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Boos One of 36 ‘Notable’ Women Honored

December 8, 2007
By Linda Comins
Former Triadelphia resident Karla Boos, founder and executive director of Quantum Theatre of Pittsburgh, is one of 36 notable women in the arts being recognized in Pittsburgh as “Founders, Pioneers, Instigators.”

Boos, a graduate of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling, attended Bethany College before studying in Pittsburgh and at the California Institute of the Arts. Her theater company, Quantum, has received national and international recognition for its innovative productions.

A new book honoring Boos and the other women was released Nov. 30. The book was created as a memento of the Women in the Arts Festival (2007-08), which was organized by the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh and launched this past June.

New Hazlett Theater officials stated, “The book gives voice to the words and wisdom of 36 of Pittsburgh’s notable women in the arts. These women are honored in particular because their accomplishments have had effects beyond themselves, beyond their own personal hopes and dreams, and have served to inspire others. As founders, pioneers and instigators their words resonate for all fields, for both genders and for all ages.”

Upcoming events in the year-long festival include two symposia, “Creativity: Making Work. Making Community,” featuring discussions and sessions with leaders in the arts in Pittsburgh and the mid-Atlantic region Jan. 18-19, and “Feminism, Grrl Power, The Arts, the Arts Industry,” scheduled for June.

Sara Radelet, executive director of the New Hazlett Theater, commented, “This year’s festival events center on women in the arts and especially recognizing the accomplishments of Pittsburgh’s impressive women arts leaders. This group has founded, stabilized and continues to drive much of what is noted in our region’s cultural environment. Each generation sets the foundation for the next generation and we hope to recognize what their energy has provided for us in Pittsburgh.”

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Fans of Wheeling native Aaron Galligan-Stierle, who’s making his Broadway debut in the role of Papa Who, were thrilled when “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” returned to the Great White Way to resume its limited holiday run.

“The Grinch” musical, of course, was the first of the Broadway shows affected by the recent stagehands’ strike to resume production, after a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the reopening of the St. James Theater. In the Nov. 22 edition of The New York Times, staff writer Campbell Robertson wrote a hilarious account, in the style of Dr. Seuss, of the court case.

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On another New York theatrical note, Academy Award winner Frances McDormand, a Bethany College graduate who worked with Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre early in her career, is a cast member for the 52nd Street Project’s “Don’t Tread on Me,” which ends a three-day run at the American Theatre of Actors today, Dec. 9.

According to an item in The New Yorker magazine, the 52nd Street Project, a not-for-profit organization, is presenting “nine plays by playwrights ages 9-12, performed by a cast that includes Frances McDormand.”

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Storyteller Rich Knoblich of Wheeling related that a storyteller with local ties has been honored by the West Virginia Storytelling Guild for tales based on the Mountain State’s traditions and values.

Knoblich said voting, by members of the guild, for the 2007 Bob McWhorter Storytelling Award resulted in a tie, so sharing this year’s honors are Suzi “Mama” Whaples and the late Paul Lepp, whose parents reside in Glen Dale. Lepp’s award will be presented to family members, Knoblich said.

Lepp was a six-time winner of the West Virginia Liars Contest sponsored by the state Division of Culture and History. “Though Paul died in 1998, his influence on the quality and hilarity of the contest continues,” Knoblich commented.

Lepp’s brother and fellow storyteller, Bil Lepp, has collected Paul Lepp’s tales and supplemented the lies with some of his own. These stories can be found in a book, “The Monster Stick: And Other Appalachian Tall Tales,” published by August House Publishers in Little Rock, Ark.

The Storytelling Guild adopted a clock to symbolize storytelling achievements. “The award represents the ageless art of storytelling from the past into the future,” Knoblich explained. The Bob McWhorter Storytelling Award clock derived its name from one of the founders of the West Virginia Storytelling Festival held each October at Jackson’s Mill in Weston.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net



 
 

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