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Manhattan on Patrick

Lights Up on Act 1

Article by Rhonda Stephens

Photography by Jessica Patterson Photography

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

There’s a buzz around town. It’s exciting and it’s growing. Frederick may soon be on the theater map alongside New York and Washington, D.C., with a professional production by Phenomenology.

Phenomenology is a nonprofit organization founded by Jeffery Keilholtz.

"Phenomenology is a corridor for the performing arts, by bringing productions direct from New York City to Frederick and launching projects direct from the City of Spires to the Big Apple," Jeffrey says.

Through Phenomenology, Jeffery is bringing his original play, Manhattan on Patrick, to Frederick premiering at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Featuring regional actors and Broadway talent, this staged reading of Jeffery’s play Second Derivative, Equal to Zero takes place for one night only. This event is going to be even bigger with the addition of the Jamie-Lynn Sigler, best known for her role as Meadow Soprano on The Sopranos. These talent partnerships are exactly what Jeffrey is working so hard to foster.

Standing in the lobby of the Weinberg Center for the Arts with fellow actor Amanda Shafer, Jeffery’s passion and enthusiasm are evident and contagious. As they discuss the project, it’s clear he has a vision of what Frederick could become with this partnership.

“I love the theater! I love the intimacy of it. It’s happening right here, for the first time, the only time, every time. It’s happening in real-time, and there’s power in that," he says. "Frederick is culturally evolved, and it’s exciting! There’s a lot of talent, and we [Frederick] are geographically well-positioned. We have high-level talent that needs some elevated exposure. It’s the perfect cauldron, so to speak.” 

Jeffery is at home in Frederick. Having attended Thomas Johnson High, he was very involved in theater and credits his parents for their support.

“My parents were great! The real blessing was, even as a young boy and knowing I was into the arts, they never made me go pick up a baseball or a hammer. They said, ‘You go! You be you.’ Their support and encouragement led me to pursue my passion.”

Jeffery’s passion led him to New York, where he studied under Lily Lodge at the Actors Conservatory and was mentored by the famed Sergey Dreyden of the Moscow Art Theatre. Not only is he an actor but he’s also a writer and a producer.

Another hometown actor, Amanda Shafer from Middletown also stars in the play. She came to Manhattan on Patrick through an actor’s page on Facebook.

“Jeff found me on Facebook as the winner of the Best Actor for the 72 Film Fest. We met in person, and I ended up winning a ticket to the Phenomenology event where I found out what it’s all about. And I thought, 'Oh my gosh! This is amazing!' and I wanted to support it. It’s just complete icing on the cake that I get to be a part!”

Jeffrey and Amanda agree that this project is important for Frederick.

“Having something that facilitates connections for people in this area who might not have that opportunity is huge. There is so much untapped talent here,” Amanda says.

“The best part of bringing this to Frederick, for me,” Jeffery says, “is seeing the look on people’s faces when they hear about Phenomenology and Manhattan on Patrick!”

  • Amanda Shafer and Jeffrey Keilholtz
  • Jeffrey Keilholtz