The Grist - May 2024

May 3, 2024

The Best Spring Musical EVER!

Get ready for an evening of fun and laughter, singing and dancing, at this year’s Spring Musical: “The Mill’s Guide to the Best Vacation EVER.”

Phillips’ Mill Drama is excited to be kicking off its spring/summer season of shows and events with new and improved lighting and sound systems, courtesy of our many generous donors. Come check it out, and be sure to say hello to Joao Neves, who will be working the board at our shows.

Read all about the Spring Musical and other happenings at the Mill in this issue of The Grist.

Featured Events

2024 Musical Comedy Cabaret

May 15-18, 7:30 pm | At the Mill | Doors open at 6:30 pm

This year’s must-see show includes many talented singers, dancers and actors from our community putting on a toe-tapping, hilarious evening of music and comedic performances. The seating is cabaret style, and audience members are welcome to bring their own libations and snacks. Not only is this an entertaining performance for all involved, but it is the Mill Drama committees’ main source of funding.

Join us for a rollicking good time with the Phillips’ Mill Players: Michael Weisser, Tim Wade, Cecily Laidman, Nancy Vander Zwan, Betty Benton, Valerie Eastburn, Tim Philpot, Leslie Crilley, Rita Roley, John Roley, Fran Young, Pamela Manly, Helene Mathern, Fran Ferrone, Laura Scotti, Kevin Nalty and Patrick Fowles, plus band members Barry Middleberg, Mike Dettra, Mike Seifried, Jamie Murphy and George Bond.

Directed by Fran Young | Produced by Valerie Eastburn | Choreography by Betty Benton | Musical Direction by Barry Middleberg

ArtTalk with Jenny Schaeffer

Wednesday, May 15, 7 pm

Jenny Schaeffer is well known around Bucks County as the owner of Phoenix Art Supplies and Framing. An artist herself, Jenny has participated many times in the Juried Art Show at Phillips’ Mill, and is comfortable working in many media, often painting in abstract.

Join us as we talk with Jenny about her art and what inspires her. We’ll touch on her previous incarnation as a face painter. Also, as artists prepare their work for the 95th Annual Juried Art Show at Phillips’ Mill, Jenny can talk about the importance of framing, which — depending on the juror or the buyer — can make or break a “sale.”

An Evening of Poetry at the Mill

Thursday, May 30, 7 pm

Poetry is alive and well in Bucks County and across the river in New Jersey, and our Phillips’ Mill Poetry Salon last year proved it. The salon was such a success we’re doing it again! We’ll be featuring talented local poets reading from their work. All poetry lovers are invited.

This salon will be hosted by John McDonnell, whom we are welcoming back from London. Four of John’s short plays were performed by the amateur Pop Up Theatre Group at the Questors Theatre in London, where Dame Judi Dench is the president.

Registration is free, but donations at the door are encouraged. If you want to read a poem, please contact John McDonnell at

Learn More & Register
Artist Spotlight

Donna Ruane Rogers
Shares Her Love of Life and Light

Every year, the Phillips’ Mill Art Show Committee selects a “Signature Image” of the Mill to be used on posters, ads, postcards, social media and the website for the upcoming show. The 2024 Signature Image, “March Afternoon,” was created by Frenchtown artist Donna Ruane Rogers, who was inspired by the light and shadows on the Mill the day she decided to enter the contest.

“March Afternoon” by Donna Ruane Rogers

When Ruane Rogers heard submissions were being accepted for the Signature Image of the Mill for the 95th Annual Juried Art Show, she jumped right in the car. She knew it was an honor as well as an opportunity to be selected. She also knew it was the right time of day to capture the building in ideal lighting, a hallmark of her work as a painter.

“I got the email from the Mill about the competition about three o’clock in the afternoon. I wanted to get there and take some pictures while there was still some sunlight,” she recalls. “One of my goals as an artist is to faithfully depict my subjects and their interaction with natural light.”

Read More

“Feeling Kinda Koi” by Mike Pillows

A Lasting Impression

The 31st Annual Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition is behind us, but the impression this show has left on all who have seen it will last long after the photographs have been taken down.

Under the leadership of our new chair, Maria Dreyer, the Photo Committee spent several months preparing for the exhibition. It’s a complex operation to produce the prestigious show, and we are grateful to Maria and our many volunteers who made it possible. It was an impressive exhibition showcasing 135 contemporary works across many genres, from portraiture to abstraction.

Each work was selected by juror Thom Goertel, a distinguished fine-art and documentary photographer, who discussed the process in a recent episode of ArtTalk.

“Feedback was even more enthusiastic than I could have imagined,” says Maria. “A volunteer at the sales desk noted that several returning folks said this was one of the strongest shows they can remember.”

A Spring Fling!

