Milton Theatre preparing for classes, performances

Middletown goup says curtain will rise in May
Lisa Sumstine and Fred Munzert take a break from getting the Milton Theatre ready to open in mid-May. Sumstine is Milton Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Munzert is Premier Centre for the Arts chief operating officer. Munzert is bringing performance and art programs to Milton from the Middlettown-based centre. BY HENRY J. EVANS JR.
April 17, 2014

Milton Theatre's curtain is expected to rise in mid-May after Middletown-based Premier Centre for the Arts volunteers have cleaned and repaired the theatre, which closed in 2011.

“We’re giving the building a good airing out,” said Fred Munzert, PCA chief operating officer, said on a rainy day as volunteers hauled out old theater seats that are being given away.

In only a few weeks, Munzert plans to have the theater ready to offer children's  and adult theater classes, rock music instruction for young performers, art instruction, plays and other stage performances.

Munzert said PCA would do in Milton what it has been doing in Middletown for more than a decade – educate people of all ages in the arts and provide entertainment for everyone.

The old theater’s seats were fastened to the floor, but Munzert said seating in the new theater would be movable, to offer flexible configurations, depending upon room use.

Lisa Sumstine, Milton Chamber of Commerce executive director, said she and her daughter went to a holiday tea at the Middletown facility. “After the tea I gave him my card and said after the holiday I’ll send you an email,” Sumstine said.

Back home, she visited the center’s website and found a workshop her daughter was interested in.

They started driving to Middletown for Saturday morning classes, during which Sumstine would talk to Munzert about the Milton Theatre, the downtown area and possibilities.

“Then they came down and saw the building and town, and the rest is history, as they say,” Sumstine said.

Munzert has been running the Middletown operation for 13 years. “But I’ve been doing this and things like it for a lot longer,” he said.

Expanding to Middletown made sense, Munzert said.

“It made sense, it made a lot of sense. Now we’re here,” he said.

The Middletown Theater’s space accommodates about 80 seats, while Milton’s space was set up with about 190 seats, Munzert said. He said he doesn’t yet know what its maximum capacity will be.

“In the next two to four weeks we’ll know a lot more about our opening date, capacity and things of that sort,” Munzert said.

The theater’s light and sound systems have not been thoroughly assessed, he said. “But there is a nice set of lights and a sound system already in here. We have stuff we’ll be adding to it as well. That’ll be the easy part, for sure,” he said.

Munzert said if the Milton Theatre needs something and the Middletown location has it, he’d see that it gets transported.

Munzert said the first program, Willy Wonka Kids is tuition-free. “It’s set up as an introduction to the staff, to the program and its people. It’s kind of a start in theater. We get a lot of beginners, and we get a lot of seasoned people, too,” he said.

Munzert said theater education is the backbone of what PCA does in Middletown. “We do a little bit of everything, for 6-year-olds through adults. We do comedy shows, and we do puppet shows. We want to bring that same energy here,” he said.

He said show material is always age-appropriate; a comedy for adults might be the equivalent of an R-rated movie, while something for children might have originated in the house built by a mouse named Mickey.

He said Middletown also has classes for teens who want to learn to play rock music. Some are taught by professional rock musicians who might be taking a break from the road or gigging nearby.

“We have a rock show in Middletown where students can come and play in the rock band. It’s a whole different vibe than doing Little Mermaid, and that’s what I like about it. It’s kind of a collision of humanity, in a sense,” Munzert said.

PCA in Middletown has 500 students in its theater, music and dance classes. Many students take part in the more than 250 performances each season. Performance skills vary from beginners to Broadway shows for advanced students.

Munzert said programs in Milton would start small, with children's workshops, and build to have a full offering of programs in the fall.

For additional information about the Milton Theatre and to volunteer, contact Fred Munzert at 302-378-1384, or go to

Milton Theatre schedules fun filled summer

The Premier Centre for the Arts at the Milton Theatre is offering the theater’s first workshop, Willy Wonka Kids, tuition-free.

The Roald Dahl story about a world-famous candyman and his quest to find an heir are brought to life through characters and songs.

The workshop is open to ages 6 -17. Registration is required because space is limited. Each participant must pay $15 for a script and is asked to buy a $25 program message in Break A Leg: Lines from Family.

Rehearsals are 9 a.m. to noon, Saturdays, May 10, 17, 24, and 31; and Saturday, June 7 and 14.

Show times are 7 p.m., Friday, June 20; 7 p.m., Saturday, June 21; and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday, June 22. Tickets cost $10 each.

Milton Theatre to host summer camps and shows
Annie Show Camp* June 23-28

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to noon, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Ages 6-14; $140/$260

Painting Camp June 23-28

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to noon

Ages 8-16; $140 and $20 for supplies

Wizard of Oz Show Camp* July 7-12

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to noon, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ages 6-14; $140/$260

Theatre Camp* Level 1, July 14-19

Monday-Friday and Saturday, Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ages 5-11; $260

Theatre Camp* Level 2 July 14-19

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday shows

Ages 12-17; $260

Puppetry Show Camp* July 21-26

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to noon or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ages 6-14; $140/$260

Cartooning Camp, July 21-26

Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to noon

Ages 8-16; $140 and $10 for supplies

Little Mermaid Show Camp* August 11-16

Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ages 6-14; $140/$260

*Show Camps run Monday-Saturday with shows at 11 a.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday. Tickets cost $6 each and are required for all shows.

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