Leading Ladies Opens April 14!

Photo:  Maxine (Garrett Olson) featured in NRP’s spring show “Leading Ladies.”

Photo:  Roller skating Audrey (Victoria Kirichok) and her diva friend in heels,

 

For local theater fans craving riotous laughs and zany situational irony, Ken Ludwig’s  “Leading Ladies,” is the ticket.   Nemasket River Productions’ spring show will be opening April 14th at The Alley Theatre at 133 Centre Street in Middleboro.

Farcical in nature, “Ladies” involves the misadventures of two struggling Shakespearean thespians named Leo Clark (Garrett Olson)  and Jack Gable (Eric Henderson) whose less-than-stellar acting careers have left them unfulfilled and, among other things, broke.

Playwright Ken Ludwig gives us familiar characters in his comedies, but only after giving them a little twist.  Set in York County, PA,  native Ludwig uses his home turf as the setting for a silly bit of 1950s nonsense about two English actors masquerading as Max and Stevie, long lost English relatives to a dying (but not quite dead) heiress .   No one behaves quite as expected in this farce, which is filled with the disguises, deceptions and double-crosses and a fabulous fight scene with “real” swords and a very sweet character, Audrey, (Victoria Kirichok) on roller skates!

The veteran cast assembled by director Jess Wilson dives into this happy stew with a lot of zest.  Meg, played by NRP newcomer Lorna Nogueira, is a complicated woman who secretly dreams of a life in the theater.  In the opening scene, we meet Meg’s intended, a self-serving minister named Duncan (Steve Doherty) whose desire for his much younger fiancee’s impending wealth, seem a little unchristian.   Adding to the brew, there’s the ornery heiress, Florence (Sheila McCormick) and her remarkably incompetent doctor (Alberto Rizzotti), who incorrectly pronounces her dead on more than one occasion. As he explains it, “Hey, anyone can make a mistake.”   Finally there is Audrey’s boyfriend Butch (Jeffrey Ruel) who’s a nice enough local yokel, but it’s questionable whether he can win the competition for her affection.

Audiences will have no problems with Ludwig’s fast-moving “Leading Ladies.” They can simply sit back and let the nuttiness on stage take hold.

Leading Ladies: opening on Friday, April 14th at the Alley Theatre, 133 Centre Street, Middleboro and continuing April 15, 21,22,23,28,29 at 8pm with a 2pm matinee on

April 23rd . Tickets are $20 General Admission and $18 Seniors & Students, Matinee $15.

All performances can be combined with our “Dinner and a Show” special, a dinner theatre experience in collaboration with Lorenzo’s (Rt 28, Middleboro) 508-947-3000.  Three course meal including glass of wine for $21.98 bring receipt to our box office before the show and tickets are only $15.00. For more info about NRP please visit us on our website: www.nemasketriverproductions.com or on our FB, Flicker, Twitter, Tumble or Instagram sites.  You may also call our virtual box office 866 -244-0448 for reservations. Credit card purchases via EventBrite (through our website) and at the door.

MEET THE CAST – LEADING LADIES: Eric Henderson

Eric Henderson (Jack Gable) has been involved in theatre in the area for over 25 years. He debuted as an actor as Richmond, as well as other characters, in King Richard the Third at the Priscilla Beach Theatre in 1991.  His more recent credits include, Jerry in Lovers and Other Strangers with The Bay Players and Tom in Round and Round the Garden with Nemasket River Productions.  Eric is delighted to work with such a talented director and cast and wants to thank Merrie Mizaras (The Producer) for keeping Art alive and well in the local area.

MEET THE CAST – LEADING LADIES: Alberto Rizzotti

Alberto Rizzotti (Doc) takes special pleasure in returning, along with a superb cast, to the Middleboro stage where he previously performed as Frank in OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS and Anthony in ENCHANTED APRIL.  This is his first play under the capable direction of Jess Wilson. Other notable performances from Boston to Providence include Lumiere (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST); Barney (LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS); Tito (LEND ME A TENOR); Wilbur (HAIRSPRAY); Lenny (RUMORS); Jack (BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS) and Robert (PROOF). Alberto resides in Berkley with his wife Diane and their two children, Eric and Gianna.

Leading Ladies!

Middleboro, MA   –  20 March 2017     Nemasket River Productions is pleased to announce their next production, Leading Ladies. This entertaining production will run for 3 weekends, April 14 & 15, 21 – 23, and 28 & 29 at The Alley Theater, 133 Center Street, Middleboro, MA.

Set in the 1950s, this hilarious comedy by the author of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, focuses on two English actors, Jack and Leo, who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English relatives, Stevie&Max, the actors resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved nephews and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister. Can “Maxine and Stephanie” win over the wealthy dowager and get their hands on the inheritance, or will their true identities be discovered? Will true love prevail in the end?

