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Chester County Press

Musical to open new arts and recreation center at Jennersville YMCA

02/17/2015 02:42PM ● By Richard Gaw

Meghan Pitney and Rylynn Woods of the Jennersville Youth Theatre hold steady to their dream that their theatrical careers will ultimately dovetail.

They imagine that they will both be cast in a Broadway musical, perhaps in one of those huge blockbuster shows that play forever in front of adoring crowds.

Pitney, a ninth grader; and Woods, an eighth grader, are in the process of working their way to get there. Now, at the Jennersville YMCA, they have a new venue in which to play, perform, work and dream.

At an official ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday, Feb. 20, Pitney and Woods will be joining their fellow actors in performing selections from "13 The Musical" to officially usher in the Smithson Center for Arts and Recreation, the new home for the theater program at the Jennersville YMCA. The state-of-the-art performance space will offer both the Jennersville Youth Theatre and the Jennersville Theatre Company the best in lighting and sound, movable seating for up to 244 audience members, an art studio and scene shop, as well as an additional multi-purpose space.

The expansion also includes the new Carol E. Ware Family Wellness Center; an expanded Child Watch center, equipped with an indoor play structure and a separate room for birthday parties; and a renovated enrichment center.

In addition to the ribbon-cutting, the celebration will include band performances, tours of the facility and refreshments. The celebration continues with free open house events for members and the community on Feb. 21 and 22. Saturday’s events include a meet and greet with Disney characters from 2 to 3 p.m., and a screening of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" from 4 to 6 p.m. in the theater; family sports and moon bounce in the new recreation center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; art activities in the new art enrichment center from 3 to 4 p.m.; and fitness demonstrations, swim lesson evaluations, and tours throughout the day.

Sunday’s events include a behind-the-scenes peek at rehearsals for "13 the Musical" from noon to 3 p.m. in the new theater; beginner karate classes in the new enrichment studio from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.; family cycling from 1 to 2 p.m.; art activities with camp staff in the new art enrichment studio from 3 to 4 p.m.; and fitness demonstrations, swim lesson evaluations, and tours throughout the day.

To top off the first week of celebration, an encore production of "13 The Musical," which was performed last year by the Jennersville Youth Theatre, will be the first production in the new venue, from Feb. 26 to 28 at 7 p.m.

The timing of the Smithson Center for Arts and Recreation opening could not have been more perfect, since the Jennersville Theatre Company has gone from a mere 18 children performing in a production of "Annie" in 2009, to a company that has more than 150 youth members, as well as 34 adults. Together, both groups are embarking on a busy year of productions that will include "The Music Man," which is in rehearsals and is scheduled to open in March.

"We've been renting places all over, traveling with all of our stuff," said Laura Woods, director of arts and humanities, who is also directing "13 The Musical." "I can't even tell you how amazing it is to finally have a home."

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected].