A Natural Agilist Proves the Value of Theater

By Brian Lucas

Josh Neth is the exceptionally talented artistic director of the Allentown Public Theatre.  Josh is marvelously outspoken and passionate about the Theater.  He is a remarkably eloquent and intelligent person and to converse with him is a true pleasure.  His mind has many dimensions from arts to philosophy to psychology to business.  To round it all off; he is quite an accomplished stage actor.  I recently had the opportunity of watching him play the lead in the Pennsylvania Playhouse’s production of Sondheim’s – Company.  I must plead guilty to being a fairly stringent critic of Community Theater.  However, watching Josh perform, I almost forgot I was sitting in a small auditorium. Instead, I could imagine I had front row seats on Broadway.  Josh is fortunate to be joined in life and theatrical endeavors by his quintessentially pixyish and appealing wife Cheryl.  She is an uncommonly expressive actress and a wonderfully animated singer of her own merit.  I will not say much more about Josh because he would be the first to say that this is not about him; it is about the Theater.  Josh states that the Theater is an essential part of our public conscience as well as entertainment.  After listening to him in the interview, I agree.  So I am asking all my readers to make a donation to the Allentown Public Theatre.  I also encourage those in a position to underwrite a performance or help the Allentown Public Theater find and finance a permanent home; to contact Josh Neth or Troy Brokenshire directly.  Your generosity will go towards something that makes a significant difference in so many lives and elevates us all.

Lucas: You did not have any formal training in agile. In fact, you were quite surprised and a little reluctant about the interview.

Neth: No I did not.  To be honest, when I read your other interviews and saw the predominance of business professionals, I became apprehensive about whether I was the right person.  I noted though, an interview with someone who arranges Mangia dinners as a hobby.  If agile means operating with minimal resources, than we in the Allentown Public Theatre are exceptionally agile.  Local Theater, by nature, is not a large profit or money making proposition; regardless of how much benefit and traffic it can drive to a downtown community. In the Theater world, being agile is a matter of survival.

Lucas: Whole hearted commitment to something is what drives agile. Why are you committed to the Theater? It certainly cannot be for the money!

Neth: That is an intriguing connection about commitment and agility.  I never seriously thought about it, but if you have a deep desire, you will eventually find a way to fulfill it.  Heaven knows I am not in Theater for the money!  There are two reasons I do what I do.  The first is that I have to do this.  It is a truly basic drive for me, and I am miserable if I do not.  I am immensely thankful that my fabulous wife is in the same profession and that we can share the experience and support each other.  She is a true treasure and the first love of my life.  Even Theater comes second.  I guess I have to thank my grandfather for my performing talent.  He was a magnificent musician who performed in speakeasies during the great depression. Very early on, when I was three perhaps, he thrust a guitar in my hands and taught me how to play. When my family began clapping, I was hooked. The second is that this is how I affect the world around me. This is the medium given to me to interact with my community and even in the larger scope of the world in which I live.  I honestly believe; however, it is not all about me.  Theater is beyond me and my own limited needs.  It is the venue from time immemorial, where relevant and often controversial subjects were brought to the public forum and generated discussion.  From the time of ancient Greek Theater in the 200 years following Thespis[1], Theater was the cornerstone of emerging social, moral and political change.  Without Theater, some sociologists speculate, we could have found ourselves in a totalitarian world.  Theater in some form probably preceded written language as we can see in prehistoric rock art in northern Scandinavia[2].

Lucas: That is quite a profound postulation that Theater preceded written language.  Is Theater only about making a statement or airing a subject that needs to be brought to the public conscious?

Neth: No! Of course not, there is validity in entertainment.  We do things in the Theater world that is pure entertainment.  That in itself is a vital societal function.  The personal experience of watching a play or a musical has a richness of involvement that television or other mediums cannot hope to achieve.  It is why people go to see sports teams in stadiums; even though they would get a better viewing experience from their living room.  In the Theater, you absorb your surrounding environment, the audience reaction, and the fact that you are seeing something unique.  No matter how many times you see a live performance, it will always be a little different.  Emotion also comes through in a live performance, far more than any electronic medium.  The audience experiences the energy, the highs, the lows and the triumph personally.  My overall point is; given the opportunity to have the public’s ear; it becomes a responsibility to blend with entertainment a communication of subjects that demand a greater public awareness.