The annual spring gathering of Mill members was held on April 12. Everyone enjoyed seeing the superb Photographic Exhibition and visiting with so many other Mill members and their guests. Thanks to Maria Dreyer and her committee for putting on such a great exhibition, and thanks, too, to all the Special Events Committee members who helped host the affair.

The “Not Your Run of the Mill” Photo Show, presented by the Photo Committee, immediately followed the juried exhibition. You can read all about both exhibitions, as well as other Photo Committee news, in the latest issue of PhotoZine.

Read Photozine

Coming Soon

“The Half of It”

July 18-20, 7:30 pm and July 21, 3:30 pm

Written by Domenic Scudera, MFA | Directed by Griffin Horn

The Premiere Showcase is the nascent production of an original, fully developed, never-before-performed play produced on the Mill stage by an up-and-coming playwright. This year’s play, “The Half of It,” by Domenic Scudera, MFA, was inspired by the life and work of Bert Savoy, a vaudeville drag artist who was active in the 1910s and early 1920s. The play highlights the groundbreaking and inspirational work of this artist while shining a light on the origins of contemporary drag performance and the LGBTQ+ community in the early part of the 20th century. The play explores themes of gender identity, gender expression, sexuality and celebrity in the modern era.

Phillips’ Mill 95th Birthday Bash

Saturday, July 27, 2024

Happy 95th birthday, Phillips’ Mill Community Association! Join your friends at the Mill’s celebration, featuring lively music from the Back Porch Jugband, pizza from Nomad, really fun games and, back by popular demand, the wild and wacky Rubber Duck Water Race. More details to follow in the June Grist.

Member News

We Welcome New Members

This past quarter, we were delighted to welcome dozens of new members to our community!  We are so happy you joined us!

Kristina McGuire and Joshua Ackerman, Cay Maria Adams, Joanne Amantea, Cindy and Mark Baum-Baicker, Gwynne Bee, Larry D. Bell Sr., John A. Bohnel, Gilbert Bolitho, Sandra Denton and Benedicte Bron, Amanda Brun, Dot Bunn, Lorraine and James E. Cahill, Lois Clarkson, Guy Cook, Sarah George and James Cox, Richard Cox, Robin Crowley, Lisa Domenic, Jill Dougherty, Gail and Scott Downing, Tyler Downing, Renee Egan, Maria and Matthew Emanuel, Louise Fiore, Faad Ghoraishi, Elissa C. Goldberg, Barry Good, Jennifer Gorman-Strawbridge, Daniel Abuhoff and Tamsen C. Granger, Diane Greenberg, Katherine Grieder, John Gummere, Dennis Haggerty, Kathleen and Louis Hiban, Addie Hocynec, Lisa Hokans, Linda Hollinger, Marybeth Hucker, Congetta Chirichello and Jeff Kehlert, Florence Kindel, Alison Gabell Kingsley, Patricia Kliener, Raymond Kopacz, Alice Lawler, Holly Layman, Nora Lewis, Liz Yuyang Li, Yun Li, Dennis G. Maida Jr., Denise Marshall, Helene Mazur, Florence Moonan, Catherine Moskal, June Pecora, Patricia Pinson, Eugenia Porello, Pat Powell, Louis Pruitt, Kate Putnam, Karen Repka, Lawrence P. Booth and Michael Richardson, Elizabeth Harness Richardson and Dr. Peter Richardson, John C. Rodgers Jr., Cindy Roesinger, Donna Rogers, Annette Rosenberg, Eric Rude, Alison Recca-Ryan and Kevin Ryan, Delphine Salzedo, Janet Schuler, Elizabeth Semple, Scott and Linda Sepsy, Leonid Slutsker, Linda Solomom, Allyssa Leigh Sotold, Joan Sparks, Cathy Springer, Fred Cresson and Ron Strouse, Stacey Vendetti, Aileen Wanzer, Ann Meredith and Joe Wingert, Mehran Yazdanian, Albert Yetter and Gable Young.

All Phillips’ Mill members have access to our shows and exhibits, as well as our educational programming and social events. Contact us with your questions or comments about membership at

We Remember Gale Sparrow

Gale Sparrow, Lathrop Circle member, past Board Vice President and Secretary, Preservation Committee fundraiser and Special Events Co-Chair, passed away March 31. She was 74.

Gale’s volunteerism and dedication to various Mill activities for many years were immense. Her distinctive raspy voice, engaging twinkle, sense of humor and style will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

We Remember Christopher Durang

Christopher Durang, Tony-winning playwright, longtime Lathrop Circle member and Phillips’ Mill supporter passed away on April 2, 2024. He was 75.

Photo of the Month

“Asbury Park Boardwalk in the Evening” by Bruce Berlin

"It’s the basic rule of musicals: Characters sing when their emotions become so intense that they can’t do anything else.”

― Tom Kitt

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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus