"Picnic" at Olympic Heights Theatre

Olympic Heights Theatre's fall play "Picnic." The high school production runs October 26-28. Tickets are $12. Call the box office at 561-852-6680. (October 18, 2012)

I am not a theater snob.

I don't just stick to the spectacular and splashy Broadway road tours or the handsomely-mounted local professional productions. There is something spunky and visceral to be enjoyed at amateur community theater and even high school shows.

But don't listen to me, read what the experts have to say:

THE QUALITY


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"The quality varies. You're working with people who have never been onstage before...or maybe one woman, like I am now, who has been doing this for 40 years. Community theater is always a roller coaster. We don't pay so we're at the mercy of people who really want to act. This is their moment to be a movie star or a Broadway star. With Equity [houses] you see people in shows not because they love it but because they have to be in a certain amount of professional shows in order to keep their Equity insurance. They're just marking their parts. You never see that in community theater. It's always opening night in community theater." - Ralph Del Lago, artistic director of Delray Beach Playhouse which has "A Talent for Murder" running through October 21.

"We use local actors at our theater all the time. We have people who started here and now they are Equity people and they do some wonderful work all around Florida. We have the children's drama school. But you know the Kings Point Culture Club, they go to all the big theater here, and they tell me that 'The Producers' that we did last year was one of the best shows they've ever seen." - Bill Schmookler, general manager/producer of the Tamarac Theatre of the Performing Arts, which has "The Pajama Game" playing through November 4.

THE PROMOTION

"We've millions of people who live in Delray Beach who have never heard of Delray Beach Playhouse...and advertising is just not in our budget. When 'Hairspray' comes in town you hear about it." - Ralph Del Lago, artistic director of Delray Beach Playhouse.

"I am very limited in that a lot of people may not know we're around here. The people who do come, come back and become our subscribers. They're very, very happy. The Chamber of Commerce came here last night to see our preview. We're the local theater for them. They call us the local gem." - Bill Schmookler, general manager/producer of the Tamarac Theatre of the Performing Arts.

THE BENEFIT

"[Being in 'The King and I'] confirms that this is the area that I want to be in. I've been exposed to directors that have worked on Broadway. I have never been so prepared in a role. [At Lake Worth Playhouse] I prepare for one whole month. Being in my role is second nature now. I can focus on my character instead of worrying about memorizing everything." - Bruno Vida, Lun That in "The King and I" at Lake Worth Playhouse through October 21.

"It's really important to support local art, especially in the education format. If you don't support them now, there won't be anywhere to go later." - Kimberly Polewski, theater teacher at Olympic Heights Community High School, which has "Picnic" running October 26-28.