Live theater generates a unique energy that has engaged Meredith Fogle since childhood.
The Kentlands resident and realtor recalls “feeling transported by the local productions of “Annie” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” her parents took her to, and her first role – the River — in Montgomery Playhouse’s original production of “The Girl Who Captured the Moon” at age 9 remains her favorite.
After studying theater at The Catholic University of America, Fogle intended to pursue acting professionally, but “ended up graduating from college a year early and by the time my peers graduated and moved to New York City, I was ensconced in a career locally.”
About 10 years ago, Fogle’s passion was reignited. “I re-entered community theater when my daughter (Samantha) wanted to audition for a role with Montgomery Playhouse. I was convinced to read for the mother in ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ and then was offered that role,” enabling mother and daughter to take the stage together.
Fogle proceeded to act in “countless local community theater productions” – among them, Montgomery Playhouse’s One Act Festival and its production of “Central Park West,” Chevy Chase Theater’s “The Gingerbread Lady” and Peter’s Alley Theatre’s “To Gillian on her 37th Birthday.”
Her theatrical involvement extended beyond acting. As a founding member of the Arlington, Virginia-based Peter’s Alley, Fogle learned “that with passion, talent and the right group of people, anything is possible.” In addition, she served on Montgomery Playhouse’s board of directors and was on the hair and makeup design team for Quince Orchard High School’s production of “James and the Giant Peach.”
All those community theater experiences led to the latest undertaking for the Gaithersburg native who already parents and works full-time, sits on the Kentlands Community Foundation (KCF) board, chairs the Kentlands Kingfish and serves as Vice President of Social for Rachel Carson Elementary School’s PTA.
Fogle recently founded the Kentlands Community Players, a nonprofit arts program that aims “to produce community theater in the truest sense of the word: A theater group run by neighborhood residents with works produced, directed and performed by neighborhood residents, and with a focus on theatrical productions accessible to residents of all ages.”
Why add still another layer to an already substantial cadre of commitments? Because “I’ve always believed that live theater creates a unique magic and that community theater provides a unique platform allowing access to the magic of theater to the entire community,” Fogle explained, adding that “The Kentlands was created with a goal of providing cultural and artistic enrichment to the community, and as a community, is full of talented residents with a passion both for the community and for the arts.
“Our goal is to introduce a love of theater to the community, to ignite a passion for theater in our youngest community members and to provide a platform for anyone interested in learning about and becoming involved with this rich artistic medium.”
To date, the volunteer group has met three times. “We have 18 members, a mix of actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, musicians and business people willing to lend their talents to making the company a success,” Fogle said. “The group is always open to new members and is specifically seeking members with lighting and sound design experience.”
According to the agreed-upon guidelines, members will function as producers; they will choose the shows and find directors, actors and supporting volunteers. In turn, the KCF will provide rehearsal and production space, royalty dues and production supplies. The expectation is that the group will develop a self-supporting program via sponsorships and ticket sales, and eventually return a portion of production proceeds to the Foundation.
Fogle said she is “thrilled” to announce that the Kentlands Community Players’ not-yet-decided-upon first production will take the Arts Barn stage on April 26 and 27. “Stay tuned for more details and audition notices!”
For information on the Kentlands Community Players, email firstname.lastname@example.org.