NEPA Theatrical Alliance to Live Stream Annual Awards Program

neptaThe Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance will host its 23rd Awards for the 2019 year on June 7. The NEPTA Annual Awards is usually held as an elegant dress-up event in the spring which highlights and honors the best of the best in Community Theater of Northeast Pennsylvania of the previous year. 

The categories mirror those of the Tony Awards, including best actor and actress in a comedy, drama and musical. Other awards include: supporting actors, child actors, directors, technical work and, of course, awards for best comedy, best drama, and best musical.

NEPTA member organizations include: Actors Circle, Actors Guild of Schuylkill County, Center Stage, Diva Productions, DM Performance Works, Endless Mountains Theatre Company, Gaslight Theatre, Little Theatre of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania Theater of Performing Arts, Theatrical Gems, Music Box Theatre, and Worthington Players at Shawnee.

This year, due to all the issues with the Coronavirus, the event will be streamed LIVE to the Facebook page of Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatrical Alliance and on NEPTA’S YouTube Channel on Sunday, June 7 beginning at 7pm.

Award recipients will be announced live and nominees will be there to accept, just like at the regular awards show! Trophies will be given to the recipients as soon as possible once businesses reopen.

The broadcast will be available to view publicly, with no ticket purchase required. Donations in lieu of the ticket price is gladly accepted and will help to help cover the cost of awards. Any extra donations will go toward the NEPTA Scholarship Fund, for a graduating senior pursuing the performing arts or technical theater in college. A link to donate will also be available.


Artist of the Month: Maria Ragnacci

artist Maria Ragnacci

Maria Ragnacci is shown with two of her paintings, “Turquoise and Velvet,” a fascinating use of color and light, and “The Red Fence,” a painting of her back yard.

Maria Ragnacci has certainly progressed from her first attempt at painting: “My very first experience with painting was a “paint by numbers” kit, a gift from my mother when I was 18,” she says.

I was hooked!  I loved working with paint and canvas, but I decided that I didn’t want to ‘stay in the line.s’  I love the freedom to do my own thing and paint what I see,” Maria explains.

Most of Maria’s paintings are from pictures in magazines, photos that she has taken, and her  own originals.  She recently completed portraits of her five grandchildren.

“Turquoise and Velvet,” pictured here, fascinated her by its use of color and light. “The Red Fence” is a painting of her back yard.

 “With help and guidance from our teacher, Jill Swersie, I feel that I have greatly improved and accomplished more than I could ever have imagined,” Maria explains. “ The class at the Dunmore Activity Hub is more than just a place a place to paint.  The encouragement, camaraderie and friendship of fellow painters makes us likea family.”

 ‘There are many other programs and activities for people to take advantage of that are equally enriching.  The Dunmore Activity Hub, under the direction of Allison Boga, is truly one of Dunmore’s “Gems!” Maria points out.

Note: At press time, The Dunmorean did not have a projected date for the re-opening of the Dunmore Activity Hub.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: COVID Cooking

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Coping during this time of “quarantine” has not been easy.  Being a social person, I used to spend hours grocery shopping, looking around, searching for new items and new ideas, talking to friends, acquaintances,  parents of former students, and even former students who are now adults with their own families.  I so miss my grocery shopping trips that are now limited to twice per month.

My trips are now comprised of the following steps: Get in store, get what you need, no looking around, don’t bump into the robot patrolling the aisles at Giant, follow the arrows,  don’t shop for more items than allowed (limit 1 or 2), check out quickly, load up and head home.  Actually, I’ve shopped at all the local grocery stores to experience the “new way” of shopping.  It’s actually taken the pleasure out of the trips for me.  

So, how have you been coping during this time? What do you miss the most? Besides “normal” grocery shopping, I miss meeting my friends for lunch.  Retired teachers love meeting for lunch.  

Coping for me started with trying to sew masks for us when everyone was sold out.  That didn’t work out very well considering the fact that when I was in high school and college, I made my own clothes.  I’ve evidently lost that skill.    Fortunately, I was able to purchase some masks when CVS got its new shipment.   So now I’ve graduated to doing my needlework and latch-hooking rugs.   However,  most of my time is spent cooking (no surprise), but now it’s “Covid Cooking”, using items you have in your pantry and freezer…no running out for items.  

So this month I’m sharing my “Covid Cooking” dishes:  

Grilled Rib Eyes with Beer and Brown Sugar Marinade:

2 Rib Eye steaks
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprinkle garlic powder
Sprinkle cayenne pepper

Mix together brown  sugar, beer and teriyaki sauce in plastic storage bag.  Add steak and marinate overnight in refrigerator.  When ready to cook, remove from marinade and rub steaks with a mixture of seasonings.  Broil until desired doneness.  Heat leftover marinade on  stove to boiling and simmer while steaks broil.  Baste tops of steaks with marinade before serving.  


Slow Cooker Brisket:

1-3 lb. beef brisket
1 -12 oz. bottle chili sauce
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
2 tsp. garlic powder

Place brisket in slow cooker.  In medium bowl, mix together the chili sauce, onion soup mix and garlic powder.  Pour over brisket.  Cover, and cook on Low for 8-10 hours.  Slice brisket against the grain and pour gravy over slices.  Note:  You can also place this in baking  dish , pour over ingredients, wrap tightly with foil, and bake in 325 oven for 3 1/2 hours.


Honey Garlic Pork Chops:

6-1″ thick pork chops
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine ketchup, soy sauce and garlic.  Broil pork chops.  During the last few minutes, pour sauce over and baste.  Continue cooking until sauce and chops are cooked through.


Banana Creme Pie:

1 pie crust, baked
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/3 cups whole milk
4  eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. butter
3 large bananas
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

In small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk.  Whisk over medium heat until hot and bubbly.  Let boil 1 minute and remove from heat.  Whisk 1/2 cup of hot mixture into eggs a spoonful at a time until incorporated.  Pour egg mixture back into pot and whisk.  Bring to low boil and let cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.   Transfer to large bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on top of filling. Refrigerate 30-45 minutes.  Spread thin layer of the custard into prepared, cooled pie crust.  Add sliced bananas and remaining custard.  Spread with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 3 hours.


Blueberry Cobbler:

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 cup baking mix (Bisquick)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. melted butter.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla.  Place blueberries in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Pour sugar mixture over berries.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until bubbly.  Combine baking mix, milk and melted butter.  Drop by tablespoonfuls over hot berries, increase oven to 425 degrees, and bake for 15 minutes or until topping is lightly browned like biscuits.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.


When you don’t have any cake mixes in the house, this is perfect and it’s only 8×8″:

Perfect Chocolate Cake:

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup  milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water or coffee

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 8×8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper and spray sides and bottom.  Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl.  Add in egg, milk, oil and vanilla and mix on low until fully incorporated.  When mixed in, increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. 

Add in warm water or coffee and gently stir.  Batter will be thin.  Pour batter into prepared baking dish.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then continue cooling on a rack until room temperature.

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In medium microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips in microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each heating until fully melted. 

Add sour cream and vanilla and stir by hand until frosting is well combined and fluffy. Spread over cooled cake.