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4 chances to see ‘Bridges’ coming soon

When staging “The Bridges of Madison County,” it wasn’t necessary for the Community Theatre League to “cross over the bridge,” but only cross the street from its West Third Street home to the nearby Community Arts Center on West Fourth Street.

In conjunction with the Community Arts Center, the Community Theatre League presents the musical “The Bridges of Madison County” at 7:30 p.m. on March 4, 5 and 6, with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 6 at the CAC, 220 West Fourth St., downtown Williamsport.

The original novel was translated into a 1995 movie, starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. For the stage version of “The Bridges of Madison County,” the book of this musical drama is by Marsha Norman, with words and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.

The storyline focuses upon an Italian-American housewife Francesca, living on farm in Madison County, Iowa, in the 1960’s.

While her husband and family are away attending the State Fair, Robert, a rugged photographer for the National Geographic pulls into her driveway looking for directions to the area’s covered bridges. The housewife and the photographer have a brief, discreet, four-day affair, which results “… in a love that last a lifetime.”

CTL’s Executive Director Seth Sponhouse directs this musical production.

“I think that’s which makes it exciting — this great debate over whether she should go or stay. And we see that woman offered the chance after 20 years, to give that stability up and run away, and to live the life that she desperately always wanted,” said Sponhouse. “What ‘Bridges’ does beautifully is that it really leaves the choice up to the audience.”

Sponhouse also notes the versatility of the cast, which represents talented thespians from Williamsport, Sunbury, Jersey Shore, Milton and Harrisburg.

Head the cast are Marisa Sorrentino Hickey as Francesca, and Jake Hare as Robert.

The supporting cast includes: Philip J. Vonada, Seth Confer, Kendall Eichenlaub, Kimberly Fulmer, Chris Dailey, Marisa Sponhouse, and features Megan Fisher and Kara Heim in the ensemble.

Diana Welshans is the show’s music director, noting that with a bit of inventive staging, the socially-distanced “pit” is perched up on the CAC stage, with Kat Shondeck serving as choreographer

Chuck Still, executive director of the Community Arts Center, welcomes CTL into the downtown performing arts venue.

“An empty theater is a sad theater, and a theater company without an audience is a group in search of their soul,” Still said. “At the CAC, we have a ‘barn’ big enough to socially distance an audience for CTL, and they in turn bring some life into the place. I’m looking forward to it.”

Both the Community Theatre League and the Community Arts Center have been rigorously taking precautions to make the show safely presented, and to make sure that the audiences are safe during the production.

For the cast, orchestra, and the audiences, mask wearing — with no exceptions — is mandatory. Tickets are being sold as general admission, so audiences can distance themselves as they enter the theater.

Tickets can be purchased at www.caclive.com or by telephone; 570-326-2424. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating, per applicable COVID-19 restrictions as to occupancy.

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