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Resident Critic for www.ClevelandStageAlliance.com www.tpography.com – Kevin Kelly

TPOGraphy.com Editor: Robert Kowalewski

Month

October 2014

George A. Romero’s The Night of The Living Dead at Blank Canvas Theatre

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Holy shitballs! Last night was so much fun. Artistic Director Patrick Ciamacco has done his research well, and realized that due to the original creators making a novice publishing mistake, The Night of The Living Dead is public domain. So this creative lad took it upon himself to recreate the iconic movie as a stage play. The results are a blast. Even though much of the dialogue and situations are similar to the original movie, by simply letting the story play out in front of a live audience, and infusing creative special effects, the play creates hilarious and horrifying moments. This production does not play for comedy, but last night’s crowd went from giggles to out and out stadium uproarness. Yes, I am sure that is not a word.

For those who haven’t seen the film, Night of the Living Dead follows eight people from a variety of backgrounds on a terrifying night where the dead rise to feast on human flesh. The strangers end up fighting for their lives in an abandoned house surrounded by zombies. The situation escalates as tensions rise and fear and prejudice take over.

This is truly a fantastic ensemble effort. Matthew Ryan Thompson is an effective tool of a brother as Johnny. Amber Revelt is appropriately scared and frightened and a hot mess as sister Barbara. Devon Settles, Jr. is a fierce alpha male who eventually succumbs to a blistering headache. Steven Berg is charming as the loving husband and frantic provider. Jonathan Kronenberger inhabits the style of this piece to perfection. Tasha Brandt gives us some frightened realness. Ian Atwood is an opposing figure of authority as Sheriff McClelland, aided by Will Crosby as his right hand posse man. When they arrive, they arrive in spectacular fashion. But the evening really belongs to the young actress who plays Karen. Makenna Weyburne initially presents herself as a weakened child, but deliciously turns into a monstrous delight, as demonstrated by the audience’s roar of approval. One slow turn of the head provides enough creep factor for the even the best of American Horror Story fans. The Zombies are dead on.(See what I did there?) Elizabeth Ahlstrom, Hannah Beaumont, Tonya Broach, Will Crosby, Jennifer Furst, Richie Gagen, and Venchise Glenn are Zombielicious. They also provide a layer of unrest, from the moment we first see them, until the end. Great stuff

Excellent Live Orchestration by Lawrence Wallace.Brittany Gaul called a great show. Jenniver Sparano once again provides vivid and period excellence. Patrick Ciamacco splits himself into many selves, as he provides the Set, Light, and Sound Design and coordinates himself with himself as Technical Director, while Directing everything himself. Zombie Makeup and Blood Effects by the prestigious and under-acknowledged P.J. Toomey. Jenna Fink provides Makeup Assistance. Stage Blood Effects are executed by Ciamacco and Chuck Klein. Noah Hrbek provided the Backdrop Scenic Painting.

There are only two shows left. Tonight and tomorrow night. GO SEE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!

As stated in the promotion material “This show will have a SPLATTERZONE (See Below) much like when they did for The Texas Chainsaw Musical. However, this is NOT a comedy. Be prepared to see a true telling of the horror movie that started all zombie films.

If it doesn’t scare you, you’re already dead!”

Splatter Zone peeps!

October 17 – November 1
Showtimes:
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays

7pm Sundays

Tickets:
$15 General Admission

(440) 941-0458

Order Tickets Online
Location:
West 78th Street Studios
1305 West 80th Street, Suite 211
Cleveland, OH 44102

How We Got On at Cleveland Play House

How We Got On

Cleveland Play House
Professional Equity House Theatre

It’s 1988 in a Midwest suburb known as The Hill. Three teenagers, Hank (Eric Lockley), Julian (Kim Fischer), and Luann (Cyndii Johnson), live and breathe hip-hop. The only problem is no one else seems to understand their art. As the three forge ahead melding poetry with music, loyalties are tested and parents disapprove. But nothing can overcome a true friendship or stop the flow of inspiration. How We Got On, by playwright Idris Goodwin, tells this tale in an 80 minute story that never dips in energy or creative flow. Goodwin had a good year in 2012 — this work premiered at the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays, while his play Blackademics was named the best of 2012 by the Chicago Tribune.Under the direction of Jaime Castaneda, this rap infused chronicle takes us through the musings and stories of three artists who strive to find their dream, and their self-actualization of passion.

