The New Vintage Ensemble 2016: A Year In Review

Founded in 2013, the New Vintage Ensemble is a collective of theater artists from Northeastern Pennsylvania dedicated to producing innovative theater while helping the art community of the Scranton region thrive. Our distinctive style and passion for engaging audiences has resulted in award-winning and internationally-recognized productions as well as regional premieres of original works.

Greetings New Vintage Ensemble Friends, Peers & Supporters, 2016 was quite the year and for many (several ensemble members included) it couldn’t end soon enough. HOWEVER, despite 2016 perhaps not being a banner milestone for many, its tumultuous energy did not slow down the creative works of the New Vintage Ensemble.

As we prepare to raise the curtain on a year, we wanted to peek out from behind the wings a bit and reflect on all we accomplished (with your dedicated help) this year!


We wanted to enter the new year with a light romantic comedy that would allow us to coast a bit on our laurels….but for some odd reason we instead did a heavily stylized version of one of the longest plays ever written – William Shakespeare’s HAMLET.

The production ran for two weeks in January of 2016 and was performed in partnership with / at the historic Scranton Cultural Center (Shopland Hall). Under the direction of ensemble member Casey Thomas, dramatic styling in terms of lighting, sound ,and costuming (thanks to our designer Carol Arena!) were brought together under an overall vision of creating a “cinematic”-like experience within live theater.

While majority of the Hamlet team represented ensemble members, several roles within the cast were filled by incredibly talented guest artists. This marked the first appearance of now full members Mollie Dooley (as Ophelia) and Terry Thompson (as Laertes) in an NVE production. Thanks to the support of this incredibly talented team and the nearly 600 of you who attended, we are honored to receive the Electric City Best of Award for Best Theatrical Production of 2016!

Image Credit: Brent Pennington

The Trouble with Sketch Shows

Our next project was an original sketch show, completely created within an intimate series of private workshops conducted by show director Conor O’Brien. The sketch show was written by ensemble members Sarah Regan, Simone Daniel, Conor O’Brien, Tim McDermott, Kathleen Barrett & guest contributor – Matt Serniak! A few sessions of live improvisation also took place.

The production’s full-title was publicized as The Trouble With Sketch Shows, a nod to a local cinematic treasure. Produced at / in partnership again with the Scranton Cultural Center, however this time within the downstairs Jr Ballroom space – a venue not often utilized by the public!

Image Credit: Brent Pennington

The Fourth Wall

Following our sketch show by just a few short weeks, we now moved towards our first production mounted at / in partnership with The Cooperage Project (in Honesdale PA). Various members of The Cooperage Project leadership team attended our January production of Hamlet, prompting them to seek us out to form a new partnership – striving to cultivate a theatre-going-audience in the greater Honesdale area.

Under the superb direction of ensemble member Kimmie Leff, A.R Gurney’s The Fourth Wall was presented with a cast of four (ensemble members Maggie O’Brien, Sarah Regan, Tim McDermott and guest artist Sam Falbo). Driven by detailed dialog the focus of cast and crew greatly paid off and made for a fantastic inaugural New Vintage Ensemble performance at The Cooperage Project!

Want to see a bit of the fun we had with this show? View a preview scene performed by Maggie & Sam on WBRE’s program PA Live!

Image Credit: Brent Pennington

RETROSPECTIVE The 2016 Scranton Fringe Festival took place in downtown Scranton September 29th – October 2nd. The second annual Scranton Fringe brought over fifty productions/events to multiple venues throughout a weekend of exciting performing arts – and we were ecstatic to be part of it again!

Developed / directed by ensemble members Simone Daniel & Jessica McDonough, RETROSPECTIVE was a multi-media original piece inspired by the life and works of THE salacious pop icon, Kanye West. This performance piece was dedicated to dislodging the audience from their assumptions and use of their senses to understand the work of a true artist and one’s own journey to rightful confidence. Ultimately, its mission was simple – to love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye.

With numerous sold out performances our audiences had quite a bit to say about RETROSPECTIVE, such as:

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]

Last (but not least) in our 2016 body of work comes the entirety of William Shakespeare’s cannon (in a manner of speaking)! The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] created by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield was lead under the direction of ensemble member Jessica McDonough and starred ensemble member Terry Thompson with guest artists Conor McGuigan and Eric Lutz. With support from ensemble members Kathleen Barrett (resident stage manager) and Lorrie Loughney (assistant stage manager) and supervising producer Maggie O’Brien – this production presented in one way or another the complete cannon of William Shakespeare in just about an hour & a half!

This production was the second and final partnership for 2016 with The Cooperage Project! Our second outing with The Cooperage Project was just as fantastic as the first, with an even larger audience response! It was incredible to see our hard work grow from the summer and we couldn’t have been more proud to call “Complete Works..” our last show of 2016!

Production Image by Justin Roach

Image Credit: Justin Roach

As we reflect on all the fantastic work we’ve been able to present in 2016, it would be wrong to not offer our deepest thanks to all the partners, venues, artists and audiences (including YOU) who made it all possible!

We cannot say quite yet what 2017 will have in store for the New Vintage Ensemble, but we promise that if you continue to aid us in our mission of reinventing the familiar – it will surely be worth the wait!

All our best towards a bright new year,