Artistic Director Kitty Getlik
Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
Windsor, N.J. -- In her 31 years at Kelsey Theatre, Kitty Getlik
has performed just about every job one can possibly carry out at
a theater. From actor to stage manager, from directing to lighting
-- even to selling tickets -- she has done it all with the passion
of a true theater lover.
Recently her commitment was rewarded by the New Jersey Association
of Community Theaters (NJACT) with its Lifetime Achievement Award,
one of the coveted Perry Awards the association hands out annually.
had no clue she was a candidate for the award and was taken completely
by surprise when her name was announced at the ceremonies, which
were held Sept. 20 at the Doubletree Hotel in Somerset with 730
Though thrilled, Getlik acknowledged that "it was kind of scary
because it's a 'lifetime achievement' award, and it made me realize
how long I've been here," she said.
According to Getlik, winning any Perry Award is tough, as there
are more than 150 member theaters in the state that put on more
than 220 eligible productions. She notes that it's actually more
difficult to win a Perry than a Tony Award, since there are many
more New Jersey community theater shows produced each year than
award-winner Kitty Getlik
a Philadelphia native who attended Penn State and Temple universities,
began her career at Kelsey as stage manager after gaining experience at
various theaters in New York City and in the South. After several years
at Kelsey, she also became technical director of the Open Air Theatre
at Washington Crossing Park. It was there that Getlik became familiar
with various community theater groups performing in the area, which in
turn planted the seeds for what the public now enjoys each season at Kelsey.
Originally known for hosting expensive specialty shows featuring performers
like William Shatner and The Amazing Kreskin, Kelsey Theatre was better
suited for community theater, Getlik believed, a shift that would be more
cost-effective and beneficial for the college and the community.
"It seemed like a win-win situation for us. The idea is to get people
to visit the campus and become interested in theater and everything else
MCCC has to offer. And it's very important to me to keep ticket prices
low for the community," Getlik said, who has been the theatre's artistic
director since 1992.
Getlik also emphasizes the many opportunities that Kelsey Theatre provides
for both experienced and fledgling actors. "In a given season, more
than 1,000 community members appear on stage and assist behind the scenes,
and they vary in age from 4 to 86," she says.
The involvement of young people is particularly important to Getlik, because
she believes that children should be exposed to live theater at a young
age, especially if they spend a lot of time watching television and playing
video games. One of her favorite moments is when a five-year-old declines
help in finding her seat because she's a subscriber and already knows
where to go.
"There's nothing like the magic and energy of live theater. No two
performances are ever the same," Getlik said.
While her award may have been for lifetime achievement, Getlik has no
plans for slowing down any time soon. The theatre's 2009-2010 schedule
includes 19 adult and family performances and 13 shows in its Kelsey Kids
always something different and always a challenge," she says. October
includes "Hollywood Arms," an autobiographical drama about Carol
Burnett to be presented by Maurer Productions OnStage from Oct. 2 to Oct.
11, and "Bus Stop," a drama about eight characters stranded
in a diner during a snowstorm, presented by The Yardley Players Oct. 16-25.
"The Three Pigs," a children's classic turned musical, will
be presented by Kaleidoscope Theatre Oct. 17.
"When people come to Kelsey Theatre, I hope they realize the professionalism
and quality that goes into every performance. I also hope people realize
what a unique and multi-level resource the college is, how much there
is to experience and enjoy at Mercer."
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