Lucas: One of the most prominent aspects of successfully being agile is a specific clear vision[3].  The Allentown Public Theatre certainly has one.  When did you develop this vision?

Neth: I have a distinct recollection of being a freshman in college and my school decided to do the musical “Grease[4]”.  I remember saying to a professor; we should be learning something more significant.  Authors like Eugene O’Neill[5], exposed American vernacular for the first time.  He dramatically portrayed characters on the fringes of society, struggling to maintain hope.  That is relevant to many people today.  I wish we had done “Ah, Wilderness![6]” instead of “Grease”.  We would be doing lighter subjects as soon as we graduated by necessity, in order to pay the rent.  We should have been studying more serious performing arts subjects.  It was at that point, I had an epiphany!  I knew I did not want to be just an entertainer.  I needed to explore serious and weighty subjects in the public domain.  That was the birth of my vision!

Lucas: In agile, team effort is essential.  Why do others want to be on your team?

Neth: That is a very good question, because Theater is all about teamwork?  Even a one-man-show is not just one person. There are all the people that make the production possible and market the performance to attract an audience.  Without the audience, the best performance is only a voice crying in the wilderness.  To get back to your question, what I offer is a chance for people to be a part of something greater that themselves.  I provide a stage, if I may use that word, for them to do something that they genuinely love and feel is vital.  It is fundamentally self-actualization[7].  The Allentown Public Theatre is also different from Community Theater, in that we are a profession troop.  We pay actors enabling them to make a living doing what they love best.  Everyone else unselfishly volunteers their time in a thousand different ways to make Allentown Public Theatre productions happen and keep us alive.  I am immensely grateful to our volunteers.

Lucas: You mentioned self-actualization.  That is one of the reasons so many executives are leaving the Fortune 500 world and becoming entrepreneurs or freelancing[8].  It seems that some of the dynamics of Theater are not so different from the business world.

Neth: People are people!  We have gone through a generation where the emphasis was on accumulating wealth and consuming goods, getting the largest house, the most expensive car, etc.  It failed to make most people happy.  I watched my father work extremely hard at a job he did not love.  He achieved financial success, but he did it at the expense of a lifetime of effort about something he was not passionate.  Today more and more people inside and out of the business community are pursuing their dreams; doing something in which they can believe that they are good at.

Lucas: Why the emphasis on paid actors?

Neth: I was looking for craftsmen capable of taking a performance to a different level than a hobbyist.  You need that level of ability in performing serious works.  I also wanted to bring professional actors into the downtown community where they would help revitalize the city by their sheer presence.  Actors living downtown, consuming goods and services downtown and in general hanging out in the neighborhood are an attraction.  They not only generate commerce directly, but promote a more positive view of the city by both city and suburban residents.  This encourages people to come into the city and spend both time and money.

Lucas: Agile is also about growth.  Is there any element of growth in what the Allentown Public Theatre does?

Neth: Absolutely, we are an incubator of talent.  Good performers do not grow on trees!  They learn and develop by continued and steadied experience and coaching.  With a professional troop, we start with actors and actresses that have already committed themselves to the Theater.  We in turn, provide the venue for them to grow.  The Allentown Public Theatre predominately uses younger performers for this exact reason.  They have growth potential.  It is also a matter of economics right now.  We can only afford to pay younger performers.

Lucas: Getting back to the subject of business similarities for a moment, do you see other commonalities in what is going on in business today and what you are trying to do in the Theater?

Neth: Yes I do.  You have said there is a new business revolution going on in America.  We are returning to our entrepreneurial roots.  I agree!  One aspect I would like to mention is a return to an emphasis of quality.  When colonial entrepreneurs started a business like furniture manufacturing they did not say to themselves, how can we make the most furniture as cheaply as possible and maximize profits?  They had pride in what they were doing. They wanted to make the best furniture possible.  Today workers are leaving companies because they are making a product or providing a service in which they do not believe.  Whether through a lack of focus or vision or simply having too much administrative management; the need for fulfillment is not being met for these people.  So they start out on their own to make the best possible product and give the customer personal attention.  That is resonating with the public.  That is what the Allentown Public Theatre is all about.  I find it exceptionally inspiring that there are CEOs giving up high paying jobs because they want to make something better.  It gives me hope that business as usual is no longer as powerful an influence.

Lucas: Is the Allentown Public Theatre looking for a home?

Neth:  Yes we have reached the point where we unquestionably need a permanent home.  We require a building that is first of all safe and up to the standard codes.  There are a lot of buildings in downtown Allentown that we would love to occupy, but we cannot afford to bring them up to code.  How exciting it would be, if the city or the Allentown Economic Development Co. or a consortium of businesses could help us get one of these buildings and renovate it for our needs.  We need something that can hold at least 100 people.  It must have an open area for seating and a high ceiling.  From a development perspective, it is beneficial for us to be on the open Hamilton Street corridor around 7th.  We have an eye on a space, but we need to have some architect drawings made up and we would need this done on a pro bono basis.  A permanent home is essential for our audience base and helping us grow it.  Heretofore they had to follow us all over town, wherever we could get a venue.

Lucas: Where does the Allentown Public Theatre need to be in 5 years?

Neth: It is vital the Allentown Public Theater become a self-sustaining concern.  Obviously the Artistic Director position should not be a volunteer one.  The Allentown Public Theatre needs a full company of actors, committed to multiple seasons, living downtown and becoming a part of the community.  We are already donating our time, going out into the community, doing outreach programs and working with schools to promote various programs for students.

Lucas: You mention arts community often.  It is a powerful part of your vision to build not just Theater, but a general sociological stratum of people in all aspects of the arts being a part of the downtown scene.  Has the Allentown Public Theatre received much help from the Allentown government or the Allentown Economic Development Co?

Neth: The Allentown Economic Development Co. has generously given us a discount for our office and storage space at the Bridgeworks complex, but we need more help.  I am committed to Allentown, but it has been a difficult challenge to maintain that loyalty to the city that gives us our name.  The Allentown Public’s Theatre’s first mission is to do Theater.  I have to be honest, if a patron of the arts or an arts council or government like Bethlehem or Easton, interested in encouraging arts to revitalize a downtown section, offered us a building, I would seriously consider moving.  How could I possibly say no?  Allentown has a symphony, a good art museum and the noted Baum School of Arts.  At this point, they are an institution.  What is missing from Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley for that matter, is a strong, professional, public Theater driven by local talent.

Lucas: That must be frustrating.  You have accomplished much with hard work and volunteerism, but you have no full time administration or location.  Funding and management activities are all done on less than a shoestring.  Without more support from the government, councils or private patrons, how does the Allentown Public Theatre survive?

Neth: Yes it is frustrating.  I wish everyone could hear our voice, understand what we offer not only Allentown, but the entire Greater Lehigh Valley Area[9] and help us out anyway they can.  Ultimately helping us would further the goals of governments and councils as well as filling a real public need.  We will survive, however, by working harder to reach out to those who believe in the importance of Theater as one of the focal points of a downtown community and a powerful vehicle for social commentary.  If it means leaving Allentown, sadly we will have to do so.  We will adapt somehow – because we must in order to survive.

Lucas: Adapting to survive that is the basic definition of agile[10].

Neth: Right!


About Brian Lucas

In his life, Brian Lucas has been a coach, farm worker, forester, health care advocate, life guard, general contractor, mechanic, mixologist, musician/singer (in a rock group), salesman and teacher. Brian has worked as a project manager, technical marketer, methodologist, manager, software architect, systems designer, data modeler, business analyst, systems programmer, software developer and creative writer. These efforts include over a hundred hi-tech initiatives in almost every business and industrial sector as well as government and military projects. Among them, he designed and developed a quality assurance system for the first transatlantic fiber optic communications network, a manufacturing system for a large computer manufacture’s seven manufacturing centers, a data mining system for steel production, an instrumentation system for cable systems, defined requirements for government’s information systems and designed and developed human performance management systems. Brian has educated and mentored many over the years, designing programs to discover and develop talent. He has also lectured extensively to a variety of audiences. Brian is currently devoting as much time as possible to the innovation of business agility and human capital management along with the next generation of agile software development. As an amateur theoretical physicist he is working on joining general relativity and quantum mechanics through a multidimensional time corollary on string theory and negating the uncertainty principle with Louis de Broglie’s wave/particle hypothesis. He is also an avid blue-water sailor and wilderness backpacker. He enjoys billiards, boxing, chess, cooking, famous battle reenactments and war gaming, fencing, flying, gardening, horseback riding, martial arts (particularly Ninjutsu), philosophy and psychology, playing musical instruments (7 so far), poker, rapid-fire target shooting, reading (he tries to read a new book every night), painting with oils, scuba diving, skiing and recently writing novels.
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359 Responses to A Natural Agilist Proves the Value of Theater

