Delaware Today magazine Arts & Entertainment Feature: Community theater, The Chapel Street Players in Newark

Get Thee to the Chapel

The Chapel Street Players, in its 77th season, is Newark’s community theater. The company began as the University of Delaware theater group and served as an artistic outlet for staff and faculty. By the late 1960s, Chapel Street moved to its present location in a converted church. It’s seen a few renovations over the years, and has become a beloved 175-seat respite for folks in Newark and beyond.

Helping run the theater as programming chair is Judy David, who admits to having played a “full-on diva” in Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever.” By day she is a custodial manager at UD. By night she trips the light fantastic.

To remember her lines for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” by Tennessee Williams, David produced cheat sheets on the back of the scenery. She howled when she found her co-star doing the same thing.

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“Frankly,” she says, “there’s nothing glamorous about being at work, ankle-deep in a flood when a pipe breaks. Playing Amanda in ‘The Glass Menagerie?’ That has plenty of glamour.”

The applause drives people to devote time and energy to local theater. David loves the friendships and kudos. Then again, her day gig comes in handy—like the time her fellow thespian spilled paint on the new lobby carpet. “The actors screamed and panicked,” she says. “But I knew exactly what to do.”


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