Local Children’s Theater Group Seeking Community Help

MANAHAWKIN, NJ – Our Gang Players, a popular children’s theater group based in Southern Ocean County, New Jersey, has been providing local area children the opportunity to display their talents, have fun, make friends and develop social and theater-related skills for the past 43 years. That is until COVID-19 came along which forced an immediate halt to rehearsals, fundraisers & other activities that had been well underway for their next production, “Frozen Jr.” The children who were over the moon excited to be on stage for the Spring production are suffering disappointment but carry the hope they will be able to resume preparations for the musical once the pandemic is cover.

The problem is they have no permanent facility of their own; they rent space from local schools in order to rehearse & perform. Since the school shut-down & cancellation of activities, there is no income source and Our Gang finds itself in need of $25,000.00 to pay past due rental on their storage facility plus the astronomical cost to clear out of their 4000+ square foot space to comply with the landlord’s deadline at month’s end. A GoFundMe page has been established and the community’s support is sorely needed to keep this organization alive and available for future generations.

Sherry Schnepp of Manahawkin (formerly of Long Beach Island), who is lovingly known by all those in the Our Gang Family as “Mamma Sherry,” and a friend, Nancy Gallimore of Barnegat Light, New Jersey started the non-profit all volunteer group in 1977. The organization relies on income derived from ticket sales, donations, fundraisers, and occasional grant monies which have dwindled to next to nothing over the years. Mamma Sherry is devastated & heart-broken, fearing that Our Gang will not survive this pandemic & the current circumstances they find themselves in. This remarkable woman has poured her heart and soul into this community for the past 43 years, touching the lives of countless children, their proud families and audiences alike. The demise of Our Gang Players is unimaginable and should not be allowed to happen.

Our Gang Players was started to give the local children a fun activity during the long lonely winter months on Long Beach Island. The group went on to perform Broadway classics and even a few original productions at the Surflight Theatre, the Russell O. Brackman school, the Stafford Arts Center and Barnegat High School. Such memorable productions include Christmas Under the Sea (OGP Original), The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Oliver, Peter Pan, Children of Eden, Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty & the Beast, High School Musical as well as 101 Dalmatians and Snow White & the 70 Dwarfs (both with over 100 adorable children on stage) just to name a few. The group is unique in that no one is turned away – anyone who wants to participate on stage or behind the scenes, is welcome and the Our Gang family has grown over the years to include not only children’s productions, but teenage and adult shows too.

We implore you to assist this fantastic organization and help ensure its future by making a 100% tax deductible donation. You can visit Kelsey Fowler’s GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-our-gang-players-amp-momma-sherry or contact Sherry Schnepp ogmamma@comcast.net or Stacey Schnepp staceyogp@gmail.com to offer assistance, donate by mail or arrange to purchase items from the storage facility. .
Christine Reynolds
Christinereynolds116@gmail.com – 609-384-5646

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