  1. Julliette says:

    My friend Bob sent me this link and wanted me to comment. He used to go to the [deleted by administrator] often. That’s where I think he remembers Marcie from. He said he was very impressed with her. I have never seen her perform. I saw Parallel Lives and it was great. I thought everyone was good in it but I do remember Samantha’s performance better for some reason. It was the first APT show I saw. The costumes were pretty basic and the stage kind of limited. I guess it was what they could afford. The acting was very professional though. I couldn’t go to the actors in action because I was on vacation. Its a shame they aren’t doing anything adult until December. I think that Pinocchio is a wonderful idea. My nephew at 6 months is too young to take. I hope it works out for Marcie she seems like such a nice hardworking person. I might buy a ticket to Pinocchio even if I don’t go.

    • Marcie says:

      Thanks for your response, Juliette. I just wanted to make a quick note that this weekend we are having our last performances in our Actors in Action Series. This weekend we are featuring the “Un-named Body Project” . So if you are home from vacation and have free time check us out!

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Julliette I have no doubts what-so-ever that Pinocchio will be an outstanding success. Marcie is too talented, professional, caring and savvy for it to be otherwise. I have heard a little of what she is planning and it will be fun for all ages. Please come out and see it!

  2. Adrianna Smith says:

    A friend sent me Marcie’s comment which I thought was so beautifully and almost soulfully written. I followed the link back to the interview and read it. I have been involved several community theaters in Pittsburgh for the last 7 years and I have so much appreciation for Marcie’s comment and APT’s struggle to be successful. I agree with Brian, I think Marcie put it best of everyone so I don’t have much to add except that she has my prayers and best wishes for her success. I was glad to see a business person like Brian supporting the theater. I also want to say that I like the tenor of his comments and how he rushed to defend APT when some commenters raised questions. He obviously thinks a great deal about Marcie and that’s a good thing. Too many people sit on the fence and don’t commit or give their support to people. It’s nice to see someone contributing without an apparent thought of gain.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Thank you for commenting Adrianna! What a classically beautiful name! Soulful is a perfect word to describe Marcie. Compared to all the hard work and long hours that people like Marcie and Samantha and Troy and Josh and Susan put in to make APT a success I really do very little,although APT has my complete support.

  3. Gil Hitcho says:

    No one should go to a community or even a local professional theater like APT is trying to be and expect to see a stage of Broadway quality or production sets that wow you. I attended several APT performances out of curiosity and can tell you the costume designer who I believe was Marcie Schlener was creative if evidently very cost constrained and the set backdrops were well executed although simple. I would say she deserves a A+ for effort and creativity. The performances were not entirely even, although that is to be expected. There were some stars like Josh Neth, who is a very fine actor in my book and a few others of less ability. Some unfortunately lacked stage appeal. I have not had the pleasure of seeing Samantha Beedle perform. Based on some of the comments here, my interest is considerably peaked and I would like to know when her next appearance will be. That said, if we return to the subject of the interview, I believe Josh’s dream deserves a chance. You can almost hear the passion (and some anger) in Josh’s words as he talks about how important the theater is to him and the significant part he feels it plays in society. In Marcie’s thoughtful, touching and indeed very endearing response to those who questioned APT member’s commitment, you see the ache and weariness of a person struggling against great odds to achieve something she believes in, regardless of the time and effort it demands. It is easy to see why Brian rushed to her defense and praises her so highly. These people deserve a chance at the success of which they dream. It is not a selfish dream, but one that they are willing to share with us all. I believe as I am sure Brian does, that their accomplishments outweigh any issues that they have. It is the future that they are trying to build that we should focus on. While in the strictest sense, I understand this is perhaps not a business issue, I am glad Brian has taken the time to bring APT to everyone’s attention and is supporting their cause as I intend to by attending performances. Patronage is the best way to show support.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Gil – Thank you for such a thoughtful and detailed comment.In my opinion you have shown a great deal of perception in your analysis which means you are a careful observer. This is something that is often missing in the hustle and bustle of today rapid lifestyles and you have my deep respect for practicing this trait. APT does deserve to achieve the dream and it is not a selfish one so I am proud to support them. -Brian