1988 is when Yo! MTV Raps debuts. The program, which was the first hip hop music show on the MTV network, was a lively mix of rap videos, interviews with rap stars, and live performances. No doubt, the three teenagers presented in this piece have been influenced by this mainstream onslaught of inspiration. In the world of Debbie Gibson and Rick Astley, these teens find their calling by dropping beats and verse to express their lives, as opposed to overproduced dance music.

The set is a high school basketball court, which includes a stage used for assemblies no doubt, but this court is ruled by the master DJ and storyteller of the evening, Selector. The fierce actress Portia inhabits Selector with mad DJ skills, and offers a variety of interpretation of all the other characters that appear in the story. She deftly tells the tale of these teenagers, and provides the presence of their fathers, along with other figures that play prominently in the story. Portia is engaging, theatrical, and a beautiful presence and sets her own tempo and beat for the entire evening, which is pitch perfect. The play flies, as she, and the three other actors, are a concert of kinetic fluidity.

We first find Hank, a young black youth, that is inspired to create verse, but set it to a beat that will reach the suburbs with his sick rhythm. Along the way, he meets Julian, a frustrated and cocky artist himself, who eventually faces off with Hank in a rap battle, and realizes that Hank should be the writer, and he the performer. You see, you learn things in this show as well. We learn about Ghostwriters, and some of the biggest rappers are not really using their own words. They work together, but as many artists do, they find conflict with egos and the sense of who is in control. Enter Luann, a girl that can rap on the spot, using original material pulled from thin air and the environmental cues that surround her.  Hank aligns easily, because he is about the music, but Julian finds the road more difficult, being that Luann is brilliant and god forbid, a woman with power and confidence. We then learn about the process of developing and bringing to life a rap track, with its melody and beats, and hooks. Every time we watch the characters learn and move on to the next level, that journey IS “How We Got On.” How we got on to the next level. How we got on through our family telling us no.  How we got on by identifying our strengths, faults and how to reconcile them. How we got on battling our own demons and jealousy.

Eric Lockley as Hank is terrific. He has such grand appeal and honesty, that I couldn’t help but be entertained and found myself rooting for him to keep plugging away at his dream. His character provides a great epicenter of spirit during the evening. Kim Fischer creates appropriate cockiness and engaging coolness as we meet him. Fischer does a great job. He lets the layers of insecurity present themselves slowly, and displays that vulnerability that haunts many performers with subtle cracks in the armor. His attractive athletic presence is a good counter to the scrappy underdog. Cyndii Johnson fires on all cylinders as she traverses the male dominated court. Johnson has a great spirit and provides vast entertainment as she busts out some mad verse, and interacts and dominates her male compatriots with confidence and honesty.

(Yes, I did take a selfie, but don’t worry, I didn’t crash the stage. They actually invite you up afterwards to mingle. You can even order a cocktail if you like. From left to right, Eric Lockley, Portia, Cyndii Johnson and Kim Fischer.These folks are as nice, as they are talented. And that smudge on the far left is the lovely woman who volunteered to take our picture. It was a journey, ha)

Scenic Designer Lauren Helpern created a very cool space. Sound Designer Mikhail Fiksel did an outstanding job. The shift from house music to the boom box was incredibly well designed and executed. Costume Designer Jessica Ford brought some nice period realness to the court. Musical Director Shammy Dee nailed the proceedings with beautiful choices. Lighting Designer Brian Sidney Bembridge earned his three names. Stage Managers John Godbout and Lisa J. Snodgrass called a great show, and executed the sound cues with incredible professionalism. You both really added to the evening by surrounding those actors with expert timing of cues.

The actors and stage managers in this production are members of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

The director is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical labor union.

The scenic, costume, lighting and sound designers in LORT Theatres are represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the IATSE.

Tpography.com

10/28/14

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October 24 – November 16
Showtimes:
Various Dates and Times.
Please refer to online ticketing website HERE.

Tickets:
$15-$49 Reserved Seating

(216) 241-6000

Order Tickets Online
Location:
Cleveland Playhouse at Playhouse Square
Allen Theater Complex
1407 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Spirits To Enforce at Cleveland Public Theatre

Cleveland Public Theatre
Professional Theatre

I can assure you, that you will never expect what happens on stage when you see “Spirits to Enforce” at Cleveland Public Theatre. Playwright Mickle Maher has put together quite a whiz bang script that will keep you on your toes. Director Matthew Wright has taken that script, added his precise deft direction, and assembled a fabulous cast that provides more stimulation than a monster drink spiked with Viagra. The story you say, ok, well now that their arch-nemesis, Professor Cannibal, is locked away in a correctional facility, twelve superheroes- The Fathom Town Enforcers- have taken up residence in a secret submarine to tackle the most critical work of their crime-fighting mission… fundraising. The Enforcers’ plan? To stage a “superheroic” benefit performance of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Seriously. Infused with comic book lore, choral arrangement and text from Shakespeare’s beloved masterpiece.

