Leesburg, Florida Junior Womens Club, had an entertaining idea. Mrs. Faulhaber shared her dream with two other of Leesburgs mid-century movers and shakers Ruby Herlong and Mildred Howard. The little theater idea began making headlines when an article appeared in the Leesburg [Daily] Commercial in 1951. In part, this article urged local folks to attend the little theater meeting. And, so it began. The Leesburg Womens Club offered use of their building for organizational meetings and rehearsals. Several names were considered for this fledgling theater. However, since, at that time, Leesburg was considered the watermelon capital of Florida, and its citizens celebrated an annual Watermelon Festival; the theater was named The Melon Patch Theater.
The first shows were at the Lee Elementary School auditorium. Use of The Womens Club and The Leesburg Community Building for productions followed. The Patch finally built its current facility on 13th street in 1955. The first production there was Father of the Bride. Frances Lovell was the first director; Sara Barcus was an untiring founding supporter. The Melon Patch's current awards for theatrical excellence -- The Sara Awards -- are named after Ms. Barcus.
The City of Leesburg donated the property on 13th Street, and bonds were sold to finance construction. Much volunteer time and labor were needed to build the present day theater. Over the years, The Melon Patch Theaters structures have been expanded to include administrative space, a new lobby, and a refreshment corner; plus four outbuildings, two for props, one for the childrens theater, and a climate controlled shed for costumes.
In 2002, Patchwork Productions was begun to offer classes to area youngsters in drama, dance, comedy, and musical theater. Through Patchworks' efforts, children of varying ages learn many aspects of the theater; the youth grow through enhanced self-esteem and honed individual language arts skills.
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