Jess Wilson of Onset will direct the production. Wilson, a familiar face to local audiences, last directed WatermelonAlligator Theatre Company’s fall tour of How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse and the record-setting run of Twelve Angry Men for Plymouth Community Theatre. The cast for Leading Ladies features Alberto Rizzotti of Berkley; Victoria Kirichok of Brockton; Lorna Nogueira of Halifax; Sheila McCormick of  Middleboro; Garrett Olson and Jeffrey Ruel, both of Pembroke; Eric Henderson of Plymouth; and Stephen Doherty of Whitman.

“As a director, sometimes you wind up with casting so absolutely perfect, you’re convinced there was some divine intervention involved,” says Wilson. “This is a very funny script to bring with, but it is elevated to new heights by this talented cast. You will see how much fun they are having with each other when you come see this hilarious production!”

Leading Ladies will be performed at The Alley Theater, 133 Center Street, Middleboro, MA. The show will run Friday and Saturdays, April 14 & 15, 21 & 22, and 28 & 29 at 8pm, with one Sunday matinee on April 23 at 2pm. Tickets are $20 general admission/$18 students and seniors/$15matinee. Tickets are on sale now at www.nemasketriverproductions.com or call the virtual box office (866-244-0448) or in person 30 minutes prior to show at the AlleyTheatre.

Review: Round and Round the Garden

Middleboro – SET to the glorious backdrop of an English Garden, Nemasket River Productions’ fall show,  Alan Ayckbourn’s “Round and Round the Garden” has much to recommend it.   There’s affairs, mix ups and a copious amount of Mother’s home-brewed parsnip wine all set in the chaotic 70’s.

We meet Annie (Karin Page Henderson, the ever dutiful daughter) who is fed up with having to look after her bed ridden Mother. She wants excitement in her life; to get away from the mundane to the glamorous; yet …..still in love with the tentative but not quite so glamorous Tom, (Eric Henderson).
Enter Norman (Paul Collins), Annie’s brother-in-law, a bumbling, chaotic, self-centered man, who just seems to want to make all the women in his life happy but fails. Norman has promised a weekend away, but really Annie is not so sure this is a good idea for she truly cares for Tom, a vet, who is clearly better with animals than with people; if only he could get Mother’s cat to come down from that tree.

Too add to the chaos Annie’s brother Reg (Michael McGill) and his wife Sarah (Kristina Dahlene) arrive to house-sit so that Annie may get away.  Is that Bossy Sarah casting a lingering eye on Norman? It’s hard to keep up with who wants whom. Norman, it seems, wants all the women, except of course his very attractive but no nonsense wife whose been “called” to come collect him.  “I am rather fond of him, really. Being married to Norman is like owning a large unmanageable dog. He’s not very well house trained, he needs continual exercising and it’s sensible to lock him up if you have visitors!”

This inspired ensemble cast takes us through a joyous  if confusing romp in the garden. Tom (Eric Henderson) & Annie (Karin Page Henderson) have some very tender moments fraught with humorous misunderstandings. Sarah (Kristina Dahlene) and Reg (Michael McGill), always squabbling and insisting on their points of view, are endearing in there prickly way.  Then there is Norman (Paul Collins) and Ruth (Grace Carlozzi) who have the perfect marriage, in some respects, it is after all the 70’s in England, and they make us enjoy their machinations!

Director, Bob Gillet, has set this timely (yet deliciously retro) production in the round, which brings the audience right into the play. He directs with great gusto and appreciation for Ayckbourn’s humor.  The Light and Sound team, WW Lighting, create the delights of a summer day in the country, and the incomparable décor Master, Max Verga, completes the pastoral picture.

A silly British farce, laughter and nuance, and lots of humorous slapstick moments. Well worth a watch if you’d like to brighten up an evening – pull up a deckchair and escape to the warm, sunny garden for a couple of hours. Round and Round the Garden  continuing  at the Alley Theatre, 133 Centre Street, Middleboro October 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 at 8pm . Tickets are $20 General Admission and $18 Seniors & Students, Matinee $15.  See NRP’s website or FB page for more info: www.nemasketriverproductions.com

Review: Moonlight and Magnolias

Reviewed By Dr Raymond ZuWallack, Cape Cod

Nemasket River Productions’  Summer Show, opening last weekend, brought my wife and myself happily off Cape.  Perhaps a more telling title for Moonlight and Magnolias might be “Peanuts and Bananas!”  According to Ron Hutchinson’s fast, sharp and funny account of how the screen-play for Gone With The Wind got rush-written in five days, this was the only nutrition Hollywood mogul David O. Selznick allowed his collaborators, the writer Ben Hecht and the director Victor Fleming.

“The digestive juices get mixed up with the creative ones – it’s a scientific fact,” he informs a bleary-eyed Hecht, who drools in vain over bagels and orange juice.  The play is well suited to the intimate space of The Alley Theatre. The action never strays from Selznick’s office, and yet you can sense, through this pressure-cooker environment, the wider world beyond: the production crew standing by, as costs mount; the looming spectre of humiliation and failure; and even, this being 1939, the rumblings of war.

