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298 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 07649


Bergen County Players, inc.


«  »February 2024


BCP Featured In Ticket Turtle Blog


Bergen County Players: 80 years of community and excellence

This year marks 80 years that Bergen County Players has been a community theatre. Here’ s the chat I had recently with Box Office Manager Brian Feldman about what makes BCP so special.

What is it about BCP that’s given it 80 years as an active community theatre?
Brian: I think what is special about BCP is that it takes the word “community” very seriously. For instance, if you want to act in more than one BCP production, you can’t just parachute in – it doesn’t work like that. If you want to perform, you need to join, you need to pay dues, and you have responsibilities. While we of course want to cast the best possible person for a role, if two people are equally capable then priority goes to those within the membership.
At BCP we have more than 300 full voting members – within that there’s a steady core group, and certainly if we produce a very popular season during that year we will often see an increase in membership.
Our structure is set up so that in your first year you’re considered an “Associate Member”, which requires you to do at least one backstage assignment, such as running crew, set building or painting, light or sound operator, or publicity, to name a few. In addition, you need to usher a few times a year and perhaps also help out on other special assignments, such as working on a social activity or a fun event like the annual 4th of July Parade.
If after your first year you successfully complete your requirements then you can become a full voting member. So, I think it’s exactly this structure that’s key to why we’ve sustained a strong membership. Creating this kind of engagement through everyone actively working in a vital role binds people together – and these connections last season after season. People become friends outside of the theatre – your kids grow up together, you do family activities together, celebrate milestones together. We’ve had more than a dozen BCP marriages, the result of people initially meeting each other at the theater; in fact, we’ve actually had a few of those wedding ceremonies on our stage.
What words of wisdom can you offer to community theatres?
I think it’s really important to look at your operation not just as a self-contained “amateur” community but as a professional theatre. Have a professional philosophy regarding your operation, your productions, your entire attitude, so that patrons look forward to entering your building. Speaking of which, it also applies to the way you physically present yourself – the way the building looks inside and outside. It involves setting policies that make things as easy as possible for your customer – remember they’re the ones keeping your doors open.
Another amazing thing about BCP – we’re completely run by volunteers – nobody gets paid, with the exception of the Music Director and musicians whenever we produce a musical (which is always our season-opener). We also have an elected Board and a completely non-professional staff, but we still know that even as volunteers it’s essential do everything as professionally as we can.
Recently what’s made a major difference is technology — we didn’t have the things 10 years ago that we have now. For instance, we’re selling 60% of our tickets online now – five years ago that was 0%. We used to have two people in the box office for up to 12 hrs a week and their primary job was to answer the phone and process mail orders. Now we’ve been able to cut back some of those hours significantly and some weeks we only need one person per shift for a few hours, handling the occasional walk-up sale and some inquiries. Instead, our customers now go to our www.bcplayers.org website to get season and other miscellaneous information. It used to be our message machine would be filled with questions like: “Hey, what is your new show, when does it start?, how much does it cost?” Now, the messages are mostly from those few people who still want to order over the phone.
To watch the fascinating Youtube video on BCP’s 80 inspiring years, CLICK HERE.
What has been your history of involvement with BCP?
In 1995 my wife and I discovered the Bergen County Players just after we moved to the area. A friend of ours was in a production of A Few Good Men and the quality of the work was just amazing. And as it turned out, we had a future celebrity in that cast! Adam Rodriguez, who went on to star in the TV show CSI: Miami and the movie Magic Mike, was in that show. There have been a number of other celebrities that have graced our stage as well when they were younger, such as Tony Award winner Beth Fowler and current Broadway star Rob McClure from Chaplin. Anyway, we’d been “shopping around” for a theatre to get involved with and after we saw the level of quality on that stage we started auditioning, because the talent was so exceptional we thought “we need to find a way to be attached to this group!”.
What are a few highlights as you reflect on your involvement so far with BCP?
Well, some were on stage, such as when I got to play one of my dream parts, that of John Adams in 1776. I also greatly enjoyed the Neil Simon play Laughter on the 23rd Floor, because the ensemble was just perfect. t was also just the nature of show, because it’s hilarious – so we basically laughed for three months straight.
And some of the moments have been off-stage. For instance, the first day we went on sale with Ticket Turtle, offering online transactions for the very first time. We put together a big publicity campaign, and I was really nervous since I led the charge to move us online. But when I saw those first tickets being sold at midnight, and then checked for messages the next morning and there were no complaints or cries for help… for me, that was just as big a moment as hearing laughter or applause while up on stage.
To view the original article, please see:

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