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    Posted August 12, 2008

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Actors' Equity Congratulates The Reagle Players On Its 40th Anniversary

Actors' Equity is pleased to congratulate The Reagle Players on its 40th Anniversary.

Donna McKechnie (with Russell Rhodes) in NO, NO, NANETTE

Reagle Players was founded in the summer of 1969 as an outlet for talented high school and college students by Robert J. Eagle, a Waltham Public Schools teacher and administrator, who received a grant from the Waltham City Council to support a summer theatre. The superintendent of schools thought this was a good use of the empty school theatres, and he arranged the rent free use of the theatre. In subsequent years, because no grant funds were available, the players embarked on an endless round of bake sales, car washes, and auctions in order to support the summer theatre. During those early years, as the group became better known, people from other communities joined, and, as the charter members became older, the age bracket widened. From the outset, Reagle's purpose has been to produce the most professional productions possible, while providing educational, recreational, and entertainment opportunities for its members. Even in 1969, careful research was done on the original Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL, and a full orchestra was engaged in order to reach the standard established by Bob Eagle.

Nanette Beachballs - On The Beach

Ticket sales and individual donations have been the primary source of income and support since 1969. Although it was never required, Reagle made major improvements in and paid for much of the maintenance of the theatre. In time, under Reagle's leadership, both the Robinson and Crawford theatres were air-conditioned. Moreover, a pre-engineered 40' by 75' steel, set storage warehouse was erected behind Robinson Theatre at Waltham High School at a cost of $50,000

Most notable, however, Reagle was the catalyst for a $1.2 million addition and improvements to the Waltham High School Fine Arts Wing, and Reagle Players raised two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the project.

Reagle Players have been honored twice with the Moss Hart Memorial Award, a New England trophy. A newer series of awards, the IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) has been bestowed on Reagle in several categories annually since its inception in 1997, while critical reviews have been excellent.

In 1984 Reagle Players hired its first Equity actor. The summer theatre now operates under a Letter of Agreement with Actors Equity of New York.

Jessica Greeley as Nanette in NO, NO, NANETTE

The Reagle Players Celebrity Series was born in the fall of 2003 with a production of TOMMY TUNE AND THE MANHATTAN RHYTHM KINGS. Others that followed are Robert Goulet, Shirley Jones, Patti Page, and Ann-Marget, to name a few. Recent Tony Award winner Patti LuPone won a 2006 IRNE Award for Best Solo Performance (THE LADY WITH THE TORCH) when she performed her concert on the Reagle stage. People from all over New England (and beyond) travel to Waltham to enjoy a little bit of Hollywood right here in Waltham.

Educational programs sponsored by the Reagle Players include The Actor in the Classroom, a program where four professional actors visit high school classrooms and help guide, coach, and mentor students through the plays of Shakespeare and August Wilson. Most notably, the Reagle Players Musical Theatre Camp recently completed its third year. The eighty children attended classes from 9-4 for four weeks, which concluded with two showcases for parents and friends. Students unable to pay the tuition were given scholarships. Theatre professionals, many who are here to perform in our major productions, teach master classes to the children, continuing our original goal of blending amateur and professional talents as a learning tool for all. Over one hundred students have applied for the 2008 Musical Theatre Camp, and the number continues to rise.

Reagle Players has been a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre since 1993.

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