Visitors to the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center website may notice the Rosies are no longer listed as a May event.

The popular awards show, which for eight years recognized the best performances produced by local high school musical theater programs, will no longer be held at the York City theater.

A group of musical directors met this summer and decided not to participate in the Rosies because the event has outgrown the venue, according to Mark Zortman, a musical theater educator who has worked at Central York for more than 30 years.

"It's just part of the evolution of the show," he said.

A similar, unnamed musical review, showcasing student talent, will be held on April 21 at Central York. It won't be called the Rosies, and the format might be different as well, Zortman said.

Origins: The Rosies were created nine years ago by Bob Miller, retired director of the William Penn Performing Arts Institute, and have grown into an event that attracts sell-out crowds at the Strand.

"This went from a couple schools participating to practically every public high school. The growth has been phenomenal," said Lyn Bergdoll, co-chair of the Rosies, a member of the Strand's board of directors and executive director at York Little Theatre.

In May, about 600 students from

14 York County high schools participated in the Rosies: Central York, Dallastown, Dover Area, Eastern York, Hanover, Kennard-Dale, New Hope Academy Charter School, Northeastern, Red Lion Area, South Western, Spring Grove Area, Susquehannock, West York Area and York Suburban.


Capacity: If each of those students invites two or three family members, it doesn't take long to go way over the Strand's 1,262 seating capacity, said Ken Wesler, CEO of the Strand.

The Rosies grossed about $20,000 last year, which was close to breaking even, he said.

In years prior, the Strand lost money on the event.

Even though it wasn't one of the theater's moneymakers, Wesler said he's sad to see the Rosies end.

"I've got two prime dates in May back to book shows that have a chance of making money, but this is still a loss," he said.

The loss is about the program and the kids, Wesler said.

"It was fun to have 500 student actors in the building. All of us working here were student actors. It's a shame the students won't get to perform at the Strand," he said.

Legacy: Not all of the theater directors wanted to end the Rosies at the Strand, said Eric Thiegs, who produces the shows at Red Lion.

"The legacy of having the Rosies at a professional venue like the Strand, where world-class talent has performed, was a benefit to the students," he said. "We had a high affinity for and strong relationship with the Strand team."

It's questionable if all schools will participate in the new event, Thiegs said.

Though specifics still have to be decided about the format, the new event will also be beneficial to students, Bergdoll said.

"All the directors and their production teams are very experienced, and they will know how to highlight student talent," she said.

Because the show is about high school kids and for high school kids, it might be more appropriate that it is held at a high school, which will offer more room for costume changes and dressing areas than the Strand's backstage area, Bergdoll said.

Many events evolve and grow through the years, and the Rosies' ending is no different, she said.

"The Strand helped launch a wonderful event that began there and grew, and it can be really proud of that. The Strand is always looking to help the community and students, and it did that," Bergdoll said.

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at