Blog & Community

‘night, Mother

by Marsha Norman

directed by Steve Koeppen,
with Meghan Daaboul as Jessie Cates
and Virginia Kincaid as Thelma Cates

Promotional Photo for NIGHT MOTHER
photo by Jeff Crayne

On a seemingly normal evening, we meet Thelma Cates who lives with her daughter, Jessie.  On this night, Jessie comes into the room asking her mother about the whereabouts of her father’s old revolver.  When Jessie finds it in the attic, she confesses to her mother that she is going to commit suicide that very evening.

Throughout the subsequent dialogue between Jessie and Thelma, Jessie reveals her reasons for her decision.  And as Thelma pleads for Jessie to reconsider her decision, old secrets are revealed, and long-ignored feelings rise to the surface.

  • 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Elizabeth Hull-Kate Warriner Award from the Dramatist Guild
  • Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
  • Nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play

As she perfectly captures the details of two individual, ordinary women, this playwright locates the emptiness that fills too many ordinary homes on too many faceless streets in the vast country we live in now.”
— Frank Rich, The New York Times

*For discounts on group sales of ten or more tickets, call 971-409-7369

Sensational Sixties Sure to Entertain!


Portland Musical Theater Company and Chehalem Players Repertory partner to open a world premiere, The Sensational Sixties on January 14, 2017 at the Chehalem Cultural Center Black Box Theatre.

Tickets for The Sensational Sixties are now available and can be purchased at or by calling the box office at (971) 264-9409.

Featuring songs from Broadway’s biggest hits of the 1960s there’s a little something for everyone in this revue. Set in the theater after their performance ended a cast of singers passionately debate what was their favorite musical and show tunes of the 60s.

As each cast member puts their candidate forward, the entire group breaks into song to celebrate the hits from their favorite show. With 4 part harmonies, laughs, and tender moments The Sensational Sixties will recall the decade that started with the “Camelot” of a Kennedy presidency and ended with change, hippies, and the hope of peace.

More concert than traditional musical, The Sensational Sixties brings together over 35 Broadway hits from Hello Dolly, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, Man of La Mancha, Hair, Oliver, Bye Bye Birdie, Fiddler on the Roof, and more. 

Audience members are encouraged to dress in their favorite 60s fashion.

The show includes a 15 minute intermission and concessions will be available for purchase. All performance will be at the Black Box Theatre at the Chehalem Cultural Center located at 415 E Sheridan St, Newberg, OR 97132.

George and Other Short Stories

We were so fortunate to have author Terry Bisson and Judy Jensen attend our opening night.  It was a pleasure for the cast to have the opportunity to talk with Terry and enjoy some personal time with him.  If you want more of Terry’s pieces, you can view several film versions of They’re Made Out of Meat on YouTube.  It was interesting to learn that Toxic Donut has been performed at many venues all over the country.  It’s an honor to be among those who have produced Terrys’ work.

Ronni Lacroute on Love Letters

What a lovely Opening Night of “Love Letters” at Chehalem Players Repertory tonight in Newberg with James C Halliday and his wife Karen Halliday playing Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Mellisa Gardner very convincingly through tone of voice, facial expression and body language. What wonderful character development! By the end of the play, I wanted to send both of these deeply flawed but sympathetic characters directly to therapy and then give them a chance to live their lives over. I am thankful to have such high quality theatre in Yamhill County–thank you specifically to Donna Gentry Birnbach for starting this theatre company in Newberg.


This past year has been amazing!  We have seen wonderful support from area theaters like Bag & Baggage in Hillsboro, who has encouraged us to promote the Passport Free Ticket Program.  Passport Free Ticket program offers free tickets to High School Students in Yamhill County.  That’s right…tickets are 100% free to any student who comes to our doors 30 minutes before curtain.  No longer will the cost of a ticket, be a deterrent for a student who wants to experience live theater.  All that is required is a student I.D. So come and enjoy what we have to offer!

Above the Press has come to our aid with podcasts, marketing ideas and some crazy good stuff for the Oscar Party on 2/22.

In reflecting on 2014 we are filled with thanks and gratitude…we just can’t believe our good fortune.  We have made wonderful connections with great actors in our community and with area theaters.  We have seen incredible donor sponsorship through the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation and great partnership with local businesses, like Allegra Printing.  And our donor base is simply — rock solid.  THANK YOU to our fantastic community here in Newberg for providing everything we need to bring quality theater to your doorstep.

With the 2015 Season eyeballing us — yes it is upon us…just around the corner.  We want to thank you for helping us make great those strides in 2014.  Looking forward, we believe 2015 will be our best season ever.  Starting with a rom-com then moving on to the thought-provoking Terry Bisson adaptations, the hilarious Odd Couple by Neil Simon and closing out with a holiday show, the season is jam packed with great entertainment and brilliant performances.  So fasten your seat belts and get ready for some great theater.

See you in 2015!

Facts vs. Truth

Khaled: That’s ridiculous. There was no encounter. You’re making stuff up.

Agent: Well of course I am. You of all people should appreciate the importance of doing that. How that might lead you, stumbling, to a truth or two. Facts aren’t the only game in town.

I’ve been thinking lately about the difference between “fact” and “truth:” two words that I’ve used interchangeably for most of my life. It might seem obvious to others, but I’ve been come to realize that there is an enormous difference between the two. A fact is indisputable because it is empirical: fire is hot, Mt. Everest is tall, mammals need oxygen. Truth, however, is something entirely different. It is far more nebulous and ephemeral; it is often based on a group or individual’s interpretation of facts and as such it can be affected by our own biases and prejudices . “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”was how America declared its independence, but that “truth” still doesn’t hold in many parts of the world.  In fact the founding fathers’ “truth” about equality certainly didn’t extend to slaves or women. That truth has evolved with our country’s ever-changing understanding of the world.

Back of the Throat deals again and again with the question of “what are the facts?” and “what is the truth?” This can be especially dangerous when people are asked to give testimony in emotionally charged situations: after a crime has occurred, for example. In college, I was out for a jog and a homeless woman pulled a knife on me while screaming and threatening me. I got away, ran straight to the police station and reported it; the police apprehended a woman immediately and then drove me by in the squad car to make an identification. I saw the woman handcuffed, I was shown the knife that they found on her and I said that, yes, they had arrested the correct woman. But the reality is that I couldn’t really remember her face or what she’d been wearing – all I remembered was the knife. And when I saw the 5” knife they had taken from her, even it seemed different – so much smaller than how I remembered it. This is a normal phenomenon for people after traumatic events occur.

And that is the world of the play. It is post 9/11 – a traumatic event that we collectively experienced and one that still colors our perceptions and memories. Characters in the play are asked to describe the actions and movements of Khaled, the protagonist, but their perceptions are seen through the prism of having survived an attack by terrorists. Khaled is a foreign-sounding name, he was born in another country and he is a very private person: all of these facts shape what is the truth for these witnesses.

It is never made clear in the play whether Khaled is guilty of anything nefarious. The audience is presented with facts and it is up the each individual to determine in the end what the truth is.

“Back of the Throat” Interview with Kym Herbst

Enjoy this great interview with Kym Herbst who is directing CPR’s newest production, Back of the Throat.  Thanks to the Newberg Graphic and Katy Sword for another great interview.

PDF: Newberg Graphic-Back of the Throat

Link to interview

Back of the Throat opens Friday, April 25th and runs through Sunday, May 4th. Performances dates and times are on the website.

Bringing cutting edge theatre to Willamette Valley is our mission. Back of the Throat is sure to stimulate thinking and conversation about the post-9/11 world we live in.


An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf – the Director’s Wrap-up

In a word, this production was “perfection!” All of the run was great and then here it was — the final performance — and, it was rock solid. We had the most amazing party at Jim and Karen Halliday’s home (the incredible hosting prowess of these two is formidable)! Martha Halliday (our unofficial understudy) was there in her favorite jersey. Kathleen Buck and I were spoilt by the cast with flower baskets. But, it was watching perfect performances of timing, pace, pathos, comedy and sketchy blocking (from me) that rocked my world. This extraordinary convergence of people made for the right show — in the right space — at the right time. Nancy Savonick and Steve Lund brought the poisonous dessert every evening…made fresh to order. The cast was flawless – Jaime Speelman-Flatters, Nate Travers, Gerry Birnbach, Jeff Sargent, Karen Halliday, James C Halliday were the hardest working people in show biz…I thank you — all you James Brownses!

martha hallidayAnd then there’s Jim’s mom, Martha Halliday. She came to every rehearsal, knew all the lines and had spot-on commentary. She honestly could have stood in for anyone who may have been out ill. What a pleasure to make a new friend in her. She is so young at 97. She inspires me to live a long and happy life full of family, joy, good health and culture!

All and all, one of the finest productions and teams I have ever had the pleasure to direct!