This collection of actors essentially play three characters each. First, who they really are, second, their superhero personae, and third, their character from “The Tempest.” Watching these twelve actors go at it, reminds me of looking at an old fashioned typewriter. As you are typing, you watch the metal pedals with their individual letter swoop up from the curved base, and strike the paper. The individual strokes on the keyboard seem to create chaos, with many repetitive strikes, but when you look at the paper, it makes sense. That is how I felt watching this show. It is twelve actors sitting at one table, a telethon phone bank, and each one never stops doing their thing, ever, all at the same time. If they are not speaking out loud, they are miming their speech, but their faces never rest. The skill of executing this piece, and not having it blow up in your face, is astounding. The cast must hit a spa after the 85 minute show, and the director was probably floating on an inflatable donut raft on a lazy river at Kalahari for a few days after the opening weekend.

The cast is fantastic, and the playbill lays out the three characters they play simply, but I thought I would share their superhero names. David Bugher (as “The Pleaser”), Ursula Cataan* (“The Silhouette”), Holly Holsinger (“The Page”), Tanera Hutz (“The Intoxicator”), Val Kozlenko (“The Tune”), Doug Kusak (“Fragrance Fellow”), Cathleen O’Malley (“Memory Lass”), Brian Pedaci (“The Untangler”), John J. Polk (“The Snow Heavy Branch”), Arif Silverman (“Ariel”), Abigail Anika Svigelj (“The Ocean”) and Sophie Weisskoff (“The Bad Map”).  Yep, you got it, this play is nuts.

I had some favorites. Starting off with David Bugher, who looked like a cross between Liberace and a male perfume salesman from Dior, after a Botox induced lost weekend. Holly Holsinger impressed me with the fact that when the play enabled her to have a serious moment, her theatrical gifts generated moments of spellbinding truth, in the middle of a busy intersection. Brian Pedaci worked that mustached face with remarkable wit and humor. Arif Silverman had enough charm, diction and energy to make the audience vote him to be “most likely to have been a Walton in a previous life.”

Photography by Steve Wagner (Holly Holsinger, David Burgher, standing is Arif Silverman)

Composer and Sound Design by Sam Fisher, who is also the Kulas Foundation Theatre Composer Fellow. First, congrats on that honor, and second, your music was very cool and connected to the proceedings. It greatly enhanced the emotional experience. Stage Manager Dan Kilbane ran a tight ship, and called the show beautifully. Costume Designer Inda Blatch-Geib, must have had a blast created this very different entertaining personae. Lighting Designer Jonathan Maag did a nice job, but I think it could have used some more creativity in creating moments. Set Designer Val Kozlenko created a fascination background to the phone bank, and hence, created a cool and curious unsettling canvas for the proceedings.

This production is an artistic win. I don’t know if the production would have legs beyond its scheduled run, because the audience will probably be either impressed and entertained, or completely confused after the show is done. That thrilling aspect, as least for me, is why you should see this show. It is cast with adept actors, directed with pinpoint frenetic colorful direction, and pushes the boundaries of conventional theatre. Of course it does, you are at Cleveland Public Theatre.

Tpography.com

10/22/14

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October 9 – October 25
Showtimes:
7pm Mondays
7pm Thursdays
7pm Fridays
7pm Saturdays

Tickets:
$12-$28 General Admission

(216) 631-2727

Order Tickets Online
Location:
Cleveland Public Theatre
6415 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Motown: The Musical at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square

Motown: The Musical is a Broadway jukebox musical. With a book by Berry Gordy, based on his 1994 autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown. The musical is based on the story of Gordy’s founding and running of the Motown record label, and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists, such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5. The music and lyrics for the musical are taken from selections from the Motown catalog. The musical contains a total of 66 songs. The musical premiered on Broadway in April 2013.

The story starts in 1983, where Barry Gordy is trying to be convinced, by his inner circle, to attend the 25th anniversary of Motown Records at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where all the stars he created are coming back to celebrate and say, thank you. Then we jump to a flashback, and watch how the whole thing happened. From a young man who tried many careers, he finally got the idea to start a record label, and finally convinced his family to give him $1000 of their savings, to create Hitsville, U.S.A.. The show comes across mostly as a montage jukebox musical, with most of the songs coming in snippets, and just a few songs given the full attention they deserve. Just when your motor is running, there is a lane change, and then you start all over again. However, when the full song is realized, it is glorious. And, the choreography and costumes are fierce. In fact, the first time the show really takes flight is “Dancing in the Streets”, where the whole song and dance is allowed to overtake the audience with crazy energy and love, and the audience goes nuts. There could be many more moments like that, but in between long stretches of snippets, come these amazing full blown numbers that are magic, and completely worth the wait.

Clifton Oliver is dynamic, handsome, and richly voiced as Berry Gordy. This man can “sang” and then some. He creates a very compact and charismatic character, and holds the audience in his palm with his incredible voice. Allison Semmes is perfect as Diana Ross, or “Miss Ross”. She doesn’t try to oversell the impersonation, and finds every unique quality of the star without becoming a caricature. Her voice is beautifully strong and communicative. And in one of the best moments of the show, she interacts with the audience during “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand”, and creates magic and fun for days. Nicholas Christopher is delightful as Smokey Robinson. He nails the down the earth nature of Smokey, and also the enigmatic voice that pierces your soul and takes you on a swoon journey, or makes your feet move to the beat. Jarran Muse handles the swagger of Marvin Gaye, along with his soul and sexiness, perfectly. A velvet voice, but also gives weight to Gaye’s concern over the political events that were affecting the times, and him personally. Reed L. Shannon owned the audience portraying little Michael Jackson. He is a human fireball of charm, talent, moves and falsetto.

So the show is really a celebration of song, a brief overview of the story of Motown, covering details without too much of the drama. But what I also saw, were the lessons that were addressed in Gordy’s story. Learning that you can work your whole life to make someone successful, but when money talks, they can leave you. And, it is OK if they do, because that is just part of the business. The show also covers racism. It is embarrassing to sit in a predominately white audience, and watch how many of our past generation treated black people. Seeing “White Only” signs on the projected backgrounds, as Gordy worked ferociously to make his music available to all races. It is a lesson. This is a happy musical, but I didn’t leave without realizing how brave those artists were, as they trail-blazed a path of hope for many others behind them.

This is a great ride, and you should be sure to take the journey. And, they have those super big soft pretzels. Thank you.

Tpography.com

10/12/14

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Huntington Playhouse

Huntington Playhouse
Community Theatre

It is possible, that this is the 25th time that I have seen The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee over the last 3 years. This time is at Huntington Playhouse, under the humorous direction of Dave MacKeigan. This production works as a result of a good company of actors, and some standout performances.The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a one-act musical comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss. The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. The six quirky adolescents that compete in the Bee are Chip Tolentino (Matt Langenhop), Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere (Muna Al-Nimer), Leaf Coneybear (Tony Heffner), William Barfee (Will Crosby), Marcy Park (Sarah Menser),  and Olive Ostrovsky (Jackie Luthy), They are assisted by three equally quirky grown-ups; Vice Principal Douglas Pance (Bill May), Rona Lisa Perretti (Colleen Zettler), and Mitch Mahoney (Jake Ingrassia). There are some doubling of parts going on, such as Jesus (Langenhop), Carl Dad (Heffner), Olive’s mother (Zettler),  and Dan Dad/Olive’s Dad (Ingrassia). This is a full car load of craziness to enjoy

Director Dave MacKeigan gives the evening a great sense of simplicity and gentle humor. His casting creates the feel of American Gothic gone wild. Wonderful characters, and an Adult panel that is just fabulous. Music Director David W. Coxe is on the keyboard (Kira Seaton filled in on the night I was there, and did a great job), and provided able melodic assistance, but I would have preferred a fuller sound with a small combo.  Choreographer Jill Smith handled the cast well, and matched movements with varying degrees of ability, but produced charming numbers.

As the adults in the show, Zettler and May are hysterical. Zettler has a beautiful, powerful voice and charm for days. I don’t remember hearing her sing before, but I am glad I did. May is a scream. His delivery is perfect, and reminds me of the classic comedians that never had to work to hard for a laugh, they just created them with natural ability. He killed me. So enjoyable. As a quasi adult, Ingrassia brings some great bouncer realness to the proceedings, and has a blast with his  semi-spiritual number.