  4. NancyB says:

    I will have to chime in here. I saw Hamlet a Rock Experience and it was like going to a rock concert on steroids. It beat Rocky Horror – that I have seen many times – hands down. EVERYONE in it was great. The music was concert quality. It was so creative and quirky and serious and yet fun. Josh must be a genius. I hate to say that I missed everything else. Since I am not from the city, I am not comfortable in the [deleted by administrator] location. I love the [deleted by administrator] location in Bethlehem. The parking is free and it is easy to get to. I wish APT could play there. I am so sorry I missed Parallel Lives, everyone here said it was so great. I hope APT can perform it again. Does anyone know when Samantha is performing again? I see Brian said he was going to find out but hasn’t posted anything yet. I went up to the site but couldn’t find out.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Nancy – I am sorry, but I haven’t been able to close the loop yet with Samantha. I am not sure she knows when here next performance will be. She also has a full time very demanding job that involves travel.

  5. Lucy Vaughn says:

    Oh no not another comment! I’ll bet that’s what you are all saying. I wanted to add my two cents here. I have to acknowledge I know the blog author Brian Lucas slightly. I am upset that he had a blog and didn’t even tell me. Oh well! I work as a manager of a large interior design business. Brian and I met at a business mixer in Philadelphia back in 2008 and later I went to a benefit dinner in Allentown at which he was the guest speaker. His topic was the parallelism between archaeological digs and relational database design. I could not believe how interesting he made this talk and how creative he was at finding parallels and patterns. I went because I was always interested in Egyptology and Brian invited me. I am glad I did because afterwards I got a chance to sit next to Brian and he was a fascinating conversationalist. Let me stop there!
    To return to the topic of the interview; first, the interview is very well done. People normally don’t speak this fluently (although Brian can be a brilliant speaker when he is excited) so I suspect some polish was added by Brian afterwards. I think everyone does this, Brian just probably does it better than most. Second, Josh’s answers were thoughtful and you could see his intelligence in them so the interview was absolutely legit as far as I am concerned. Third, Marcie’s first response was a very gentle remonstrance. Her expression of the effort she and others are putting into APT touched me. Her other comments were equally sweet. It sounds like she is very sweet, talented and gifted as well. No wonder Brian is protective and supportive of her and somewhat enamored of her as shy Elizabeth, awestruck Rhonda and in your face Fran have divined. (I noted that just to tease Brian for not telling me he had a blog! HA!)
    Lastly, I am sorry I have never seen an Allentown Public Theatre performance. I had not even heard of them, but that is not surprising since I live in Blue Bell, PA. I will though, based on Brian’s endorsement and Marcie’s very sweet comments, come up to see a performance sometime and if all goes well become a member. My question to Marcie is what performance do you recommend I see, that will best represent your theater’s talents?

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Lucy – Good Lord you remembered the title of my dinner speech! Consider me remonstrated and teased for not informing you of my blog. Drop me an email and let me know how you are doing. Did you ever go on that dig you were talking about? Marcie certainly doesn’t need my protection, she is beyond reproach and her talent speaks for itself though she has my complete and unbridled endorsement. I’ll let Marcie recommend what performance she thinks you should see.

