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Spotlight on The Collaborative Act Studio in Cherry Hill, NJ

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GrouchoProducing Artistic Director Ted Wioncek III  has seen his share of footlights for a South Jersey guy in his mid 20’s. From Philly’s Wilma & Walnut Street Theaters  to several productions mounted in South Jersey such as the popular Ritz Theater  in Oaklyn, The Southern New Jersey Academy of Performing Arts, Haddonfield Play and Players, Triple Threat, Mainstage Center for the Performing Arts and many more.

Wioncek is now steering his own ship as producing artistic director of a newly formed theater troupe, The Collaborative Act Studio (TCAS) established in 2007. This hard working group of artists and creators are proving to live up to their mission statement which reads in part…“The Collaborative Act Studio is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of the performing arts…. We strive to create a home in which artisans may take risks, while igniting, challenging and entertaining our audiences through the exploration of rarely performed classics, modern and original works….”

TCAS launched their first season with William Ingo’s Splendor in the Grass at a Williamstown venue. In their new home at the Fusion Performing Arts Center  in Cherry Hill New Jersey their second season presentations truly live up to their motto of challenging, risky and entertaining productions as they mounted The Graduate, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, M*A*S*H and Angels in America Part One. TCAS’s hard work pays off with a total of eight Perry Awards Nominations; from the New Jersey Association of Community Theater, which is the equivalent of the Tonys for community theater. Their 2009-10 Season features an entertaining and engaging line up featuring Greater Tuna, Jewtopia, and the return of Angels in America Part Two.

GrouchoHowever, the project that seemingly has grabbed the lion’s share of headlines is a splendid tribute to the Marx Brothers. Wioncek’s first mounting of Coconuts took place at the newly renovated Broadway Pitman Theater  in Pitman New Jersey and played to rave reviews. TCAS decided to revisit the nostalgic trio this past November with a glorious production of Groucho: A Life in Revue. Wioncek clearly has a keen understanding, admiration and uncanny knack of recreating the thick browed, cigar toting genius we know as Groucho.

In Wioncek’s own words, “Groucho never said “good-bye.” We take you on a journey from his house on the West Coast to New York…not to a home in the big apple or the house in which Groucho took his last breath but to a warehouse with Groucho” as his memories come to life with his brothers on board and the delightful antics and stories, some funny, some sad but all full of wit and wry, punch lines and piano playing. “It is my sincere hope, as director, actor and admirer; we’ll never have to say good-bye to Groucho.” It is in this setting that Wioncek, who has undoubtedly done his homework, transform into character from the young to the aging Groucho Marx.

The TCAS is also introducing a Children’s program introducing 3 charming and wonderfully sophisticated children’s theater productions; Jack and the Beanstalk, The Frog Prince, and Snow White. With seven productions in all, a modest, comfortable sized theater with ample parking, The Collaborative Act Studio is growing into a fine cultural backdrop for the residents of South Jersey.

For tickets and more information visit www.tcactstudio.com