A Brief History of Geneva Theatre Guild
Live theatre in Geneva dates back to the end of the Nineteenth Century at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva. Early records show a production by “Geneva Amateurs” of The Pirates of Penzance on April 4, 1896.
The Geneva Players presented productions at various schools and in the barn at Seneca Lake Country Club for a number of years. For seven years, The Geneva Summer Theatre presented plays with a professional company and community actors at the Bartlett Theatre on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus.
In 1978, the Geneva Theatre Guild, Inc., was founded to foster interest in the performing arts through participation in community theatre. Since that date, the Guild has presented over 60 plays and musicals, involving community members of all ages.
Each summer, “Geneva’s amateurs” return to the beautifully restored, historic Smith Opera House to present a summer musical production. This magnificent venue allows area actors, singers and dancers the opportunity to perform on the same stage that once was used by noted vaudeville and theatre personalities.
In 1986, the Geneva Theatre Guild Youth Theatre was founded to provide local youth with an opportunity to be involved in all aspects of a live theatre production. The Youth Theatre also runs “Dramatic Inventions,” a series of informal drama classes for children in the third through fifth grades.
In 1998, The Nancy Curvin Playground Players were founded to honor the memory of longtime Guild member and past president, Nancy Curvin. This touring program provides a theatrical experience for area children and senior citizens who might not have easy access to a production.
In 1998, the Guild initiated a program that gives area playwrights the opportunity to have their plays performed in a staged-readers theatre format. Area writers are invited to submit scripts, which are considered by a committee of Guild members. Three plays are selected for performance in the Geneva Free Library in March. Discussions with the playwrights, actors and directors follow the performances.
In the fall, the Guild presents a drama, comedy, or program of one-act plays.
The Guild recently began sponsoring theatre trips to GEVA in Rochester, Syracuse Stage and productions in Toronto, such as The Lion King. Trips are open to the general public, with Guild members having first choice.
Throughout the years, the Guild has given many talented young people the opporunity to perform for local audiences. David Wood has gone on to appear in the chorus lines of several musicals. Tyrone Henderson is now a professional actor in New York City and appeared with Phylicia Rashad in Boston in Blues for an Alabama Sky. (He recently appeared in Syracuse in the same play.)
Retrospective: Past Productions
Playwrights/Playreadings; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill; Circle Mirror Transformation; Beauty and the Beast; GTGYT: Through the Looking Glass
Playwrights/Playreadings; Match; Shrek, The Musical; GTGYT: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman
Playwrights/Playreadings; Ages of Man, Drowsy Chaperone; GTGYT: Honk!
Playwrights/Playreadings; Over the River and Through the Woods; GTGYT: Dramatic Inventions; Guys and Dolls; Midsummer Night’s Dream
Playwrights/Playreadings; Avenue Q; GTGYT: Les Misérables: School Edition; Odd Couple
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Playwrights/Playreadings; Into the Woods; GTGYT Youth!; All the Great Books (abridged)
Playwrights/Playreadings; RENT; GTGYT’s Seussical; The Laramie Project
Playwrights/Playreadings; She Loves Me; GTGYT’s Grease; The Wedding Singer; Mad About Theatre: Mrs. Sorkin, The Actor’s Nightmare, One Minute Play, Top of 16 & Impromptu
They’re Playing our Song; Little Shop of Horrors; GTGYT’s Disney’s Aladdin; Graceland & Asleep on the Wind
I Do! I Do!; Playwrights Playreadings; Theatre After Hours; La Cage Aux Folles; The Queen of Bingo
Sylvia; Playwrights/Playreadings: “Interrupted Memories”, “Pitching the Good Game”, “Bob’s Date”; The Pirates of Penzance; The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
Forever Plaid; Playwrights/Playreadings: “In Some Secluded”, “Population Growth”, “The Butcher, the Baker and the Blacksmith”, “In a Clutch”; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; 2 Faces of Drama 2: “Smile”, “Hidden In This Picture”; Arsenic and Old Lace
Playwrights/Playreadings: “Book of Job, Part II: Job Strikes Back”; “Mediocreville”; “A Moment of Grace”; “Fancy Meeting You Here”; “Now That You Mention It”; Side by Side by Sondheim; Man of La Mancha; Two Faces of Drama: “Foibles”; “The Iris Principle”; Greetings!
Playwrights/Playreadings: “Trophy Wife”; “Condensed Theatre Classics Presents: Lives in the Wind”; “Let Me Count The Ways”; “Growing Up”; The Fantasticks; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Lost in Yonkers
Playwrights/Playreadings: “Unfamiliar Name “; “Trinity”; “Dead Weight”; “Limbo”; “You’re Never Gone”; Nunsense; Gypsy; Over the River and Through the Woods
Playwrights/Playreadings: “The Widower”; “The Park Bench”; “For This We Give Thanks”; On the Twentieth Century; Off Broadway in Geneva II: “The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year”; “The Red Coat”; “A Lonely Impulse of Delight”; “Grace and Glorie”; “Mrs. Sorken”; Point of View: “Haiku”; “The Last Time We Saw Her”; “Blind Date”
Playwrights/Playreadings: “Bear Arms”; “Poker Friends”; Carousel; Experience Off-Broadway in Geneva: “Duet for Bear and Dog”; “Oedi”; “Ferris Wheel”; “Ex-Miss Copper Queen on a Set of Pills”
Playwrights/Playreadings: “Check and Mate”; “Like Father, Like Son”; “Chances”; Silver Linings: Musical Portraits of Hope; Towards Zero
The Ugly Duckling and Youth; Mame
Oliver!; Readings from The Quilters: Women and Domestic Arts
Two Evenings and an Afternoon with Edith Wharton: Confessions and Xingu; Fiddler on the Roof; Three Evenings and an Afternoon with Edith Wharton: Afterward and Expiation
Love Letters; West Side Story (with Geneva High School, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and Smith Opera House); 110 in the Shade; Home for the Holidays
The After Dinner Theatre Murders; Guys and Dolls
On Borrowed Time; Anniversary Gala; Cricket on the Hearth
A Chorus Line
Laughable Liaisons: Am I Blue? Good Neighbors, Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music; Pippin
Pump Boys and Dinettes; Our Town