“A-STAR” 2012

ASTRA would like to recognize and honor Rod Nirschl as an A-STAR Award recipient.

For eight years, ASTRA has been fortunate to be the recipient of the talents of Rod Nirschl. On stage he has received public applause as a performer, but this award is for his thousands of hours of labor off-stage with construction and special effects, and behind the scenes with administrative duties and computer programming.

Rod is a creative and skilled carpenter. Give him a project, and Rod is inspired. He designed some of the memorable special effects in ASTRA’s productions such as the gigantic Wizard of Oz that hung in the middle of our gym, the rose petal machine for the beautiful and moving ballet during Fiddler on the Roof, and Joseph’s chariot in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Probably the most spectacular special effect was Rod’s clock tower that transformed into Cinderella’s staircase – it was ingenious! Even as you look onto ASTRA’s current stage for 42nd Street, take note of the incredible stair steps that our talented cast are tapping on; once again, Rod designed and built these solid, but easily movable, stairs with an nifty interior lift. Rod has offered his carpentry skills on all the ASTRA sets, enhancing the experience for our audience’s pleasure.

Behind the scenes, Rod’s talents continue to shine. In 2004, he stepped forward to serve as the first Chairperson for the newly formed ASTRA Committee, providing solid year-round leadership with a commitment to fulfill the mission of ASTRA. He has also been a Co-Producer for three of our musicals, overseeing details for each department. With his talented computer skills, Rod created the ASTRA website, and he has meticulously programmed our web-based site for ticket sales. Thanks to Rod, our audiences can view and choose their exact seat in a user-friendly and secure online process.

Additionally Rod is available with his trailer whenever we need manual labor to transport sets, chairs, or supplies; he is there working long hours during load-in and strike every year; and he has often hosted our cast party at his home with his equally dedicated wife, Grace. His children, Lindsey, Nathan, and Carly, learning from the fine examples set by their parents, have grown to be generous volunteers also.

Rod has left his signature mark in the hearts of his ASTRA friends and audience members. ASTRA knows they can count on Rod for his abundant, heartfelt, and generous donations of time, talent, and treasure. We would like to thank Rod for all he has done; he is truly “A STAR”!



ASTRA would like to recognize and honor Meg Peñalver as an A-STAR Award recipient.

One of ASTRA’s biggest supporters, Meg Peñalver has been instrumental in helping ASTRA’s success in reaching a broader audience. She is a consummate hostess, willing to share what she enjoys, and thus igniting appreciation for local theatre within a broader community. On nearly all of the performance nights, you can find Meg in the audience surrounded by a group of friends, being entertained and charmed by ASTRA’s musicals. Many of ASTRA’s shows have featured members of Meg’s family in either the cast, crew, or orchestra, making Meg proud of their fine performances. As a family they understand the magic that theatre can inspire. Meg well understands that within the atmosphere of a community theatre, many talents can shine when people work creatively together. She wants everyone to have access to local live entertainment. It’s a win-win for both audiences and the talented cast and crew.

Since Meg thoroughly enjoys each and every show as if it was opening night, her enthusiasm is infectious, creating excitement and joy for others. She has publicized news of our efforts, and that has enabled ASTRA to grow financially more stable.

A few years ago Meg took on a task for ASTRA that previously had not received much attention: marketing. She knew that our ASTRA show programs were well written and well read by our audiences. In fact many of our audience members take their show programs home to read at their leisure and enjoy the many photos. So Meg began contacting local businesses throughout the year, inviting them to attend our shows, and asking them to help financially support our productions by advertising in the program. An advertisement in ASTRA’s program reaches over 2,000 people. Meg knows that that is a win-win affiliation for businesses and for ASTRA, but it only happened because Meg was willing to build long-term relationships in the greater community, which get stronger each year.

Today, marketing is a well designed and highly successful production department. Due to Meg’s enthusiastic efforts and leadership, ASTRA has become well known and admired by local businesses. It is obvious that her support is genuine; Meg whole-heartedly believes that ASTRA’s ministry is beneficial to the community. As a witness to the joy of audiences and talented volunteers alike, Meg wants everyone to experience that joy! ASTRA is fortunate to have an advocate like Meg. She is truly “A STAR.”