first_imgMembers of the Ocean City Theatre Company will entertain the crowds when they come to the Boardwalk this summer. By Maddy VitaleTJ Rumer stood up and told an audience Sunday at Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point that he will not let his colleagues or his mentor Michael Hartman down.“I plan on doing them all proud,” Rumer said. “Thank you for the opportunity. The lessons, the laughter and the sore legs. All of it. Thank you.”Rumer was one of seven students who graduated from high school this year to receive scholarship money during the eighth annual Broadway Brunch of the Ocean City Theatre Company.Rumer will be attending Rider College in Lawrenceville in the fall to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater.TJ Rumer gives Founding Artistic Director of the OCTC Michael Hartman a hug and thanks him for being his mentor.The other scholarship recipients were Natalie Katsiff, Jeremy Galloza, Morgan McLees, Alanna Palombo, Sara Ruth and Jessica Wriggins. Despite plans to study fields from engineering to education and science, they all said they would take what they learned at the OCTC to prepare for what lies ahead.“OCTC gave me confidence,” Katsiff told the audience. “Thank you OCTC for helping a young girl find her passion.”When Galloza stood up to receive his scholarship, he thanked his grandmother and mother for their support of his love for the theater. He also thanked his brother Zach and his OCTC family.The Spotlight Performers Show Choir sing and dance to a clapping, foot-tapping audience.“Oh, God,” Galloza said. “I’m crying. I just want to thank you all. I love you all.”Hartman, who is the founding artistic director of the OCTC, made several heartfelt remarks from the podium throughout the ceremony.Each of the recipients received a personalized picture frame. Hartman said each came with an inscription he felt was fitting for the occasion: “I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free. Got to find my corner of the sky.”Jessica Wriggins, one of the scholarship recipients, displays the picture frame.Hartman noted that he couldn’t believe some of his theatre company students were going off to college. “I remember when you were little peanuts,” he told them amid laughs from the audience.He spoke about the phenomenal talent and perseverance of the students and said how they have grown as actors and performers over the years.Hartman also spoke of the wide community support for the theatre company.OCTC students have fun.“Our audience is full of love and we can always count on you,” he said of the warmth and commitment residents have shown to the theatre family.In addition to the ceremony, there were performances by some of the students in the Spotlight Performers Show Choir.The talent seemed to energize the room of audience members at Greate Bay.Some people sang along and tapped their feet as the talented, young performers took them through a fast-paced and lively ensemble of songs, including “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.”Spotlight Performers Show Choir performs “This is Me.”Among dignitaries in attendance were former Congressman and Ambassador Bill Hughes and some of the Ocean City Council, including Council Vice President Tony Wilson and Councilmen Keith Hartzell, Bob Barr, Antwan McClellan and Michael DeVlieger.Hartman said some words of appreciation to the Council and especially to Hartzell, whom he said is an avid OCTC supporter.In addition to the scholarships, there was a fundraiser and silent auction.Beth Bowman, on the Board of Trustees for the Ocean City Historical Museum with Natalie Ragazzo, a runner up in the 2018 Miss New Jersey Pageant.Other dignitaries at the event included Ocean City resident Natalie Raggazo, a runner-up in the 2018 Miss New Jersey Pageant, Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar and Beth Bowman, on the Board of Trustees for the Ocean City Historical Museum.An award for 2018 Star of the Show was also presented to Terry Lashley, a retired teacher at the Ocean City High School and former director of OCHS Drama Guild. The 2018 Community Spotlight went to the Ocean City businesses We Make It Personal, Fox Real Estate and Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy and Fudge.For more information about the Ocean City Theatre Company www.oceancitytheatrecompany.com.Julia Wilson (glasses) and fellow OCTC members put on a great performance for the audience.Spotlight Performers Show Choir move the audience so much they receive a standing ovation.Spotlight Performers Show Choir keeps the audience moving to the beat.Scholarship Recipient Natalie Katsiff says OCTC gave her confidence.Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar with Founding Artistic Director of the OCTC Michael Hartman.Beth Bowman (left) with Mary Anne Kull, a sponsor of the brunch.Ocean City Councilman Mike DeVlieger, Council Vice President Tony Wilson with his wife Melissa and Councilman Keith Hartzell enjoy the event. Councilman Keith Hartzell with Becky Green Friedel and Councilman Bob Barr.Ocean City Councilman Mike DeVlieger with Councilman Antwan McClellan.Spotlight Performers Show Choir with Founding Artistic Director Michael Hartman.last_img

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