The director, Sheila Kelleher, has an eye for the anti-heroic absurdities and  embraces the farce as well, in this entertaining revival.  Set by Max Verga is a vivid and eye catching black and white art deco backdrop, while the light and sound is accurately provided by the amiable father and son team of W.W. Lighting.

Packed with fascinating facts, it shows us real-life players almost turning into characters from a screwball caper, slapping and scrapping. In their quest for celluloid gold, Steve Doherty’s intense, incredulous Hecht, James Koonce’s pent-up Fleming and Ed Krasnow’s endearing, perspiring Selznick, wind up quivering wrecks; while the ever loyal  secretary, played by Rachel Sullivan,  becomes increasingly disheveled as the days dissolve into chaos and peanut shells!  There are many belly laughs in this production as well as knowing laughter from an audience that warmly remembers Gone with the Wind.  Then, at the end, they pull themselves together and prepare for similar traumas on their next projects. You gotta love them, and America, for it.

Don’t miss NRP’s final weekend (August 12,13) with additional Thursday night, August 11th 8pm show, Moonlight and Magnolias  at the Alley Theatre, 133 Centre Street, Middleboro.  Tickets are $20 General Admission and $18 Seniors & Students, Matinee $15.   All performances can be combined with our “Dinner and a Show” special, a dinner theatre experience in collaboration with Lorenzo’s  (Rt 28, Middleboro) 508-947-3000.  Three course meal including glass of wine for $20.00 bring receipt to our box office before the show and tickets are only $15.00. For more info about NRP please visit us on our website: www.nemasketriverproductions.com or on our FB, Flicker, Twitter, Tumble or Instagram sites.  You may also call our virtual box office 866 -244-0448 for reservations. Credit card purchases via Brown Paper Tickets through our website and at the door.

Review: Lost in Yonkers

Reviewed By Ray Zuwallack 

After experiencing the warmly satisfying revival of “Lost in Yonkers” by Nemasket River Productions it amazes me that it has taken two decades for this Pulitzer- and Tony-winning 1991 Neil Simon play to come to my attention!

Similar to his Bright Beach trilogy, Simon is working here not as king of the snappy one-liner but from the heart, with a depth of character and humanity that place “Lost in Yonkers” among his more affecting works.

The insightful and straightforward director, Mike Pevzner, and his accomplished cast strike an ideal balance between poignancy and humor in this modest, carefully calibrated production. The music is wonderful, the sound of the 1930’s and 40’s is not only nostalgically retro its currently hip!

The action is filtered through the eyes of 16-year-old Jay played with great skill and poise by Ethan Child and his cherubic cheeked younger brother, Arty, Owen Connolly, who’s natural reactions and easy humor endear him to the audience. When their father, Eddie, played with great compassion by Brian Hurley, is forced to take a job on the road to pay off debt from his deceased wife’s cancer treatment, the two junior Bronx boys are sent to stay with their unwelcoming Grandma Kurnitz (the unflinchingly stone faced Elizabeth Morrell).

A steely Jewish refugee from Germany, Grandma lives above her candy store in Yonkers, but there’s nothing sweet about her. That deficit is countered by the boys’ over excitable Aunt Bella (the ever sensitive and tender Corinne Mason), a childlike woman in her mid-30s, described by Jay as “closed for repairs.” Thanks to winning work from the young actors, the play glides through familiar coming-of-age territory amiably enough. But its real dramatic engine is the slowcombustion clash between unyielding Grandma and emotionally starved Bella.

On Broadway, Irene Worth and Mercedes Ruehl won Tonys for those roles. In this local production Corinne Mason and Elizabeth Morrell permeate the characters with complex layers of painful experience.

Having witnessed violence as a girl and endured the loss of two of her six children to illness, Grandma has encased herself in loveless solitude. Like stunted Bella and timid Eddie, her other remaining adult children carry the legacy of her fearsome coldness. Gert (the indomitable Jess Wilson) is a walking respiratory complaint, and Louie (the very entertaining & charming Paul Collins), a swaggering bagman for the mob, attributes his toughness to Ma’s example.

Not only is the cast a treat to watch, the set work by Max Verga, is welcoming to the eyes and reassuringly vintage; while the sound and tech crew create another time and space right before our eyes. This lovely production suggests that there’s much to savor in NRP’s opening show of their 17th Season in Middleborough.

Don’t miss the final two weekends of NRP’s spring show, April 22,23, 29,30 at The Alley Theatre. Evening performances are at 8pm. All performances can be combined with a “Dinner and a Show” special, a dinner theatre experience in collaboration with Lorenzo’s (Rt 28, Middleboro) 508-947-3000. Three course meal including glass of wine & taxes for $20.00 bring receipt to our box office before the show and tickets are only $15.00. Or call NRP box office at 866-244-0448 for reservations or for online ticket sales visit NRP website: www.nemasketriverproductions.com.