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A slew of newcomers were welcomed to the Pinnacle Playhouse as the Belleville Theater Guild held its annual open house to kick off its 2022-23 season on Thursday evening.

Crowds gathered around tables scattered around the downstairs “Green Room” offering sign-up sheets for future auditions, volunteer opportunities or memberships for sale. Afterwards, most adjourned to the upstairs auditorium to catch a sample of the first new upcoming show of the season; “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, with the stunning set that audiences will see as the play opens. This first show of the season opens Thursday, October 13 and runs through October 29. Sketches or descriptions of the season’s other shows followed, with snack tables set before departure.

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New Guild President Alyssa Ross proudly announced that this will be the Guild’s 71st season and went over the activities used to survive during the covid crisis. She also presided over several awards to catch up over the past two years.

Alex Bell received the Volunteer of the Year award for 2020 and 2021 for numerous roles including light and sound booth and producing video productions during covid.

Doug and Diane Ankenmann were also jointly awarded the “Volunteer of the Year” award for many worthwhile tasks around theater and acting, including at the recent one-act festival. Doug Ankenmann announced that he had secured the use of a good quality carpet cleaner and was planning to clean all seats in the auditorium hopefully with some help.

For the past year, the award has been given to Gerry Fraiberg who worked creatively on the theater’s audio and video systems.

Other shows in the current season from the guild include “How the Other Half Lives”, by British comedy playwright Alan Ayckbourn, “Death Trap”, by Ira Levin, “The Dining Room” by AR Gurney and ” The Addams Family”, as a musical.

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