MCCC’s Kitty Getlik Recognized for Contributions to Community Theater


Each year, the MCCC staff honors an outstanding colleague for his or her positive contributions to the greater community. This year’s recipient of the “Community Service Award” is M. Kitty Getlik, the general manager of Kelsey Theatre. She was presented with a crystal bowl at a Staff Recognition Celebration on May 17.

Getlik has worked at Kelsey Theatre on Mercer’s West Windsor campus for 27 years. First employed as stage manager, she became Kelsey’s general manager and artistic director 13 years ago. “It’s not a job, it’s your life,” Getlik said of her love for Kelsey and involvement in community theater as a whole.

According to Getlik the variety in her job has kept her motivated, fascinated and invigorated by her work. “There is always something different – new people, new shows, new challenges.” No two performances are exactly the same, she notes. “There is an energy between the audience and the actors and it’s different every time."

Each season Kelsey plays host to numerous theater companies, including The Pennington Players, Pierrot Productions, The Yardley Players, Playful Theatre, Like 40 Productions, and Maurer Productions OnStage. Performances range from dramas, musicals, comedies, and dance to the signature “Kelsey Kids Series.” Kelsey Theatre’s own company, The Kelsey Players, puts on two shows each year and the student company, MC Cubed, does one performance in Kelsey Theatre and one in the Studio Theatre, which Getlik co-produces. Over 1,000 community members each year participate in the productions at Kelsey; attendance numbers more than 40,000.

Children’s theater is a central focus of Getlik’s efforts. “By exposing young children to the joys of theater, you help them develop an appreciation for the living arts and create the next generation of theater-goers,” she said.

Kitty Getlik, center, receives the Employee Community Service Award from MCCC Board Chairman Anthony (Skip) Cimino, left, and MCCC President Robert Rose.

Getlik notes that she herself never needed coaxing to get up on stage. “I knew from the time I was five years old that I wanted to act,” she said, recalling numerous theater activities from her own youth. With the goal of giving other children that same experience, she decided several years ago to establish “Kelsey Kids Playshops” in conjunction with Youth Stages. Offered for youngsters from kindergarten through fifth grade, these workshops are held on Saturday mornings in the fall and winter. “They give children a creative outlet and enable them to gain confidence in front of an audience,” Getlik said. She also oversees Tomato Patch, Mercer’s visual and performing arts summer camp for students from fifth grade through high school, and last year began offering a summer theater series for pre-school and elementary school children.

Acting and directing are just the start for Getlik. She embraces practically every facet of theater, including lighting design and production, and has spread her talents well beyond Kelsey. She is a member of NJACT (New Jersey Association of Community Theaters), reviewing several shows a year for the association’s Perry Awards competition. During the summer, she has appeared in Open Air Theatre’s productions of “Oklahoma” as Aunt Eller and in “The Wizard of Oz” as the Wicked Witch of the West. She directed “Jekyll and Hyde” for Magnet Theater Company at Mill Hill Playhouse and worked for Passage Theatre as a technical director. She also serves on the advisory board for the Mercer County High School for the Performing Arts.

“I’m very lucky that Mercer County Community College supports the arts the way it does, and allows me to do a job that I love,” Getlik said. “It is gratifying to help people bring their productions to the stage and to fill the Kelsey schedule with worthwhile events. I feel that we have given the community a place that is home to the performing arts.”

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