The Actors Company Theatre (TACT), which has made a name for itself with its high quality dramatic readings of plays, celebrated its success with a 10th Anniversary Gala at the elegant Metropolitan Club (April 14, 2003), an event brimming with the sort of spirit that TACT reflects through its troupe of excellent actors. The purpose of the dinner and entertainment, of course, was a benefit to help finance its continuing work, but the idea was also to have some fun, and that was provided with a very "in" revue presented in the form of what was billed as an "acclaimed five-part PBS(ish) documentary history." Any chance that one might take this as an equivalent of TACT's more serious play readings was disposed of by the title, "Schlepping the Seltzer: The Legacy of TACT."

The seltzer schelpping was duly explained to me. As TACT developed, one of the chores of getting set for each evening required transporting refreshments to the designated location. Hence, in addition to the demands of acting, its performers had to share in "schlepping the seltzer," so to speak. The revue concocted for the occasion was amusingly credited to Gwen Burns, Len Burns, Third Degree Burns & Sten Burns (a cousin from Minnesota) from an original story by Simon Jones, with additional material by Scott Alan Evans.

Members of the troupe indulged in assorted segments that amusingly and fleetingly reflected the organization's history. Simon Jones, Scott Alan Evans and Cynthia Harris, co-artistic directors, participated, with Evans directing and Jones holding forth as pianist and narrator. Jones also set words for TACT's anthem to Sigmund Romberg's "Stout Hearted Men" from "New Moon," an anthem sung along with emboldened friends at the dinner tables. There was more "in" humor than an observer could follow in the revue, but that was part of the point. This was a well earned inside celebration in addition to being a fund raiser.

Other credited performers included Mary Bacon, Nora Chester, Maia Danziger, Cynthia Darlow, Francesca Di Mauro, Richard Ferrone, Delphi Harrington, Larry Keith, Greg McFadden, James Prendergast, Gregory Salata, Scott Schafer, David Staller and Lynn Wright. Further credits: stage manager, Vivian Perez; master electrician, Paul Jones/Wavetek; costumes, David Toser; lighting, Mary Louis Geiger; music, Jonathan Smith.

During the past season, TACT's performance schedule has included readings of Anita Loos's "Happy Birthday," Richard Brinsley Sheridan's "The Rivals," Graham Greene's "The Potting Shed" and Jean Anouilh"s "Eurydice," with "U.S.A." by Paul Shyre and John Dos Passos to come.

Co-artistic directors Evans, Harris and Jones promised in a program note, to friends,"Please be assured that we are committed to building on our ten years of achievement, and providing you with more of the challenging, intriguing, and above all, entertaining fare that we know you like, and which, by happy coincidence, we take such pleasure in performing for you."

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