Coherent story from bits of info

I have had any number of comments about the article on me (“Erdenheim engineer, author, Holocaust escapee, 87,” Aug. 18 ). People have found it very interesting and very well written, and I fully agree. I said it before, but I am very surprised  (and pleased) that the writer (Lou Mancinelli) was able to make a smoothly flowing, coherent story out of the disjointed bits of information that I gave him.

Peter Lantos


Community vs. professional theater

To be a theatre artist is an imprudent and lifelong commitment. To be a great theater artist is to always be working to become a better one.

In the ideal, it involves a maturation and a control of mind, body and spirit. It is a process that is never done. We are fortunate and should be honored when we have such artists among us in our community.

Amateur theater can result in as much entertainment and revelation as any professional enterprise. When a group of prison inmates performed Stephen Sondheim’s  Sweeney Todd, it was certainly more authentic, powerful and revelatory than the recent Broadway revival.

However, there are basic realities that distinguish professional from amateur artists in American theater today. In amateur and community theatre the artists are not paid for their work. Without proper compensation an artist is unable to find focus, stability or growth.

Adequately paying its artists is one of the professional theatre’s greatest challenges and responsibilities. In the current economic downturn it is proving even more difficult.

Stagecrafters is one of America’s long-standing and prestigious community theaters. Amateur theatricals play an essential role in the American theater landscape and should be celebrated for their ability to expose larger numbers to both sides of the theatrical event, as audience and artist.

A very special theatrical event occurs when members of our community perform the great works of drama for our community.

However, for the amateur to present him or herself as a professional, and compare ticket prices between amateur and professional theater companies is not only false advertising, it is irresponsible and ultimately detrimental to the art form.

Alex Burns
Mt. Airy


Family needed for success

Re:  Lou Mancinelli’s column – “St. Vincent’s Learning Lab Struggles to Meet Demand.”

“… almost one-third of Philadelphia high school students drop out,” he said. Quoting Dan Wagner, a Chestnut Hill resident. And adding, “The adults are functionally illiterate because of poor schooling, he said.”

Yes, it is true. Dropping out of high school in today’s world puts an individual at a tremendous disadvantage to be successful. But, in today’s world I feel there is more opportunity to become successful than ever before!

When I attended high school (for one year – obtained a diploma while serving in Uncle Sam’s army) those from the majority of poor homes did everything in their power to see that their offspring graduated high school and went on to be the best they could be.

The majority of these poor homes had a positive male and female influence on their children, not only concerning school, but everyone and everything – including law enforcement. Today, even more so, if the home doesn’t have this, I feel there will always remain a big problem no matter what type of programs are available.

Tom Woodruff