  6. Name withheld by request says:

    I go to the [deleted by administrator] and [deleted by administrator] theaters regularly. Sometimes the shows are good and sometimes they could be better. I don’t like the parking at the [deleted by administrator] Theatre. I went to see the Atheist at the [deleted by administrator] because I read this interview. Unfortunately, I drove around the block several times before I could find it. I thought my GPS got the address wrong. I was looking for a more theater like building. To be truthful, I was not comfortable in that section of town or coming out to the parking lot after the show. It all looked very volunteer to me, though everyone seemed nice. There were so very few people there, It must be very discouraging to the Allentown Public Theatre. I won’t comment on the performance. I think I was too influenced by the place to give the reading a fair chance. I did see and hear Marcie speak there briefly. She wrote such a moving comment here, I felt I needed to say something. I am sorry it isn’t more positive. She honestly seems like such a sincere and dedicated person. I wish her every success, but I don’t think I will go see another show unless it is held in a better place.

  7. JDB-Wanderer says:

    Got sent this interview by a friend who asked me to comment. If my vote counts, I would like to see something more like a good musical. I saw Josh in Company at the [deleted by administrator]. He was good and it was pretty funny. It wasn’t a real comedy, but the audience was laughing often. I saw Hamlet that APT did awhile ago and it was actually pretty cool. Frankly, I am more interested in entertainment than heavy drama. It doesn’t have to be fluffy, I just don’t want to leave the show feeling worse than when I got there. I get too much drama at work already! I want to relax and enjoy a show. I can’t afford to go to New York and even the tickets at the [deleted by administrator] are over $30. Movies are OK, but I can watch those at home. I’d like to go to see more APT shows, but I am not interested in Pinocchio and I don’t think they’re doing anything else until December. -John

    • Brian Lucas says:

      JDB don’t dismiss Pinocchio as a child’s show. It is true that the target audience is young at heart, but the professionalism and detail that Marcie Schlener brings to her productions is phenomenal. Just like Matilda on Broadway is a children’s story yet has appeal for all ages so will Pinocchio under Marcie’s capable and experienced direction. So give it a try!

  8. MTMRhoda-lal says:

    I saw an AIA show last year and one this year. I didn’t care where they were. I work in Philly, so A’town doesn’t scare me. Unfortunately, very few people attended those performances. I think you can make all the social comments that you want to a small body of people who will appreciate them or perform what the masses want and build an audience. Didn’t even the mega star of stage Lawrence Oliver say when asked why he was appearing in Inchon “The answer is simple: Money, dear boy.” I think that the Allentown Public Theatre needs to concentrate on building their following so they can afford better locations.

  9. DonellyR says:

    Does anybody know who’s going to be in what for the rest of the year? Brian said he’d check and post and I don’t see anything yet. I went to their site, but didn’t couldn’t find out much. I’ll try their Facebook page. If anybody finds out anything let me know. A couple of the APT crew got raves here I’d like to check them out. I like to follow specific actors at the local theaters, that I enjoy, rather than just going to see any old show. Sometimes the casting can be pretty bad like in [deleted by administrator]. I enjoy it more if I have seen the actor before and know that they are going to be good. -Ralph

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Ralph – I think that you’ll find all of APT’s acting a cut above the rest, but I can understand your wanting to follow certain performers. I am working on it and when I find out who is cast in what I’ll publish it here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Saw Marcie sing once in a karaoke bar and she is SWEEEEET!!!!!!

