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Making Audiences Feel

“I love the theater as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an
audience and making them laugh, making them cry- just making them feel –
is paramount to me.” 
—Stephen Sondheim

An escape. A fantasy. A journey.  A lesson. A refuge.

Theatre, since perhaps the beginning of time, has offered these gifts to its audiences and patrons…to people on stage, people off stage, and people back stage.

These are the gifts of FUSE.

Founded in July 2013 by Producing Artistic Director Richard Biever, FUSE Productions brings together actors from both the amateur and professional worlds to create a one-of-a-kind experience for its audiences. Taking full advantage of the local treasure that is Penn State, which boasts one of the top musical theatre programs in the country, FUSE fills the stage not only with professional actors and community performers but also with Penn State students, faculty, and alumni—all of whom learn from each other while sharing their talents as well as their love of theatre.

FUSE’s mission is to strengthen the community by promoting dialog and raising awareness of individual, family, and societal issues through the theatre arts. FUSE seeks to make people “feel”—as Stephen Sondheim said—so they exit the theatre as changed human beings.

“I would follow Richard Biever to the ends of the earth. Through FUSE, he has created a one-of-a-kind experience and countless opportunities for the community. Community actors enhance the productions ten-fold because you’re working with people who give 110 percent the entire time. For them to be able to work with actors who have been on Broadway is the experience of a lifetime. Being in Les Miserables made me step back and look at the grand scheme of things in life. It reminded me of why I do what I do—not just for a paycheck but for experiences like these.”

Paul-Jordan Jansen
Equity Actor, Penn State grad, “Javert” in FUSE’s Les Miserables

“Working with FUSE, where the majority of the performers are not full-time professionals, is incredibly exciting. Their love and devotion to the show is unlike many theaters because it all still feels exciting and new. Everyone at FUSE is the real deal. They believe in the power of theatre and the importance of telling stories to change the world. Theaters like FUSE will quietly be making the world a better place through the magic of musicals and plays.”

—Seth Tucker, Equity Actor, Star of FUSE’s Santaland Diaries and emcee for FUSE’s Cabaret

“I am a huge fan of FUSE. I think it’s incredible for up-and-coming actors to be exposed to professional actors—something that was of great value to me when I was studying. As far as community actors? I at first thought that everybody raises their game when they’re around professionals, but I found that I was the one who had to raise my game! Working on Annie was one of the best times I’ve ever had in theatre because everyone worked so hard and was so giving. By maintaining its philosophy of combining professional actors, community actors, and student actors, FUSE is giving its community a professional level of theatre for a very reasonable price. I’d love to do another show with FUSE.” 

–Todd Thurston
Equity Actor, “Daddy Warbucks” in FUSE’s production of Annie

Singing Onstage, a children’s musical theatre training program founded by Richard and Heidi Biever in 2003, is now the educational arm of FUSE. It provides children ages three to 18 with a creative outlet where they learn to sing, act, dance, and develop confidence in a loving, joyful, judgment-free atmosphere. It now serves more than 600 students through nine classes each semester and twenty summer camps. Often, Singing Onstage students find themselves sharing their talents in FUSE productions—as child actors or as mature members of the cast.

“My Anna was an extremely shy and reserved child, but she decided to give Singing Onstage a try because several of her friends were involved. We knew she liked to sing, but we had no idea what a transformational experience Singing Onstage would be for her. When she sang “Tomorrow” in Annie Jr, one of her early experiences with Singing Onstage, we were absolutely stunned. Singing Onstage introduces children to the performing arts, to the work involved in creating a performance, and to the joy and fun of it all.”

—Jen Marcovitch, Friends of FUSE board member and mother of Anna and Eliza, both of whom participate in Singing Onstage and FUSE Productions

FUSE Productions…and its Friends

To entertain. To educate. To stimulate. To make them think. To make them laugh.

To make them feel.

Through its plays, musicals, cabarets, readings, school programs, and panel discussions, FUSE Productions seeks to accomplish these goals every time the curtain rises anew. And yet, FUSE is much more than a perfect synergy created by actors from different worlds. FUSE is sets and lighting and sound. It is costumes and makeup and props and choreography and orchestra and crew. It is direction and stage management, scripts and scores, rights and rentals, advertising and promotion.

FUSE is a complex amalgam of every aspect of the theatre…on a mission to enhance people’s lives.

While ticket sales provide a substantial portion of the funds necessary to bring a production to the stage or the classroom, FUSE relies on the generosity of its patrons.

On people like you. On businesses and organizations like yours.

Consider becoming a member of Friends of FUSE, a volunteer-driven charitable organization created to raise funds for the educational activities and general production expenses for FUSE Productions and Singing Onstage. Your philanthropic gift will allow FUSE to continue bringing professional quality theatre to children and adults in Central Pennsylvania and allow Singing Onstage to inspire young people to find their place in the world.

Join Friends of FUSE, knowing that by doing so, you are investing in something our community—indeed our society—needs now more than ever.