SEASON 17:   2012-2013

With Season 17 wrapping up, the Co-Founders continue their tradition of citing certain individuals for their achievements on behalf of The NET during the most recent season. We are once again happy to name four NET members - two married couples -- who epitomize what it is we try to do here: Create quality theatre, working among quality people.

Our Most Valuable Performer (MVP) honorees for 2012 - 2013 are (alphabetically) DeLarme & Kathleen "Kitty" Landes and Hayley & Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski.

These are accomplished and formidable people, individually and as couples.

We've known De and Kitty Landes from our early days in Bucks County. The first theatrical troupe we hooked up with in the county was Town and Country Players in Buckingham. De and Kitty were integral talents there - he, mostly onstage and she, mostly stage managing. Any director will tell you shows rise or fall not only on the strengths of their cast, but on the organizational skills and efficiency of their stage managers.

De joined The NET two seasons ago, giving a nuanced performance as Astrov in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. On the heels of that auspicious beginning, other roles quickly came his way: in Othello, then Season 16's Terra Nova and As You Like It. He jumped into last summer's revival of The Man Who Bought a Country and helped launch this season by playing presidential aspirant William Russell in The Best Man. He then co-directed (with Cat Miller) December's comic romp You Can't Take It With You and stepped back onstage in our next offering, as the blood-curdling title character in Dracula. Two shows later, he was Antonio, the title character in The Merchant of Venice (from whom Shylock wishes to extract his pound of flesh). And now you see him as the conniving lovable thief, Fagin, in Oliver!

De's journey thus far with The NET has taken him and our audiences into the minds of an ecologically-minded doctor, an English arctic explorer, an American Revolutionary patriot, a Shakespearean lover, an idealistic politician, a Transylvanian vampire, an Italian anti-Semite and the n'er-do-well leader of juvenile pickpockets in Victorian London. As you can see, De came to us already tall - and has since stretched himself further into an actor daring to delve deep within himself and his imagination to deliver vivid and unforgettable performances.

For our final performance of the 17th Season, we selected a fanciful yet dark musical: Oliver! A large cast of adults is hard enough to handle, but then add a band of young people to it as well? No doubt Kitty could handle it alone, but why give her such a hefty lift when our legendary stage manager Kelly Allen and Matthew Whiteside (our 2 Season 8 Co-MVPs) stood at the ready to bring order to the chaos that is a large cast of adult and youthful actors & two dogs cavorting on a multi-interior/exterior set.

Kitty, Kelly and Matthew and the others in our tech crew blended together to build a smooth-running on and backstage environment. They divided up responsibilities and went to work. We think all will agree they have succeeded and in fact exceeded expectations.

Hayley and Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski found their way to The NET at the end of last season - in time for the challenge of the burlesque era musical comedy, Gypsy.

First we met Maryalice. She walked in one day, introduced herself and started discussing her experience as an actor, director and choreographer. Before the start of our 17th season, we needed all three! Maryalice joined the cast of Gypsy - starting out her NET career by playing both male and female roles, while also serving as assistant director (due in no small part to the good fortune she was already a veteran of previous productions of the show). We billed her twice -- under her own name for the woman's role and as "M.A. Rubins" for the male role. The idea worked. Because Maryalice worked her tail off! She never tired, never flagged. She persevered! And was terrific! In both roles!

Before this season ends, Maryalice will have stepped into three roles at the last minute (first, she replaced an actor as a reporter in The Best Man, then as Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, and as Bet in Oliver!). She also stage managed Enchanted April and appeared as Mina in Dracula and Lady Margaret More in A Man for All Seasons. She also choreographed and appeared in last August's revival of The Man Who Bought a Country. Immediately after Gypsy came The Man Who Bought a Country - another epic show.

Joining the cast was Maryalice's wife, Hayley. At first, Hayley struck us as the quiet, more sedate half of the couple. Wrong! As she jumped into the role of "the wicked woman" in the life of patriot/financier Robert Morris, Hayley proved herself a force in her own right - ready to carve out her own niche among our growing roster of invaluable company members. Hayley stepped in at the last minute, days before opening, to replace an actress as a campaign aide in our 17th season opener, Gore Vidal's The Best Man. She next stage managed A Man for All Seasons, ran sound for Dracula and then designed and ran the sound for Enchanted April.

The way Hayley and Maryalice came into The NET was much like Grant taking Richmond. They were an overwhelming force. Whenever we had a special need, one or both seemed able to meet it. Before long, Maryalice was elected to our Board of Directors and both she and Hayley became our marketing coordinators. They are now in the process of modernizing how The NET will market our shows, and working to make our website a more flexible tool as well. Being younger than the co-founders, they are more attuned to the Internet and its many possibilities for attracting audience members.

Three days before this production of Oliver! opened, Maryalice - who often wears clothing emblazoned with Supergirl's crest - was called upon to step into the demanding role of Nancy's best friend, Bet. Dana Maginity - a remarkable young performer who we hope returns to us soon - was injured in an auto accident and could not perform. Without hesitation, Maryalice (who was cast in a different part in Oliver!) -- agreed to step into and learn the role. From her hospital bed, Dana sent us a Facebook message about how happy she was Maryalice would be able to take on the challenge. Where's Hayley in this show? Onstage of course, singing and acting her heart out.

So there you have our co-MVPs for 2012-2013: Congratulations to De and Kitty Landes & Hayley and Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski. What have they in common? An undying love for one another and for the magic that talented people can make in a small theatre on a postage stamp size stage!

In the short time they've been with The NET, De and Kitty & Hayley and Maryalice have already made an indelible mark onstage, backstage - and in our hearts.

Actors' NET was founded by actors, for actors - and for singers, dancers, technicians, and stagehands -- who need to exercise their artistic and creative muscles as much as all people need their hearts to beat and their lungs to breathe. This is what we do. This is who we are. We do it for all of you in the audience. And as long as there are people such as De, Kitty, Hayley and Maryalice, you can rest assured - the shows will go on!

--Cheryl & Joe Doyle, Co-Founders

DeLarme & Kathleen "Kitty" Landes
Hayley & Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski