Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nicholas C. Hillman Resigns As Bucks County, PA Libertarian Party Chair; Brad Cooper Takes The Helm

On March 27, 2013, Nicholas C. Hillman posted the following note to the Libertarian Party of Bucks County Facebook Group:

Due to personal issues, I, Nicholas C. Hillman, LPBC Chair, will be resigning my position, effective 3/28/2013. I will still be active in the LPBC and LPPA. I am sorry for the short notice especially after having a very effective voter registration drive.

Article 3, Section 6 of the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Bucks County sets forth the procedure for filling the vacancy created by Nick Hillman's resignation. That provision states:

If a vacancy in an officership occurs between annual meetings of the membership, the remaining members of the Executive Committee shall, by majority vote, fill that vacancy with an LPBC member who shall serve until the election of a new officer takes place at the Annual Meeting.

The remaining members of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Bucks County were Brad Cooper, First Vice-Chair; Marc Connuck, Second Vice-Chair; and Josh Roth, Secretary. The Executive Committee reluctantly accepted Nicholas C. Hillman's resignation and selected Brad Cooper to serve as County Chair until the next Annual Meeting of the Membership, which will be held sometime during the first quarter of 2014.

Nicholas C. Hillman was elected County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Bucks County at its Organizational Meeting held on December 6, 2012. During his brief term in office, he held a number of successful meetings and voter registration drives, obtained a significant amount of press regarding the activities of the Bucks County Libertarian Party, made plans for the Bucks County LP to host a debate involving candidates seeking party office this year, attended LPPA Board of Directors meetings as the Bucks County LP State Representative, and led a delegation of Bucks County LP members to the LPPA Holiday Party held on December 15, 2012 at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, Pennsylvania.

Brad Cooper, the newly elected County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Bucks County, said:

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Bucks County Libertarian Party. Nicholas Hillman was extremely active in promoting the organization and getting it recognized as a viable political force for liberty. I will do my best to follow in his footsteps. I look forward to working with the other officers and all LPBC members to support the candidacies of those running for elective office this year and to help Dr. Tom Stevens, our dedicated and hardworking LPPA State Chair, continue his efforts to get new County and Regional Committees organized and to increase membership in the state party. Dr. Stevens has been a good friend to the Libertarian Party of Bucks County and we appreciate his advice and support.

Brad Cooper currently attends Middle Bucks Institute of Technology and lives in Newtown Grant, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Manhattan Libertarian Party Formally Invites Dr. Tom Stevens To Re-Join

On March 8, 2013, Janet Hopf, Manhattan Libertarian Party Chair, sent Dr. Tom Stevens an e-mail, the text of which was the following:

The Manhattan LP committee has voted to officially invite you to re-join our chapter. Please share this email with any interested parties I left off the list.

We look forward to seeing you at our regular meetings and to working together toward restoring our rights and defending freedom in New York.

Dr. Tom Stevens first joined the Manhattan Libertarian Party (MLP) on January 10, 2004. At the MLP Annual Convention held that same date, Dr. Stevens was elected the Manhattan Libertarian Party's State Representative to the Libertarian Party of New York with 52.4% of the vote, beating out Craig Milem (33.3%) and Sam Sloan (14.3%). On January 8, 2005, the delegates in attendance at the MLP Annual Convention re-elected Dr. Tom Stevens as the MLP's State Representative, said action that was unanimously re-affirmed by the MLP Executive Committee immediately after the business session. On January 21, 2006, Dr. Stevens declined a nomination for a third term in office and urged the delegates to support Mark Axinn, who was elected to the position. Mark Axinn currently serves as State Chair of the New York Libertarian Party. On Monday, December 11, 2006, Mark Axinn resigned as MLP State Representative and the Executive Committee selected Dr. Tom Stevens to fill out the remainder of his term of office. On January 20, 2007, the delegates in attendance at the MLP Annual Convention again elected Dr. Tom Stevens as MLP State Representative in a contested race against Jak Karako. Dr. Stevens resigned as MLP State Representative on May 14, 2007.

Because of issues and infighting on a statewide level leading up to and after the April 24, 2010 Annual Convention of the New York Libertarian Party (unrelated to the Manhattan Libertarian Party), Dr. Stevens offered to resign his Manhattan Libertarian Party membership, which was accepted on August 16, 2010. Subsequent to that date, many members of the Libertarian Party of Queens County ceased their active involvement in the Manhattan Libertarian Party, stopped attending meetings and either resigned their own memberships in the Manhattan Libertarian Party or did not renew.

Dallwyn Merck, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, says:

An undeclared state of war existed between the Manhattan Libertarian Party and the Queens Libertarian Party over this issue. Dr. Tom Stevens served in leadership positions in the Manhattan LP with distinction during all his years of involvement. To accept his resignation for issues completely unrelated to either of our chapters was a slap in the face to Dr. Stevens. To restore friendly and peaceful relations, the Queens LP demanded both a formal apology and an official invitation to Dr. Tom Stevens to re-join the Manhattan Libertarian Party.

After Janet Hopf, Manhattan Libertarian Party Chair, invited Sam Sloan to rejoin the Manhattan Libertarian Party and accepted an invitation to speak to the Queens Libertarian Party on February 9, 2013, Dr. Stevens told the LPQC Executive Committee that the time was right to re-establish good relations with the Manhattan Libertarian Party. In the interests of peace, Dr. Stevens indicated his willingness to forego a formal apology so long as the Executive Committee of the Manhattan Libertarian Party officially invited him to rejoin. Such a vote took place and Dr. Stevens was notified of the Executive Committee action on March 8, 2013. Many Queens LP members have now indicated they too will rejoin the Manhattan LP.    

On March 9, 2013, Dr. Tom Stevens paid $20.00 in dues to the Manhattan Libertarian Party and formally had his membership restored. His current membership expires on December 31, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Getting To Know Roy Minet, Candidate For LPPA State Chair

Roy Minet – Candidate for LPPA Chair

Announcement of Candidacy 03/09/13
I have been approached by multiple people multiple times suggesting that I should run for state chair.  Since Tom Stevens announced that he will not stand for re-election, such requests have intensified.  I assure you that being chair has just not been on my radar.  Believing that the party needs and can benefit greatly from good marketing, I have felt that area is where I can make the greatest contribution.  The pitch that I hear most often is that I am impartial, not a part of any “faction” and may be the best person to unify our members behind doing the things necessary to become a successful political party.  I have spent a lot of time working for the LPPA (as well as the LP) and I surely do want us to succeed.  So, assuming that the above pitch has some validity, I will run for chair.  I am asking for your support which would be very much appreciated.

Philosophically, I have been a strong libertarian since I was 15 or 16 years old.  I fought for liberty as an idealistic young person before there was a Libertarian Party.  Now I continue that fight primarily for my children and grandchildren.

My college major was pure physics, but my first job was applied physics (engineering) with a large multi-national corporation.  Following that was sales, then marketing management and finally management of a strategic business planning group, all for the same corporation.  Getting into small business, I bought and operated a beer distributorship for 12 years before selling it.  While distributing (or maybe drinking) beer, I founded Intelligent Computer Systems, Inc., which developed comprehensive business software and installed turnkey computer systems for distribution businesses.  After 22 years, ICS was sold to the 3M Corporation.  I am now retired and pursuing a backlog of personal projects.  I also teach economics part time in 11th and 12th grades with the Junior Achievement program.

Recent LPPA Activity
I chair The Marketing Committee and The Media Relations Committee and am a member of The Platform Committee under chair Henry Haller.  The Platform Committee recently posted its proposal for the planks section of our LPPA Platform.  I strongly urge that this proposal be adopted on April 27th.  The Marketing Committee has created “Aids from the Marketing Committee” that can be accessed in the folder of that name on the LPPA_BB Yahoo group.  Several of us on the committee have been working hard to improve the website and convert it to the WordPress framework.  We hope to have the new and improved LPPA.og online in late April.

Three years ago, I chaired a temporary ad hoc strategic planning committee.  I presented the final report at our convention two years ago.  Looking through the PowerPoints and the narrative will convey a pretty good picture of some of my views.  Your attention is especially directed to the recommendations at the end.  (follow link, see attachments: )
Last spring, I attended the LP national convention; collected nominating petition signatures for Governor Johnson and our LPPA statewide candidates; helped validate signatures using the VIDAS tool; and helped file the petitions with 39,000 signatures in Harrisburg.

When Republicans challenged our signatures last August, I volunteered to recruit, schedule and expedite the 84 volunteers who helped us with signature validation.  I helped our marvelous legal team train and supervise the volunteers.  I rehabilitated petitions containing thousands of signatures that the Rs had challenged on technical grounds.  For me, this turned into a full-time, 7-days, 9-week project with two weeks of it living out of Philadelphia area motels; over 4,000 emails and ‘phone calls were handled.  Ultimately, this colossal team effort handed the rotten Republicans a total defeat and serves as a terrific example of what can be accomplished when we actually do work together.

Pledge of Fairness, Impartiality and Transparancy
I pledge that, if elected chair, all LPPA proceedings and business will be scrupulously fair, impartial, businesslike, respectful and transparent.  This has always been my policy in dealings of any kind, LPPA or other.  I hope and fully expect that those who know me will confirm that to be true.  I brought this matter up at the December 1, 2012, board meeting to emphasize the importance of adhering to these obviously important principles.  As can be found in the minutes of that meeting, I introduced the following resolution which passed unanimously: “All LPPA officers and board members are committed to the open and transparent conduct of all LPPA business.  Consequently, all interested LPPA members in good standing are encouraged to join the Yahoo LPPA_BB Board Business group for the purpose of monitoring the board business discussions conducted thereon.  Similarly, interested LPPA members in good standing are welcome to attend scheduled Board of Directors meetings for the purpose of observing the functioning of the board.

Conduct of Campaign
I deplore the personal attacks and in-fighting that occur all too often for reasons I have difficulty understanding (immaturity?).  Such behaviors waste our limited resources (time, energy, patience), serve to divide us when we need to be united and are downright self-destructive.  They also tend to repel new members when we need to attract them.  I have always tried to tamp these things down and have often pointed out that we libertarians frequently are our own worst enemies.  Win or lose, this campaign will not tear down any other libertarian and will not engage in scurrilous allegations or unsubstantiated innuendo.  It will focus on what I would do to build our party going forward.

LPPA Future Direction
It is critically important that we focus our limited resources on replacing crappy politicians with good libertarian citizens.  It’s a mistake to dissipate resources fighting a bunch of issues; if we get good people into office, they will fix the issues.

In order to elect libertarians, we need a successful political party that is based on libertarian principle.  That has to be our goal.  We don’t need a club or a debating society!
Almost the only thing important to the success of a political party is membership.  We don’t just need a 50% or 100% increase in membership.  We need to think in terms of increasing it 10-fold, 20-fold and eventually even more.  Growing disgust with the old parties gives us the best opportunity we have ever had to accomplish that.  Let’s not blow it.

The best way to capture new libertarians is to do a good job of marketing our fundamental principles.  Many people will agree fairly quickly with our principles.  But we need to recognize that it takes some time for most to evolve into accepting the full application of libertarian principle to all issues.  The LPPA needs to be a welcoming incubator for new libertarians where we help them evolve, not deride or reject them for being “imperfect.”
A few more specific things the LPPA can do are:

·         Complete development and optimization of the new website.  This is a key tool.  Test the use of Google AdWords and other technologies to drive new traffic to the site.

·         Instead of just an Eastern Vice Chair and a Western Vice Chair, change our structure to have six regional vice chairs.  A primary duty of a vice chair is to develop and assist county committees.  It’s ridiculous to expect one person to cover 33 counties and half the state.  A sixth of the state and 11 counties would work much better.

·         Set up a few trained speakers dispersed around the state and make an organized effort to book them speaking engagements wherever possible to explain/promote libertarianism.  The Marketing Committee could develop a PowerPoint presentation that speakers can optionally use.

·         Collaborate with the PA Ballot Access Coalition to organize an intelligent lobbying effort to see if the Voters’ Choice Act can be passed this legislative session.

·         Move the annual LPPA convention date earlier (either the third week of March or the weekend nearest the end of November).  Have final nominating petitions ready and volunteers organized to collect signatures at polling places on primary election day.

·         Conduct a study and compile a list of the easiest-to-win local elections and make serious efforts to recruit good libertarian candidates for them.  Offer marketing support to candidates.  Concentrate resources from surrounding areas and possibly the state to help them win.

Marc Connuck Announces Candidacy For LPPA Secretary

Marc Connuck, Chair of the Grassroots Initiative (Local Action) Committee and Second Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Bucks County, announced his candidacy for Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania on March 12, 2013. The election of party officers will take place at the LPPA Annual Convention to be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Days Inn Conference Center in Danville, which is located in Montour County, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Connuck's Statement of Candidacy follows:

"My name is Marc Connuck and I am announcing my candidacy for Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. I believe that I am the best suited candidate for the position. On several occasions, I have served as Acting Secretary for the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and the Libertarian Party of Bucks County. I know what I will be responsible for doing at the Board of Directors meetings. I will devote myself to attending all Board of Directors meetings as long as I
hold the position.

Next, I have shown myself to be a capable and responsible individual in all of the positions I currently hold within and outside of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. I am the Membership Database Manager of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania responsible for keeping the membership lists up to date. I am a member of the Legislative Action Team and the chairman of the Marijuana Legalization Subcommittee through which I have created connections with the Executive Directors of several organizations who support marijuana legalization such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – Philadelphia (NORML – Philadelphia), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and I have made a connection with the Drug Policy Specialist at Citizens Opposing Prohibition. I have also been in talks with private concerned citizens about creating and petitioning the Pennsylvania government. Currently, I am talking with other organizations and creating connections. I also serve as Chairman of the Grassroots Initiative (Local Action) Committee.

Outside of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, I work as an activist through Pennsylvania Farmers for Industrial Hemp. Under their banner, I will be speaking at the NORML Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference on March 16, 2013. I am also working to establish the Youth Caucus of the Libertarian Party. Alongside other libertarians across the country, I am working to write the initial bylaws, platform and statement of principles for the Youth Caucus of the Libertarian Party.

Countless people can attest to my work ethic, responsibility, and dedication to promoting Libertarian values throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Country at large. I have shown myself to be capable and hard-working. As Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, I will do everything in my power to help the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania grow and I will not stop until the job I have set out to do is complete.

If anybody has any questions they would like to ask me, they can reach me at If anybody would like to speak to me, whether by phone or
in person, I would be more than happy to speak with you personally."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Applause! Applause! Review of Xanadu: The Musical at Cultural Arts Playhouse by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Xanadu: The Musical performed at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 3 (2013) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Xanadu: The Musical
Cultural Arts Playhouse (44 Lincoln Avenue, Roslyn Heights, NY)
Reviewed 3/10/13

Xanadu is a musical with a book by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. It is based on the 1980 cult film of the same name, which was inspired by the 1947 Rita Hayworth film Down To Earth, a sequel to the 1941 movie Here Comes Mr. Jordan, which was an adaptation of the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall. Xanadu is the name of the Chinese province where Kubla Khan established his pleasure garden in the poem Kubla Khan, or A Vision In A Dream, A Fragment by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The musical opened on Broadway in 2007 and ran for over 500 performances. It earned an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Best Book. It was also nominated for Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book.

The musical starts with an attempted suicide after Venice Beach chalk artist Sonny Malone, played by David Bryant Johnson, is unhappy with how his sidewalk mural of  the Greek Muses (daughters of Zeus) came out. Just before jumping to his death, Clio, a young perky Muse calling herself Kira, arrives on the scene to give him a reason to live. Quickly inspired, Sonny decides he can convert an auditorium called The Xanadu into a space that can feature live performances, art galleries and "something athletic" such as a roller disco. Kira and some of her muse sisters help decorate The Xanadu while her older sister Melpomene curses her to fall in love with Sonny, which carries the penalty of death. 

Zeus's wives ask him to take pity on Clio and one retells the story of Achilles and his vulnerable heel. All the muses are similarly afflicted so Clio realizes that she, too, is invulnerable, except for her heels, which were protected when she was shot with the arrows of love because she wearing the "mighty legwarmers" making her completely invulnerable. She realized she is truly in love with Sonny, who loves her back. Zeus pardons her and explains what Xanadu is: "True love and the ability to create and share art".

Yes the book is as bad as it sounds and quite a bit worse. The Muses often speak in black Ghetto-talk and Tammy Forward's inconsistent Australian accent in the character of Kira was extremely difficult to listen to. It was never explained why the Muses considered their geographic territory of responsibility to be Los Angeles and Orange County, California or why The Xanadu is like "Children's Theater for 40-year old Gay People". It is also never explained why Clio is considered by Zeus to be more guilty if she was cursed into loving Sonny against her will than she would be if she were truly in love with him, which is strictly forbidden.