Leading the kids is Heffner. He has a fantastic young voice, and great comedic chops. He definitely lit up the stage with his antics. Crosby continues to delightfully grow as an actor, and certainly went to another level with this show. His character is a hot mess of fun, and it must take him an hour to Un-Barfee his face. Solid singing and great frenetic choices. Luthy brings a beautiful down to earth quality. She has a lovely voice,which shines in the “I Love You” song. A complete delight. Langenhop is quirky and adorable fun. His transformation into a young gentleman, is a scream. He brings comedic angst in spades. Al-Nimer works her hair and character to great effect in the show. And Menser shows her considerable dance forte in her solo number, with entertaining results. This group is a fun bunch.

Production Team: Stage Manager Diane Ford, Dance Captain Sarah Menser (no surprise here), Set Design Tom Meyrose, Light and Sound Design Chuck Tisdale, and Costume Design Judy MacKeigan (Nice creative looks),

This is a solid show at Huntington. Enjoy it!

Tpography.com

10/8/14

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September 18 – October 12
Showtimes:
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays
2pm Sundays

Tickets:
$10-$20 Reserved Seating
(440) 871-8333

Location:
Huntington Playhouse
28601 Lake Road
Bay Village, OH 44140

The Pillowman at convergence-continuum (Con-Con)

convergence-conutinnum
Professional Theatre

You might have heard the story about Mark Andrew Twitchell, who is a Canadian convicted of first degree murder in 2011 for killing John Brian “Johnny” Altinger. His trial attracted substantial media attention because he was inspired by the Dexter Morgan character, featured in the “Dexter” television series, a serial killer who works as a forensic bloodstain pattern analyst for the fictional Miami Metro Police Department. Twitchell was an aspiring filmmaker who dreamed of making blockbuster movies. In September 2008, he shot a short horror film at a garage he rented in the south end of Edmonton, where he murdered and dismembered his victim, just like “Dexter.”

It seems unbelievable that life imitates art in this manner. But, what may be a more interesting question, is if there is any responsibility to the producers of said art. That is one of the major themes in the current fantastic production of The Pillowman, currently running at Con-Con. The Pillowman is a 2003 play by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. It tells the tale of Katurian (Tom Kondilas), a writer of short stories which often depict violence against children, has been arrested by two detectives, Ariel (Stuart Hoffman) and Tupolski (Robert Hawkes), because some of his stories resemble recent child murders. When Katurian hears that his brother Michal (Daniel McElhaney) has confessed to the murders and implicated him, he resigns himself to his execution, but attempts to save his stories from destruction. The play includes both narrations and reenactments of several of the short stories, which provide insight into the layers of dysfunction that are present.

Director Geoffrey Hoffman has assembled a fierce cast to dive into this totalitarian nightmare. Great use of the space and tightly paced. Great ideas executed to explore and communicate the inner belly of this piece. Kondilas is a bright centerpiece. He has the bulk of action and exposition, and you almost could compare his role to “The Pillowman Cometh.” He handles the script with clarity, depth and keeps the moments close at hand. A very strong performance. Hawkes is a play stealer, and I mean that as the best compliment. His character is solid, and delivers with acute execution, and deft comedic timing. Yes, you laugh in this piece. His monologue regarding a young chinese child and a paper airplane is mesmerizing, because of how many fascinating levels one actor can bring to the table. Incredible work. Stuart Hoffman is appropriately textured as well. He brings anger and sympathetic layers to his role, and also, offers some comedic gems. But, his most violent moment with Katurian, is frightening as hell, and incredibly effective because of brilliant execution by both parties. McElhaney must have learned a lot on his previous journey through the cuckoo’s nest, because he nails this character. Finding so much truth, and presenting a sympathetic character, with a tragic reality. Truly inspired. Melissa Freilich as the Child is fabulous. Her representations that occur in the Jesus story, and the burial scenes are excellent. Nicole McLaughlin brings a Serial Mom-esque layer to the Mother, that is chilling.

Production Team: Director Geoffrey Hoffmann (Excellent work). Clyde Simon, not only the Artistic Director, but also the Durga Puja of Con-Con, as he is the Stage Manager, Co-Set Designer, and Sound Designer for the show. Lighting Designer Terrii Wachala (very effective looks and feel), Costume Designer sade wolfkitten (Great looks), Fight Choreographer (Good physical mechanics)

This is Con-Con getting it all right, and that is a very good thing to experience.

