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New Tamaqua theater group debuts Friday

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    The Center Stage Theater group will present “A Christmas Carol” this weekend as part of the Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas Festival. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a matinee at 3 p.m. on Sunday, at the Taamqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine St., Tamaqua. The group is under the direction of Marissa Miller and Lauren Merola. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published November 29. 2018 01:20PM

The Stitch Performing Arts Hall at the Tamaqua Community Art Center has undergone a few changes, including welcoming a new theater group, “Center Stage Productions.”

The changes don’t mean a total change though, as many of the theater group members have been part of past productions.

The group’s producers/directors are Marissa Miller and Lauren Merola, veterans of past productions in Tamaqua, who jumped at the opportunity to broaden their theater horizons when the previous Tamaqua theater group disbanded.

Miller is originally from Jim Thorpe and now lives in Parryville. She graduated from Marywood University with dual majors in English and psychology. “I’ve always been an actress and worked several shows with Lauren (Merola). We work well together and have similar thoughts, so working together to keep the theater group going seemed natural,” she says.

Her goal is to “make the Tamaqua theater group organized and professional in a community setting, as much as possible.”

As for the new hat she’s wearing, “Directing is a lot less about recognition than acting. It’s interesting to look at a production from both sides. Being a director gives me a unique perspective and while make me a better actor.”

Merola lives in Sugarloaf and has been doing community theater for about 11 years. She attends East Stroudsburg University, majoring in history education. She auditioned for a part in a production at the Tamaqua arts center five years ago and has been active here ever since. When the center advertised for a new director, she was intrigued at the thought. She spoke with Miller and the two decided to offer a two for one deal.

“Directing is a lot of work, but I’m enjoying the broader view it gives me. You have to look at every aspect of a production, rather than just focusing on one character,” says Merola. Her ultimate goal is to teach and mentor a drama club.

The directing partners’ debut production will be “A Christmas Carol” based on the Charles Dickens novel. Three performances are scheduled as part of the annual Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas festival at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a matinee at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

All performances will be held at “The Stitch,” located on the second floor of the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine St., Tamaqua.

For more information, call 570-668-1192 or visit online at

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