Ashley Menard as Melpomene and Jonny Nelson as Thalia were stand-out performers who got my attention every time they appeared on stage. Ms. Menard was perfect as the evil, older, jealous sister and Jonny Nelson had many eclectic roles to play and pulled them all off successfully. It was very hard to believe that Kira/Clio and Sonny Malone were in love. They both appeared to me as immature and incapable of true love. There is no reason offered as to why Clio, after thousands of years, would fall in love with this particular mortal male or why she would give up eternal life to live just one lifetime with him. This is more the fault of how Sonny Malone was portrayed than the fault of Clio. Sonny Malone needed to be played with more sex appeal by David Bryant Johnson. He certainly had the raw materials (good charisma and stage presence) and the voice (I particularly liked his rendition of "Don't Walk Away"). I would re-cast him in the role in a second but he needed to show us why Kira would fall in love with him above all others. Perhaps some roller skating on Venice Beach with his shirt off or some scenes where Kira is drawn into his loving, seductive nature would have fit the bill. Without that, their "love" came across as sterile to me and quite unbelievable.

You will recognize a number of songs in this musical including Magic, Evil Woman, Have You Never Been Mellow and Xanadu. The book for Xanadu: The Musical needs a re-write and can be updated. As it is, it leaves much left to be desired. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stevens Not Seeking Re-Election As LPPA State Chair


I have decided not to seek re-election as State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania at the Annual Convention scheduled to be held on April 27, 2013.

I considered three factors before taking this decision.

The first was whether I deserved a second term based on the accomplishments of the Board and the Party under my leadership. By looking at our solid record of goals achieved and by the number of individuals urging me to run, I concluded that on this count, I should run for a second term.

Richard Winger of Ballot Access News wrote: "Tom Stevens led the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party to the greatest ballot access victory in the state party's history. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party's 2012 ballot access victory was the first time any statewide minor party or independent candidate for statewide office has ever defeated a challenge backed by one of the two major parties."

Roy Minet, John Karr and I were designated "Libertarian Ballot Access Heroes" by LP News for obtaining 18,000 additional signatures after problems were identified with the quality of the signatures obtained during the petition drive, which was considered over when I took office as Chair.

After a 9-week battle, with the help of 84 volunteers, the Gary Johnson Campaign, and the national Libertarian Party, we got Gary Johnson and our statewide candidates on the ballot. Gary Johnson obtained the highest vote total of any Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate in the history of the party. Rayburn Douglas Smith (LP Candidate for United States Senate), Betsy Summers (LP Candidate for Auditor General), Marakay Rogers (LP Candidate for Attorney General) and Patti Fryman (LP Candidate for Treasurer) all ran extraordinary campaigns and each received a significant number of votes over what Gary Johnson and Judge Gray got. As a result of all our efforts, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania once again qualified for "Minor Party" status so people can again register "Libertarian".

We won a series of lawsuits with decisions that will make obtaining ballot access easier in the years to come. Membership was up 87.8% from the April, 2012 Annual Convention through the end of 2012 and new LPPA County and Regional LP Chapters were formed in Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Monroe County, Lehigh County, Schuylkill County, Carbon County, Franklin County, Adams County, Montour County and Columbia County. Facebook Groups were also formed for at least 14 additional counties in the process of forming County Committees.

Our new website will be up by the Annual Convention and more federal lawsuits are in the works to make ballot access easier. Communication avenues were re-established, moderation was applied, hundreds of party members now observe party business on a regular basis and all our Standing and Working Committees are fully staffed and working on real issues every day. A new Life Membership was established and donations to the party are up in every category. The many other goals we achieved have been posted elsewhere.

The second factor I considered was whether as a practical matter, I could win re-election. I concluded this would not be a problem. The announced candidate for State Chair did not support Gary Johnson because he did not believe Gary Johnson was libertarian enough. In addition, he did not obtain a single signature for either Gary Johnson or the LPPA's Statewide Candidates and did not volunteer a single hour to help defend our petitions against the GOP challenge but he had no problem in actively working for Ron Paul in the GOP primary. While four of the statewide candidates running against the incumbents are all active in Montgomery County, the statewide slate of candidates running for re-election come from a broad geographic region. Not one person has urged me not to run. To the contrary, I have been receiving offers of support from individuals who, despite illness and advanced age, were willing to make the trip to the Annual Convention to support me for re-election.

