Theatre news and reviews
By Brian P. Sharp
Playhouse South shows us the results of war
Playhouse South is in rehearsal for their next production, A Piece of My Heart, a play by Shirley Lauro based on the book by Keith Walker and directed by Craig Smith. This is the story of the many women who served in Vietnam, the anguish of war, shattered expectations and disappointments.
The voices of women who served in Vietnam are heard in this play and their experiences before, during and after the war are vividly played out. While the script stands alone, the director felt some research was appropriate and necessary. So, he arranged a trip for his cast to Washington D.C., for a visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and especially the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.
“Because this show is built around true stories, I wanted to instill in the cast a sense of what the war was and what it cost the men and women who served,” said Smith.
Five of his seven-member cast made the whirlwind weekend trip.
“It was exhausting and exhilarating,” Smith said.
The rehearsals changed after the trip. Even those that could not go found a different sense of purpose and motivation. The reality of the memorial, and especially the women’s memorial, so vitalized and ingrained in the cast a sense of honor and pride in their country, especially for their fighting men and women.
What works most about A Piece of My Heart is that you feel you get to know these women and your heart goes out to them. This play is a vibrant testament to women’s service in Vietnam and the experiences they endured.
Once they arrive in Vietnam, their dreams of storybook service are shattered by the harrowing realities of war. They all return home but have to grapple with new problems such as alcoholism and Agent Orange poisoning.
Cast members include: Nathan Hudson, Danielle Dowler, Anna Prince, Tammy Makela and Lynn Kesson.
This show is especially meaningful as we see our men and women facing the conflicts of war today. This is not a show to miss.
A Piece of My Heart runs from May 13, 2011 to May 21, 2011.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students and can be purchased online at www.playhousesouth.org or by calling the box office at (888) 262-3792. Playhouse South is located at the Clark Haines Theater, 3700 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering.
The Dayton Playhouse prepares to close the 2010-2011 season with La Cage aux Folles
La Cage aux Folles, with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman, and the book by Harvey Fierstein is based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret and is being directed by Doug Lloyd. La Cage focuses on a couple: Georges, the manager of Saint Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his romantic partner and star attraction at Saint Tropez. The comedy ensues when Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, brings home his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents to meet his “parents.”
If this plot sounds familiar to you, that might be because La Cage aux Folles was made into a feature film in 1978. That film was later remade in 1996 as The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
The cast is anchored by stage veterans Michael Boyd in the role of Georges and Richard Croskey in the role of Albin. Boyd was in the 1989 production of La Cage at the Dayton Playhouse and has been acting and directing ever since. Croskey, last seen on the Playhouse stage in the production of Victor Victoria, has been a professional dancer and choreographer for the last 30 years.
The Cagelles, the “showgirls” of La Cage aux Folles, include the Playhouse Executive Director Wade Hamilton, Ian Manuel, Stacey Ward, Allie Eder, Tony Fende, Nick Brown, Ty Mentz and Sean Metcalf. Zach King is playing the role of Jean-Michel. Additional cast members include: Jeff Campbell, Karen Righter, Sarah Parsons, Duante Beddingfield, Mike Frazier, Joe Meyer, Chris Hammond, Mark Diffenderfer, Alexandra Grizinski, Tim Behnken and Ginger Hubbs.
The set is being designed by Chris Harmon, lighting design by John Falkenbach, costumes by Kaitlyn Osborn, Karen and Stephanie Dickey; music direction by Ron Kindell and choreography by Stacey Gear.
La Cage aux Folles runs from May 13, 2011 to May 29, 2011.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and $10 for students and can be purchased online at www.daytonplayhouse.org or by calling (937) 424-8477. The Dayton Playhouse is located at 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. in Dayton, within the Wegerzyn Garden complex of Five Rivers Metroparks.
Reach DCP theatre critic Brian P. Sharp at email@example.com.