  11. Theodore Bradon says:

    I am glad this post came to my attention. I taught sociology at several liberal arts universities for 30 years. I am now retired and enjoying life in Santa Fe. This interview is indeed remarkable. Josh Neth and Brian Lucas are both to be commended. I enjoy reading articles, like this, that have not been dumbed-down and cut-down to an idiot level as so many blogs are. I was surprised to find this article in a business blog.
    Before making this comment, I took the time to review several of Mr. Lucas’s other posts and was delightfully surprised. All were of value, and covered an amazing range of the aspects of agile thinking as the author defines it. He has that rare magical touch as a writer to make his subjects interesting and informative. I lost count of the number of comments that these articles get. It is easily in the thousands. The numerous comments on Josh’s interview show that passion for theater is alive and well in the city of Allentown and around the world.
    Now is a difficult time for the arts. They are under attack in America like never before. The difficult economic times have closed school programs and now it’s all science, technology and math. Even liberal arts programs are under attack as schools are cutting humanities pushing out new information technology programs faster than a hen lays eggs.
    It is foolish to assume that it is the degree that is at fault and that arts programs and artistic people are not worthy of employment. Studies from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington show that these science and engineering graduates are not doing much better finding work than arts program graduates. For every two American students who graduate with technical degrees, only one gets a job. So why are we ripping monies away from the arts?
    Arts are the social conscience and moral pressure valve relief of society. In difficult and dark times, the arts have always led mankind back from the brink of disaster and anarchy and back into the light of reason and ethical behavior. As Mr. Lucas wrote in his article Sailing in an Agile Ship with Vision and Knowledge to Guide You, ethics are a very important part of maintaining stability in a time of rapid change. Theater is a very important part of exploring the ethics of difficult subjects by airing them in the public forum as Josh Neth states in his interview. Doing this helps the public gain an understanding of the issues and establishes a clear moral compass. Without this the path to unbridled greed and self-interest is smoothed by ignorance.
    Thank you Mr. Lucas for taking up this torch of the arts that has fallen recently and bearing it proudly in your blog! I will follow your blog from now on with interest. I am sure the members of the Allentown Public Theatre appreciate your championship in their cause and the cause of theater in general, as do I.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Wow Theodore! I would love to chat with you sometime. Drop me an email. I abhor sound bite journalism! I try not to write that way. I recently was told by a professional writer that Josh’s interview was too long to read. Yet statistics show that a huge number of people have read it, some even returning to it more than once and we have well over 300 comments on it at this time. I don’t believe that everything has to be only a couple of paragraphs long and have lots of pictures. The lesson that we learned in management eras 1.0 and 2.0 as you’ll see in my post on The Era of Agile Management Has Finally Arrived is that if you treat people like idiots they will either act that way or violently rebel. I don’t know that I can claim to have taken up the torch of the arts when others are doing so much more than I am, but I am trying to help in my own way.

  12. Donna Gretz says:

    I saw Parallel too came late and didn’t get a program. It was a good show, but the costumes and setting was very, very low budget. Both lead actresses were good. Samantha was pretty imposing, I guess that is why she is getting so much attention her. Someone else here said they’d like to see it again in a nicer production and I would be for that as well.

  13. Amanda says:

    If it helps any I saw Parallel and it was good despite the location. I think they should rent a theater to perform in. Like others do. I did not like the building or the location.

  14. CarltonC says:

    I just started following this blog because I found it looking for info on TFS. The post on TFS tips was just what I was looking for and the other one on epic stories was really good too. I should have left a comment there, but I didn’t so when I went to the latest posts and began working my way backwards I ran into this. It kinda freaked me out that it contained this interview about the theater, my first question was what the heck does this got to do with agile? After I read it, it made sense. I actually read it just for the heck of it and because there were so many comments. I saw two shows APT did. Every Christmas Story ever told, which I liked and the Teddy Bear Awards which I didn’t. Josh was crazy funny in Christmas Story with the lighted nose. I also saw him in a couple of Associated Mess deals and he can be funny when he is hot. Seems like people are says that a good regular place to put shows on would be a help and I agree. I don’t like running all over Allentown trying to find a place I haven’t been to before. The [deleted by administrator] is a [deleted by administrator] and I wouldn’t go there again. Anywho that’s my feedback if you guys from the APT are listening.

  15. R.Clark says:

    An ensemble cast is a great idea for the Lehigh Valley Josh. Marcie, a children’s youth theater that feeds the adult theater with locally recruited talent makes business sense. We call it succession planning and sustainability. My question is did you think of these on your own or is this the influence of Mr. Lucas? I am looking for parallels in theater success and business success. Any answers.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      This was Marcie’s and Josh’s idea before they met me. Marcie even financed a show herself she believes in the Youth Theater so much. That shows you the kind of sincerity and commitment that she has and one of the many reason why I hold her in such high esteem.

  16. Marcie says:

    Hi Marcie: I’m a Marcie too! Your comment was so nice I want to attend one of your shows. I looked up on your site, but I only saw two shows – Pinocchio and a Christmas event. Are you doing any more shows this year? Do you act at all? I know you are the youth theater director. I was curious to see you perform. The author was so impressed with you and said you had such a beautiful voice. I really wanted to hear you sing.

