Stuart Landon named Open Stage artistic director

HARRISBURG — There’s big news coming out of the Walnut St. Garage in downtown Harrisburg.

And no … it’s not a fleet of classic cars pulling out and heading to an auto show in Carlisle.

The news is Open Stage of Harrisburg’s theater, which is located on the street level of the Walnut St. Garage, with a 25 N. Court St. address, is currently presenting “Uncanny Valley,” with remaining performances now through May 7.

The bigger news is that Donald and Anne Alsedek, co-founders of Open Stage of Harrisburg, are retiring after 31 years.

And the biggest news is that Stuart Landon, the genial current associate artistic Director, who has a following of family, friends and admirers in North Central Pennsylvania has just been named to be OSH’s new artistic director.

As of June 30, Don and Anne Alsedek will officially retire from Open Stage of Harrisburg.

Founded in 1982 with the first full season launched in 1992, OSH has been acclaimed as a “cultural landmark” with its offerings of innovative and thought-provoking productions.

In June, Don Alsedek will direct “Ah, Wilderness” as the final show of the 31st season, while his wife Anne will, following her “retirement,” continue to teach adult acting classes.

Both co-founders are enthusiastic with the appointment of Stuart Landon as the “new” producing artistic director.

A native of Houston, Landon studied music at the University of Oklahoma, and resides in Harrisburg. Area theatregoers still remember Landon’s summer stints at Mill Hall’s Millbrook Playhouse. Landon also gained favor, acting in a wide variety of roles, at the professional Allenberry Playhouse, just outside Carlisle.

In addition to marketing this professional regional theater, Landon’s duties include teaching at Open Stage’s studio and school.

A seasoned performer, he has acted in more than a dozen dramatic plays, and for the last few years, donned candy cane tights for the comical one-man show “The Santaland Diaries.”

Landon also directed several OSH shows, including this season’s annual production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

According to Alsedek, it is Landon’s passion, dedication and endless energy that made him the logical choice to take the reins as Open Stage of Harrisburg’s artistic director.

Open Stage of Harrisburg also will be presenting “Uncanny Valley,” with 7:30 p.m. performances tonight, Friday and April 27-29, and May 4-6, with 2 p.m. matinees on April 30 and May 7. The play is recommended for ages 10 and older for complicated themes.

Thomas Gibbons’ drama probes the question what does it mean to be human in the 21st century.

The two person cast consists of Anne Alsedek as the neuroscientist Claire and Jeff Lettermoser as Julian, the android. This science fiction tale, played in 90 minutes without intermission, is directed by Don Alsedek, OSH’s producing artistic director.

Drawing on current research on artificial intelligence and robotics, “Uncanny Valley” charts the relationship between Claire and Julian. As Julian is born a few body parts at a time over the course of the play, Claire teaches him to be as human as possible.

Their deepening friendship and Julian’s growing “humanity” lead to revelations of an unhealed sorrow in Claire’s personal life and, ultimately, the reasons for which Julian has been created.

For ticket information, call the box office at 717-232-6736 or visit www.openstagehbg.com.

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