Opening Night of an East Lynne Theater Company World Premiere

A rehearsal shot from ELTC’s “A Year in the Trenches” with Jennie Bissell, Ryan Genauldi, Tara Reuter, Osborn Focht and Matt Baxter Luceno.
Photo credit: Gayle Stahlhuth

After touring the staged-reading version of “A Year in the Trenches,” the full production opens at East Lynne Theater Company on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. This world premiere is based on historical accounts about World War I, including a book by Charles Edward Dilkes. Attending opening night are Dilkes’ children, District Commander John Vollrath of the VFW, Clarence F. Lear III, Mayor of Cape May, and Pamela M. Kaithern, Mayor of West Cape May. The after-show party is at Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May at no additional ticket-cost.

The play was written by James Rana, who’s currently in rehearsal for Broadway’s “The Band’s Visit,” and developed with ELTC’s artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth, making this their fifth collaboration. The script was commissioned by the NJ Historical Commission and the NJ State Council on the Arts. “A Year in the Trenches” will be highlighted on an upcoming segment of “State of the Arts” on NJTV.

The cast of six have a variety of backgrounds, including performing in regional theater, films and on Broadway, and portray many characters who had New Jersey connections, including poet Joyce Kilmer, “Hello Girl” Grace Banker and Charles Douglas from Cape May. Live music from the period is performed throughout.

The show runs through Oct. 14. To encourage school groups to attend a 2 p.m. matinee on Wednesday, Oct. 11, ticket price per student is $10. Location is the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St. For information or reservations, call (609) 884-5898 or visit