  17. James Elcar says:

    This is my first time commenting, though I have followed Keeping Agile since November of 2012. In New York, we have a very rich panacea of theater, that I have supported and been involved in for many years in various capacities, so I feel qualified to comment with some authority. First I would like to point out that any time a blog post generates this much interest and intelligent comment, it is worthwhile. Josh Neth gave a brilliant interview. I have no reason to doubt that it unfolded in exactly the manner that Brian described. The vast majority of comments on this interview show thought and passion. The general public has no idea how difficult it is to accomplish what the Allentown Public Theatre is trying to do. Community theater is difficult enough. A professional ensemble troupe is almost impossible outside a very large city. The very fact that them have been in existence for some five years as far as I can tell is a tribute to their talent and determination. Also, I very much sympathize with Marcie who wrote an emotional response that was as remarkable in its expressiveness as it was devoid of bitterness. I can understand why Brian is so very much impressed with her if she can articulate herself this well and has the many other talents that Brian attributes to her. It speaks well of his nobility that he rushed to her defense before she responded. She seems to be a rare paragon of talent and intelligence. It is regrettable that she was perhaps somewhat stung by what could be interpreted as negative comments. Her response was very revealing of her nature and since she was speaking on behalf of the Allentown Public Theatre, the kind of people that make up that organization. Lastly, these are evidently people who are very serious about their craft, are very concerned about the community that they live in, are promoting a better understanding of their fellow man and society by exploring its problems and are working extremely hard to succeed and make their corner of the world a better place to live. They need to be supported by the local community and have earned the right to have that support and be respected.
    Sincerely,
    J. C. Elcar

  18. Aleveroes says:

    It is rare to find such an active post with so many different people commenting. While there are some who respond regularly, if you look at the comments, you will find that they are not coming from just a few people who know this group, but a broad spectrum throughout the world. The comments have strayed at times from the interview and explored new territory. Perhaps a new post should be made about suggestions to help the Allentown Public Theatre achieve their goals.

  19. Perle says:

    I think they need to do more shows a year. Seems like they only do a few.

  20. Lucy Vaughn says:

    Hey Marcie are you still following this stream? Since Brian is so impressed with you, I really wanted to see a performance of yours. Do you know him well? He’s an interesting guy. isn’t he?

  21. David Smith says:

    Too much syrup here! I saw Actors in Action last year. Very sparse audience. It certainly wasn’t great. Went to an improv they did at Artsquest this year and they were not funny. These people are too full of themselves, [deleted by administrator] gives better performances, their tickets are expensive though.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Mr. Smith – Thank you for commenting even though your opinion is negative. My policy is to approve all comments that are not vulgar, are on topic and not personally directed or abusive. Your statement is definitely borderline on the last criteria. Appreciation of performing arts is highly subjective. Much of it depends upon the background of the of the audience member and even their current frame of mind. Everyone has the right to a personal opinion and the freedom to express it. That is one of the great strengths of our open society. If you truly wish to make a change for the better with your opinion, then you should offer it in a fashion that is constructive and not simple negative. Had you said something like, “I could not hear the actors clearly they didn’t speak loudly enough and the sound system had issues” or “the stage setting was too small for the show”; it would have given APT some practical feedback that they could use to improve. I assure you that Troy Brokenshire, Josh Neth, Marcie Schlener and Samantha Beedle all of whom I have come to know personally do listen and care very much for their audience’s opinion. They also work extremely hard to put on the best possible “professional” performances and strive hard to constantly improve. Right now they are taking a huge new step in their evolution. They are on the verge of finding a permanent home for themselves in downtown Allentown. Their emotions are running very high at this hard earned opportunity. I entreat you to open your mind to the new possibilities that this venue will create and to consider attending another APT performance.
      Sincerely,
      Brian Lucas

      • Madeleine Waters says:

        Brian – I really respect you for posting David Smith’s comment and responding to it so constructively. Too often threads descend into criticism and nasty accusations. It is nice to see how you defend the people of the Allentown Public Theatre without making a personal attack on Mr. Smith. I wish your brand of civility was more common. The people of the Allentown Public Theatre are lucky to have you as a friend and advocate. I hope they appreciate it! I can see why you have developed a loyal following, who comment here. I am proud to be one of them. – Maddy

  22. Giselle says:

    Wow – lots of comments here – just as interesting as the post – great read…

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