The third factor I considered was whether I wish to serve another term given the anticipated continuation of the politics of personal destruction, threats to my personal well-being and harassment taking place every day. My only goal has been to build the party in numbers and strength and I am finding my ability to continue to do that has been undermined by the efforts of those who oppose a strong Libertarian Party as a threat to liberty, who don't believe in running candidates with the goal of winning elections, who exhibit their prejudices against those peacefully living in lifestyles of their choice, who are contacting new members and dragging them into the manufactured "infighting" so they lose interest in being active, and who would rather support Ron Paul and a "Vote for Nobody" campaign than support Gary Johnson and those statewide Libertarian Party candidates nominated by LPPA delegates in convention.

Given these circumstances, I feel that continuing to build the party to only see it torn down by radical anarchists and Toxic Libertarians is not the best use of my time and effort. Still, I will continue to help the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania in any way I can and I will always be friends with the scores of people who have worked hard to make this year a success.

In Liberty,

Dr. Tom Stevens
LPPA State Chair

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Applause! Applause! Review of Carrie: The Musical at Cultural Arts Playhouse by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Carrie: The Musical performed at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 3 (2013) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Carrie: The Musical
Cultural Arts Playhouse (625 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY)
Reviewed 3/1/13

Carrie: The Musical is adapted from Stephen King's novel Carrie. The book is by Lawrence D. Cohen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Michael Gore. It focuses on a shy, socially awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers who suffers bullying by her social peers as well as by her religiously fanatic mother. The show opened on Broadway in 1988 at the Virginia Theatre but closed after only 16 previews and 5 performances. In 2012, there was an Off-Broadway revival of Carrie: The Musical with a revised score and book that opened at the Lucille Lortel Theatre by MCC Theater. It closed after 34 previews and 46 performances. This Regional Premiere of Carrie: The Musical at Cultural Arts Playhouse was directed by Tony Frangipane. 

This production of Carrie: The Musical is dominated by the extraordinary performances of five very talented women. Ashley Nicastro, who plays Carrie White, does a masterful job of portraying the internal struggles of a shy teenager struggling to break free of the guilt instilled in her by her ignorant, fundamentalist, religious mother. Ariann Miller Forella puts in a powerful performance as Carrie's mother, Margaret White, who turned to religion after her daughter's father abandoned her, who believes a woman's period is a curse, and who can rationalize killing her daughter as a biblical duty. Alyssa Caracciolo plays Chris Hargensen, the bitch from Hell who triggers the massacre at the Prom by arranging for pig blood to be spilt over Carrie after she is elected Prom Queen. Ms. Caracciolo never waivers out of character as a selfish, vicious spoiled brat who can date anyone she wishes but who chooses a bad boy to anger her father.  Alyson Rogers exhibits the complex nature of Sue Snell, who regrets making fun of Carrie White and tries to make things right by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to the prom. Ms. Rogers is attractive and charismatic as the student with a conscience. Finally, Taneisha Corbin is believable as Miss Gardner, a gym teacher, who tries to befriend Carrie and to stop students from taunting and picking on her.

The two men who stood out for me in this cast were Nick Mannino, who played the good-hearted and well-intentioned Tommy Ross and Michael Marmann, who played George Dawson, a student with homosexual inclinations and a definite crush on Tommy (the photo at the prom clinched it for me). Mr. Mannino handles the multi-faceted role of Tommy Ross with precision. Tommy is part of the "in" crowd, but at the same time, he is a sensitive guy (a jock who secretly aspires to be a writer) who treats his girlfriend, Sue Snell, with respect and shows compassion when dealing with Carrie. Michael Marmann as George Dawson does not have a major role in this production but he does successfully portray a High School student who, given the chance, would be open to having an intimate relationship with a man. Given Mr. Marmann's extremely attractive hairy legs, I suspect he could keep anyone warm under the sheets on a cold winter's night. Michael Marmann is very talented and always a pleasure to see in any production.

I highly recommend you see Carrie: The Musical at Cultural Arts Playhouse. It is a rare find and an enjoyable night at the theater. It is a musical with an important message about the psychological harm caused by bullying. Sticks and stones may break your bones but your bones will one day heal. Emotional scars can last a lifetime and after repeated bullying, the reaction may one day be rage.