Township Theater Group continues to take center stage

Original shows such as “Hats On, Hats Off,” “Everything and the Kitchen Sink,” “Strutting Our Stuff,” and this year’s Township Theater Group production, “Movin’, Groovin’, No Snoozin’ ” all begin with an epiphany.

“We create all of our own material,” says Myrna Kranis, the troupe’s president. “We take well-known songs, and we write parodies. We have people in the group that write dialogue.”

Founded in 1994 by Beverly Palumbo and Richard Cohen, the group is gearing up for its annual show. Every March, Township Theater Group produces a full-scale, one-night-only production. Ticket prices are kept low—currently, admission is $8—and group members pay annual dues of $15. At last count, there are about 40 members; there are no auditions and no one is turned away who wants to be a part of the group.

“We come up with a theme that works for everyone in the show, and Beverly’s mantra is, if you want to be in the show, you’re in. She’ll always find something for someone to do,” says Cohen, the group’s second vice president for programming.

Even though it’s Palumbo, the group’s original president and its director for the past eight years, who gets the idea for the show—or the “epiphany,” as members jokingly call it—the annual production is a team effort.

“We have people who sing and dance, people who act or play instruments, and we have those who assist in creating the scenery or whatever we need,” Kranis says. “Others are ushers or help with costumes or makeup. We start rehearsals in November. We keep creating and creating as we go along. It comes from an idea and ends up as a complete show.” 

The troupe previously performed in the Township Ballroom, but after gaining a large following, they were invited to use the Township Center for the Performing Arts.

For many of its members, the group has become more than a social club. “We’re like a support group,” Cohen says. “We’ve been there for each other in good times and bad times. We meet once a month, but many of us see each other more than that. We get together sometimes for lunch or dinner.”

The group’s monthly meetings have a theater theme, naturally. Guest speakers are invited, or group members create the program. At one meeting, Kranis shared stories about the life of dancer Gene Kelly. At another, a member who saw the Broadway hit “Hamilton” shared the experience with the group. When there isn’t a presentation, the group plays theater trivia.

While many of the group’s members have previous professional experience, it isn’t necessary.

“There are no stars in our show. We’re all stars in our own right,” Kranis says.

 

DON’T MISS

Check out these performances and events throughout the month:

Smokey Robinson

The Motown singer performs only a few of his many hits among his more than 4,000 songs.

When: March 7

Where: Broward Center

LaudyPOP

At this festival celebrating food, spirits and the arts, attendees may sample local cuisine while enjoying musical performances, live painting and art installations from Fort Lauderdale’s emerging artists. For information, visit laudypop.com.

When: March 10

Where: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

“A Jew Grows in Brooklyn”

Jake Ehrenreich stars in the popular musical.

When: March 10–12

Where: Coral Springs Center for the Arts

Miami City Ballet

The company performs several classic and modern ballets, including “The Fairy’s Kiss.”

When: March 11 & 12

Where: Broward Center

“Cannolis, Latkes and Guilt”

It’s the new show from Steve Solomon of Broadway’s “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy.”

When: March 17 & 18

Where: Township Center for the
Performing Arts

Carol Burnett

The legendary comedian answers questions during “An Afternoon of Laughter & Reflection.”

When: March 19

Where: Broward Center

“Something Rotten”

Set in 1595, the Broadway export follows two brothers as they write the first musical.

When: March 21–April 2

Where: Broward Center

“Movin’, Groovin’, No Snoozin’” will be performed on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Township Center for the Performing Arts (2452 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek). For tickets, call 954.970.0606.