Tpography.com

10/8/14

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September 26 – October 18
Showtimes:
8pm Thursdays
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays
Tickets:
$10-$15 General Admission
(216) 687-0074

Location:
Liminis Theater
2438 Scranton Rd
Cleveland, OH 44113

August: Osage County at Lakeland Community College

Lakeland Civic Theatre
Professional Theatre

If there is a theatrical bone in your body, you have certainly heard of the Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County by acclaimed playwright Tracy Letts. And if the play doesn’t ring a bell, the movie of the same name, starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Strep, hopefully comes to mind. The brilliance of this play is evident from the fact that it did win the Pulitzer, and it pulled two of the biggest box office stars in the world to inhabit the main characters. This is a beautiful piece of theatre. So, it is no wonder that Director Martin Friedman jumped at the chance to put up this complicated dysfunctional fascinating piece. And, it is no wonder why Anne McEvoy is cast as Violet Weston. She leads this performance with intelligence, grit, and amazing depth and cynicism. And beside her is Diane Mull as Barbara Fordham, Violet’s oldest daughter, who bring her own brand of angst and brilliant execution to the stage.

The story is set on the plains of modern day, middle-class Oklahoma, in a large country home outside Pawhuska. The Weston family members are all intelligent, sensitive creatures who have the uncanny ability of making each other absolutely miserable. When the patriarch of the household mysteriously vanishes, the Weston clans gathers together to simultaneously support and attack one another. Grief turns into anger and projections of guilt, as each member of this family deals with naked truths and harsh reality.

The play is beautifully directed by Martin Friedman. He has assembled a fantastic league of actors to rock this house of emotional horrors. Staging is smooth and coherent, and provides an appealing canvas. He guides his actors with intellectual support, and lets the action take its seemingly fresh approach. Set and Light Design is top notch. Keith Nagy is a master of turning the stage into a feast for the eye. Costume Design by Tesia Benson was on target. Sound Design by R. Eric Simna was clear and crisp. Production Stage Manager Nichole Vencl called a great show.

The cast reminds me of showing up at a pot luck dinner, and realizing that every dish that was brought, is absolutely delicious. The program states “Featuring” Anne McEvoy. It should. As described earlier, she is the main dish and is most fantabulous. Robert Abelman playing her husband Beverly Weston “human cactus”, sets the play rolling with a profound and subtle performance. Quietly laying the first pieces of the puzzle on the floor, for the rest to complete. Enter Diane Mull and Andrew Narten, playing Barbara and Bill Fordham. At this point, I just wanted to yell “Hold your cards please, we have a bingo!” The reason being that these two are fantastic actors who bring their unique skills to the table. Mull navigates through this emotional maze with deft choices and engaging delivery. Narten is a master of non-verbal communication. Watching his character process what has been said to him, or what is observes, is superb. Natalie Welch as their daughter Jean Fordham, does a wonderful job of playing the teenage angst, while underscoring her character with mischief, and coping skills. Her nighttime scene was handled beautifully.

Courtney Nicole Auman and Jeremy Jenkins, as Ivy Weston and Little Charles Aiken are great. Auman delivering more layers than lasagna. So many textured moments to enjoy. Jenkins projecting an innocence that is radiant, which enables heartache even more. Debbie Jenkins and Aaron Elersich, as Karen Weston and her fiancé Steve Heidebrecht, are engaging as well. Jenkins bringing her naivety and sweet charm, while deftly masking the truth. Elersich creates a likable character, and then with uncomfortable and controlled execution, gives you reason to want to make him a target on a gun range.

Jeffrey Glover and Rose Leninger, as Charlie and Mattie Fae Aiken, are certainly gifts to this production. Both of them bring such honesty to their characters. There is never a false moment, and luckily they get to bring some cheerfulness to this beleaguered bunch, and the audience. They both deliver beautiful scenes of clarity, especially Glover with his son, and when Leninger shares a devastating truth. Caitlin Post as Johnna Monevata, and Michael Vitovich as Sheriff Deon Gilbeau, both deliver the goods. Monevata provides a gentle calming presence, but fearless backbone. Gilbeau brings a simple compassionate charm to his character.

It is a grand evening to watch some great actors serve up a fantastic meal.

Tpography.com

10/1/14

 LAST WEEKEND!

September 19 – October 5
Showtimes:
7:30pm Fridays
7:30pm Saturdays
2pm Sundays

Tickets:
$7-$13 General Admission

(440) 525-7134

Location:
Lakeland Civic Theatre

7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, OH 44094

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