Love at First Bite, Theatre Gets in the Blood
Arnie Reisman

They say the Island is a breeding ground for ticks and some other creepy insects bearing bad news. So while I was looking this way and that, I didn’t see it coming and got bitten by the theatre bug. The next thing I knew I was joining the play readers group and the board of the Vineyard Playhouse. I have to say the attack has been most rewarding.

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Playhouse Gala Helps Restoration

Hundreds of people raised their glasses and funds for the Vineyard Playhouse at a gala at Blue Heron Farm, President Obama’s former Chilmark vacation home, on Saturday.

The fundraiser was hosted by new Blue Heron Farm property owners Lord Norman and Lady Elena Foster, as well as Playhouse patrons Friederike and Jeremy Biggs.

Artistic director MJ Bruder Munafo said the event raised more than $125,000 for the ongoing capital campaign to restore and renovate the historic Vineyard Playhouse building in Vineyard Haven.

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Going Au Naturel for His Art
Heidi Sistare

Artist Tom Smith is almost breathless when he talks about his work.

“I love the line between what is formal, designed, almost constricted — and what is natural and rank,” he said. “I love the border between the cultivated and the wild.”

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Stars Align for Vineyard Playhouse
Olivia Hull
Mary Steenburgen saw her first play at a community theatre in Arkansas where she grew up. It was the Music Man, performed by a travelling company and she was instantly captivated.

“I literally could not breathe,” she said in an interview with the Gazette at her home in Chilmark. “I was so transported by it, and it meant so much to me.”

Ms. Steenburgen grew up in a home with “fairly modest means,” and found refuge from family and life challenges in the audience, on the stage and in the wings of the community theatre.

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Vineyard Playhouse Half Complete, Show Will Go On Elsewhere This Summer
Ivy Ashe

It’s been 180 years since the Vineyard Playhouse building was first built on Church street in Tisbury. For the past three years, the playhouse staff and board of directors have been hard at work ensuring that it stands another two centuries. Construction is scheduled to wrap this week on the downstairs portion of the two-story building, allowing the playhouse to invite people in for the first time since 2011.

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Arts, Grants, Designations Aplenty in Vineyard Haven
Ivy Ashe
The arts took center stage in Vineyard Haven this week as three cultural organizations received grants from the state. Selectmen also voted to approve creating an application to form the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District.

On Monday, the Vineyard Playhouse, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center were awarded capital grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. Of the 10 projects funded in the southeast region, three are in Vineyard Haven.

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Island Theatre Workshop and Vineyard Playhouse Auditions Begin

Calling all Island thespians: it’s audition weekend and time to strut your inner scarecrow, mad monkey or one of Shakespeare’s finest.

The Island Theatre Workshop will be putting on a late summer production of The Wizard of Oz and they are currently on the prowl for principal actors. Auditions began on Thursday and continue on Saturday, May 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. at 12 Music street in West Tisbury. For more information, call 508-627-2456 or 508-737-8550.

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Playhouse Fundraiser
Last year the Vineyard Playhouse began an ambitious capital campaign to refurbish the theatre in Vineyard Haven. Because of construction the house was dark last summer, although the show did go on at several other locations throughout the Island. This summer the downstairs area of the Playhouse will open. Funds are still being raised, though, to complete the main stage upstairs, renamed the Patricia Neal Stage. For those on the West Coast there will be a fundraiser on May 4 in Los Angeles at the home of Ms. Neal’s daughter, Lucy Dahl. The party is from 6 to 8 p.m. at 357 S.
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Children Go Backstage
Chris Burrell
Amy Sertl looks like a pro. She's only 10, but the strip of measuring tape dangling from her shoulders is not just a silly prop. Miss Sertl is part of the costuming team at the Vineyard Playhouse, and she's got that tape now cinched around Sarah Felder's cranium.
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Playhouse Launches Capital Campaign

Playhouse Launches Campaign

The home of the Vineyard Playhouse stood strong through nearly two centuries of Vineyard life. Leaders and friends of this small professional theatre want to ensure it stands secure for centuries to come.

Built in 1833 on a pasture donated by Capt. William Daggett, the Playhouse wears the scars of time. A survey of the building reveals rotting, chipping and holes.

"It looks like somebody didn't do anything for 20 years," Playhouse managing director Josh Sommer said.

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