The Orangeburg Part-Time Players originated with one young man’s dream to be in the theater. Joel Mason returned home to Orangeburg from a stint in the Navy with a plan to produce, direct and act in the play God’s Favorite. He gathered together a group of interested people from the area to mount the show. God’s Favorite opened on August 28, 1981, and ran for two nights. The cast of that play became the charter members of the Orangeburg Part-Time Players: Joel Mason, Fred Boatwright, Randy Houck, Norma Swinney, Kathryn Smith, Babette Alderman, John Haig, Lillian Goldberg, Leo Smith, Jeffrey Weaver, Jon Coats, Gloria John, Sandra Lorick and Angel Hill.
When the show closed, Joel enrolled in USC to study theater, and – led by Jeffrey Weaver – the individuals who worked on that first production went on to organize the Orangeburg Part-Time Players. The name was taken from a mime troupe that Joel and two other students started in high school — the Part-Time Players Mime Troupe. The first officers of the Orangeburg Part-Time Players were Jeffrey P. Weaver, President; Fred H. Boatwright, Treasurer; and Kathryn Smith, Business Manager.
In December 1981, the OPTP’s second production began the tradition of involving children in productions. In May 1983, the OPTP produced My Fair Lady, its first musical. The group has gone on to produce many musicals, including such famous shows as Hello, Dolly!, Peter Pan, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar!
Since that first show in 1981, the OPTP has staged more than 150 shows, and the Junior Orangeburg Part-Time Players has produced some 50 shows. In addition, the OPTP has performed for numerous groups and organizations at luncheons, meetings, banquets and school functions.
The OPTP has been a pillar in this community for 39 years. They have also helped other neophyte arts organizations get started, such as the Orangeburg Civic Ballet by jointly producing Nutcracker: The Musical for seven years before the OCB was in a position to perform the ballet on its own. It is our hope that we can continue to bring quality entertainment to the Orangeburg community for many more years to come.
However, none of this would be possible without the generous support we have received from individuals and businesses throughout the years. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of entertaining you!