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About Us

Our History

In 1998, Walter A. Webster and a group of ten dedicated supporters of the arts set out to form a
community theatre. With support from the Trinity United Methodist church, located on Fayette
Street, just off of Broad Street in Bridgeton, New Jersey, The Off Broad Street Players were
born. During the first two years, OBSP auditioned, rehearsed, and performed at the church.
Some of the highlights from those years include, “The Sound of Music,” “Nunsense,” and
“Nunsense II.” The spirit of fellowship was strong and the group bonded and grew. The summer
of 1999 brought the addition of a Theatre in the Park production which continued several years
thereafter.

By 2000, OBSP had found a new venue for our performances, the banquet hall at the Seabrook
Volunteer Fire Company in Upper Deerfield, New Jersey. For five years we amused audiences
with hilarious comedies, touched hearts and souls with insightful dramas, and delighted both ears
and toes with musicals at this location. During this time in Seabrook, many of the plays were
presented as a Dinner Theatre. Many remember these popular plays and musicals, “Fiddler on
the Roof,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Crazy for You,” “On Golden Pond,” “Mousetrap,” and “My Fair
Lady,” to mention a few. Audiences still talk about our wildly popular production of “The King
and I.”

In the summer of 2002 due to a need for increased seating, we moved our summer musicals
from Seabrook to larger venue. The first of these was “State Fair,” held at the Frank Guaracini
Fine and Performing Arts Center at Cumberland County College in Vineland, New Jersey. We
continued with our other performances in Seabrook; and as always the Trinity United Methodist
church in Bridgeton served as our audition and rehearsal space. That summer also brought
the formation of our summer theater camp for children, New Voices of the American Musical
Theatre.

OBSP continued to grow and met the next milestone in 2003 with welcoming arms, the addition
of a full professional orchestra to accompany our musicals. This addition created the need for
an orchestra pit and the summer venue moved to Cumberland Regional High School in Upper
Deerfield, New Jersey, to accommodate this expansion. The summer show that year, “The Music
Man” was successful beyond our dreams. Critically acclaimed “Gypsy” was the highlight of the
2004 summer
. We continued to use live musicians, even for the musical shows still performed
in the Seabrook banquet hall; “Annie,” “Cabaret,” and the third installment of the series,
“Nuncrackers.” We wowed audiences with our incredible dramas: “The Diary of Anne Frank,”
and “A Raisin in the Sun,” but it was becoming obvious that a larger home was needed, both for
our wonderful sounding, well-received pit orchestras and our increasingly elaborate and detailed
stage sets.

The group had always dreamed of one day having their own theater building and during that time
period the dream remained; but the desire to provide an affordable, quality theatre experience to
the community was and still is our ultimate goal. Consequently, our dreams of having a building
of our own simmered for the next few years and grew slowly as we worked to achieve our
mission of theatrical professionalism and excellence.

In 2005, OBSP formed a partnership with the Bridgeton School District, and the Robert
L. Sharp Auditorium became our new performance venue, opening with “Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Due to renovations in the auditorium, the summer show
that year, “Anything Goes” remained at CRHS. That year also saw the first recipients of the
OBSP Scholarship which was renamed the Matthew J. Mixner Scholarship in memory of the
inspirational young member of OBSP, tragically lost during the fall production of Mame.

In the spring of 2008, OBSP joined forces with the Levoy Preservation Society to renovate the
historic Levoy Theatre in Millville, New Jersey. With this renovation completed, OBSP has
become the resident theatre company of the Levoy Theatre. After fifteen years of moving from
venue to venue, OBSP has finally realized their dream of having a permanent home. What a
glorious and exciting opening night it was, when OBSP raised their first curtain on the 100 year
old Vaudevillian stage!

Over time, OBSP membership has grown from the original ten in 1998 to include over one
hundred from not only Cumberland County, but from Salem, Gloucester, Atlantic, and Cape
May counties in New Jersey, as well as members from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Throughout this time of growth and expansion, improvements have been made behind the
scenes in sound and lighting, set design and costuming. The venues have changed, but the
talented acting, the directorial excellence, and the unique family atmosphere that has made the
organization so successful has remained constant. Based on the achievements made in the last
fifteen years, one can only imagine what the next fifteen years will bring!