Older adults show off their acting chops in community productions through Philly Senior Stage

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Thursday, April 11, 2024
Art of Aging: Older adults show off their acting chops in community productions through Philly Senior Stage
If you ever imagined your name in bright lights, but life got in the way - there's still time to show off your acting chops thanks to an organization helping older adults shine on stage.

LAFAYETTE HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Since 2006, Robby Hutter has been conducting theater and performing arts programs for older adults through Philly Senior Stage as the artistic director.

He says the goal of the organization is to "involve older adults in their own kind of artistic and creative development and get them engaged." He holds classes at active retirement communities, like Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill.

"I see the impact it's making on these folks," he says.

June Knight and John Barkley are both members of The Masonic Village Players, directed by Hutter.

"I just got invited and got hooked," says Knight. "I didn't know I wanted to act, but it's fun. I'm really enjoying it."

"I've always been involved in music and since they do music in the shows, I just wanted to be part of that," says Barkley.

Hutter stages two shows a year for each community, based on a theme.

The Masonic Village Players will be performing "Hooray for Hollywood" for their spring Philly Senior Stage production, which Hutter calls "a smattering of Broadway musicals."

Barkley takes center stage in "West Side Story," playing the role of Tony.

"John Barkley comes in with a plethora of experience as a vocalist," says Hutter. "It's quite extraordinary."

Knight is in a scene from "It Happened One Night," playing Ellie Andrews. She laughs while telling how she reenacts the hitchhiking scene where her character, Ellie, shows off a little leg to get a ride from a passing car.

Hutter says Knight was "made for the stage."

"Robb is a good teacher," says Barkley. "And we try to follow his direction."

"You don't only act when you speak, you have to stay acting in the whole scene," Hutter tells the cast.

"I just enjoy being with the people," says Knight.

"We do have fun together," says Barkley.

"It infuses them with a sense of life and vitality," says Hutter. "And that's really the thrill of doing this."

For more information:

Philly Senior Stage: PhillySeniorStage.com

The Masonic Village Players - Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill: MasonicVillageLafayetteHill.org

Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill
801 Ridge Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444